Monday, January 9, 2012

Tibute to Al Oswald

I first met Al Oswald when I became a member of the Men's Garden Club of Pittsburgh. Most people don't know that the men's club was formed by Frank Curto. Back when Frank Curto was the Director of Pittsburgh's Public Works and Horticulturalist at Phipps Conservatory, they were under different budgets, but shared many of the same staff.

Al Oswald was one of these older members of the club (among many) who remembered Frank Curto. Frank was the kind of Horticulturalist that would walk around the conservatory visiting with everyone, talking to them about all different things about gardening.

Al Oswald had that same quality - he was always ready to tell fellow gardeners about this way or that way of doing things in the garden. His greatest influence on me, was to encouraged me to write about my Docent experiences at Phipps. I did and I am forever grateful.

Al Oswald had his entire back yard filled with lemons and limes and oranges and the most elaborated irrigation system. Years ago, when I went through some training at Old Economy, The Harmonists had citrus in their greenhouses and would move them out into the courtyard in great pots. I never got the chance to tell Al that. he was keeping up the Harmonist's tradition of the orangery. This took a lot of work.

I'll miss Al Oswald.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Other Blogs and Links

Photo taken from "You Grow Girl"

Okay I confess,

I read blogs.

I especially like gardening ones like

It’s full of clever gardening ideas and I wish there was something like this back in my early days of gardening.

Blogs can be very helpful, for example: Twenty years ago I attempted an herb knot garden. A knot garden is a garden where the plants are arranged in hedges overlapping each other into a cohesive design. My garden consisted of a square set inside of a circle with several loops weaving in and out to form the knot pattern. I had chosen herbs used for cooking: parsley, basil, thyme, and dill. It did not turn out so well. The dill had gone to seed by April and I kept harvesting the basil leaves, so they always looked like twigs. The whole concept of a knot garden became un-tied and the plants that were left grew together into one big mass. This year I read in a blog that if I had grown my herbs in many small wicker baskets it would have allowed me the freedom to create a knot garden in the beginning of the year , then when I consumed some of the herbs, I could have re-arrange the containers as I saw fit.
Some other blogs I follow are:
A Chef in the Garden” - This is the blog of a Georgia estate gardener who tells how to grow, then cook lots of different things from his garden.
Cold Climate Gardening” - The blog is mainly advice about hardy plants for hardy climates. This blog has some commercial sites attached to it that are of interest.
Garden Faerie’s Musings” - A Michigan garden fanatic and awesome photographer. There are a couple of these garden faerie blogs, so type “Garden Faerie’s Musings” exactly and don’t forget the apostrophe.
Garden Rant” – This is an edgy, entertaining and informative blog. I use this one for its book list as well as the blog info.
"Plants and Stones" – Several upstate New Yorkers’ who share their garden’s glory. I want one of these gardens.
"The Veggie Patch Re-imagined" – A zone 5 Canadian who blogs about sustainable gardening. This one also has lots of interesting links.
Gardening Gone Wild” – A large blog of semi-famous and famous garden writers/bloggers who share their gardening passions.
Please enjoy and let me know of your favorites.

Monday, December 12, 2011


We are up and running
and welcome to
"Chat Field & Wood",
a blog about Western Pennsylvania's natural beauty and anything that grows there.

Photo taken from:
BBB Seed Heirloom Vegetable & Wildflower Seeds