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Local nurseries dig into a new crop of plants, garden items

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BEDNER'S GREENHOUSE, 315 Coleman Road, McDonald. 724-926-2541. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

At the Beechwood Garden Center in Shadyside, where Tom Mamaux's golden labrador Hannah is a regular, you can find a two-piece cast-iron urn ($275) and the River Daisies and lobelia that fill it. Also there are arborvitae and sand cherry, left, and dahlias, bottom. (Martha Rial, Post-Gazette photos)

New this season: Lantanas 'Lemon Cream' 'Lucky Yellow' and 'Spreading Sunset'; ornamental millet; Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan) 'Sunny Lemon Star'; Verbenas 'Aztec Raspberry,' 'Aztec Plum' and 'Aztec Dark Purple'; Vinca 'Pacifica Burgundy'; Petunias Easy Wave and Blue Wave; and living wreaths.

BEECHWOOD GARDEN CENTER, 5875 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412-361-3336. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun.

An urban garden center that relocated to Ellsworth Avenue this spring. Specializes in herbs, annuals, perennials, unique pots and cast-iron items. In the summer, sells produce from regional farms, and in the fall, has a large sale of perennials and shrubs along with spring bulbs, chrysanthemums and pumpkins. Sells Christmas trees in winter.

BEST FEEDS GARDEN CENTERS, 2105 Babcock Blvd., Ross, 412-822-7777; 1410 Wildwood Road, Hampton, 412-487-5802; 120 West Allegheny Road, Imperial, 724-695-2755; 965 Airbrake Ave., Turtle Creek, 412-823-3722. Call for hours.

New and unusual items: Monty's Joy Juice fertilizer, developed by a rose grower, is 98 percent organic, safe for pets and won't burn plants.

Black Beauty grass seed, new tall fescues with very dark green color, drought tolerance and insect resistance.

Plants: Dappled Japanese willow has striking green, white and pink foliage with salmon-pink new growth; Japanese Maple 'Sango Kaku' grows to 15 feet with red stems, green leaves and orange fall color; National Parks roses, named after national parks like 'Yellowstone' and 'Gettysburg', were chosen for an abundance of blooms with minimal care; P. Allen Smith Collection, vibrant annuals and perennials personally selected by garden designer P. Allen Smith; large selection of Pennsylvania native perennials such as Jack-in-the-Pulpit; wild ginger; Baptisia; Cimicifuga, Trillium and Podophyllum.

BEYOND THE GARDEN GATE, 334 Freeport Road, Blawnox. 412-826-0493. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat..

New and unusual items: The English Puddler -- pack it with sand and fill with water, butterflies like to muddle around in sandy water and will flock to it; seeds from the Chelsea Physic Garden in Chelsea, England -- many of the plants were brought to the site by Captain Cook; Lei Hennessy's "Hero's Angel" -- a nearly 8-foot silhouette sculpture of an angel created by the artist for the Memorial for Flight 93 in Somerset County, also available in smaller sizes.

BLUE RIDGE NURSERY, 308 Scenery Drive, Elizabeth. 412-751-2000. Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun.

Pennsylvania Pride nursery stock -- plants grown in Pennsylvania that include a three-year guarantee; 'Blue Boy' and 'Blue Girl' holly; many types of topiaries, Japanese maples and specialty plants; exclusive dealer of Childlife PlaySystems; a full range of bulk soils, stones and mulches.

BRANDON LANDSCAPE INC. (formerly Dreves Nursery), 271 Reis Run Road, Ross. 412-931-7000. Nursery hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; Saturday hours vary; call first. Greenhouse hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun.

Trees and shrubs: Cherry dogwood -- a beautiful tree version of the early yellow flowering dogwood; Okame cherry -- an early flowering tree that has a long-lasting floral display and excellent orange and red fall color; Yellow groove bamboo -- an evergreen bamboo that has slender young stems with a pronounced yellow groove.

Perennials: 'Limerock Ruby' Coreopsis -- bright ruby flowers with yellow centers cover the fine airy foliage; 'Amber Waves' coral bells -- a stunning variety with ruffled, amber-gold foliage and light, rose-colored flowers.

Bulbs: Canna tubers -- a sun-loving tropical bulb, produces a 5- to 7-foot plant with lush foliage and colorful blooms throughout the summer. Not hardy.

Indoor plants: Flowering maples with solid green leaves and 2-inch colorful flowers; Sensitive plant -- considered a mini mimosa, the leaves close when touched, bears fluffy pink flowers from June through August; Amaranthus -- a summer poinsettia growing 4 to 6 feet, with flowers that are yellow, red, pink or green.

BRENCKLE'S GREENHOUSES, 3814 Mt. Troy Road, Reserve, 412-821-2566; and 543 Evans City Road, Butler, 724-482-2353. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun.

New plants: 'Stipa' -- a Mexican feather grass; Red Calibrocha (Million Bells); 'Artist Blue' Ageratum; 'Pumpkin Pie' and 'Sunset' Arctotis; 'Wildcat Orange' Anagallis.

Large selection of annuals, perennials and vegetable plants, huge inventory of hanging baskets and planted containers.

EICHNER'S FARM MARKET & GREENHOUSE, 285 Richard Road, McCandless. 724-935-2131. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

New plants, colors: 'Blue Wave' petunias; 'New Nature' miniature pansies; dwarf 'Zinnita' zinnias and several varieties of short and tall zinnias; 'Bravo Mix' Brachycombe.

Colorful 12-inch combination baskets; mixed 10-inch 'Whirlybird' Nasturtium baskets and a large selection of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetable plants.

FLOWER POTS NURSERY, 4275 Washington Road, McMurray. 724-531-1742. Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun.

A new full-scale landscape nursery next to Miller's Ace Hardware. Sells shade and ornamental trees, evergreens, specimen plants, shrubs, perennials, water plants, annuals, herbs and vegetables.

FRIDAY'S PERENNIALS, 372 Locust Road, Harmar. 412-828-8250. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat. (Hours change after July 5.)

New varieties: Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum Applecourt' -- all the colorful frond characteristics of the Japanese painted fern but with added heavy cresting to create a fuller, more delicate appearance.

Viola 'Mars' -- marvelous leaves are green with darker centers and veining, delicate scented lavender flowers in mid-spring.

Agastache 'Red Fortune' -- fragrant mint-like foliage and burgundy-red flower spikes; prefers well-drained, somewhat dry soil.

Baptisia sphaerocarpa -- bright buttery yellow flowers in July on blue-green foliage, very sturdy 3-foot stems, drought-tolerant once established.

Rohdea japonica -- leathery, evergreen spear-like leaves about 15 inches tall, short spikes of red berries in the fall and winter, great texture plant for dry shade.

Hemerocallis 'Red Hot Returns' -- an "arrest-me red" daylily that starts blooming mid-season and continues until fall.

Photo shows detail of a fiberglass fountain at Beechwood Garden Center.

HAHN NURSERY, 5443 Babcock Blvd., Ross. 412-635-7475. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun.

New items: A new water garden section featuring hand-selected koi fish from Japan, in partnership with Pet's Supplies Plus; pond expert available daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Carved granite items from China, including lanterns, pagodas, fountains and benches, all completely weatherproof.

Specializes in tropical plants such as lemons, tangelos, oranges, jasmine, Clerodendrum, Tibouchina, Diplodenia and Mandevilla.

HILL'S TREE CARE & NURSERY, 177 Hepler Road, Sarver. 724-353-1747. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Evenings by appointment.

New plants and specialties: large field-grown hemlock trees; large field clumps of ornamental grasses; field-grown, fragrant Japanese lilac trees; flowering shrubs including Weigela, Viburnum, bottlebrush and Spirea; Japanese maples, ornamental evergreens and tri-colored beeches.

Also, many perennials, bedding plants, hanging baskets and vegetables. Offers landscape services.

HOME DEPOT, 112 Ben Avon Heights Road, Ohio Township. 412-364-6114. Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun.

New items: "Roll-A-Hose" flat garden hose -- auto-rewind hose reel that is water-powered and doesn't need electricity or a battery; wrought-iron decorative insects; stained-glass ornamental insects; 1 3/4-gallon watering can with a comfort grip and ergonomic handle; 6-foot copper oil torches; a new assortment of patio ponds and fountains; wind chimes; assorted trellises.

HOME DEPOT, 3550 William Penn Hwy., Wilkins. 412-824-9406. Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun.

Specialties: Leucothoe; 'Minnesota Snow' mock orange; Viburnum plicatum; cutleaf maples; Canadian hemlocks and Forsythia; a large selection of ferns and grasses; large tropical plants suitable for atriums, great rooms and offices.

KAELIN FARM & MARKET, 2547 Brandt School Road, Franklin Park. 724-935-6780. Hours: 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Annuals: Proven Winners Supertunias; 'Sundaze' strawflowers; 'Vision Yellow' New Guinea impatiens; Thunbergia; 'Kiss' Gazania; tri-color exotic geraniums; 'Fragrant Delight' Heliotrope.

Herbs and perennials: 'Mini' Purple basil; 'Hidcote' lavender.

Large selection of annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, herbs and container gardens.

LIGONIER AGWAY, 603 W. Main St., Ligonier. 724-238-6427. Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.

New plants: 'Varietata' Armoracia; 'Apricot Delight' Brugmansia; 'Limerock Ruby' and 'Sweet Dreams' Coreopsis; 'Amber Waves' Heuchera; 'Sunspot' Heucherella; 'Harlequin' Lonicera; 'Purple Majesty' Pennisetum; 'Heronswood Mist' and 'Iron Butterfly' Tiarella.

LMS GREENHOUSE & NURSERY (Lawn Maintenance Services Co.), 3312 Wagner Road, Allison Park. 412-767-7020. Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat.; noon to 5 p.m. Sun.

'Browns Brackens Beauty' Magnolia -- a pyramidal evergreen plant with glossy green leaves and huge white blooms in late spring; Pontillia 'Pink Beauty' -- a "Plant for the Cure" selection, has bright green foliage and clear-pink semi-double flowers; Pennsylvania Pride nursery stock -- plants specially suited to this area, come with three-year warranty; Spirea 'Tor' -- a dense compact grower that has a beautiful bronze-red fall color; Ilex 'Festive' -- a pyramidal tree that is great for small yards, has brilliant red flushes of growth.

NORRIS NURSERY, 1140 Pittsburgh Road, Valencia. 724-898-2732. Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun.

'Hakuro Niskiki' dappled willow on a standard -- has pink stems with tri-colored leaves of dappled green, pink and white that can be maintained with regular trimming; grown on a 4-foot standard to produce a rounded form that is 8 feet tall.

'Jeans Dilly' dwarf Alberta spruce -- shorter, thinner needles than the species, starts growing three to four weeks later than the species; mature height is 4 to 6 feet tall.

Elderberries: 'Black Beauty' -- purple-black foliage; 'Pulverulenta' -- green and white variegated foliage; 'Sutherland Gold' -- deeply cut foliage, new growth is copper-red; 'Variegated' -- bright yellow variegation with black stems.

'Midnight Wine' Weigelia -- purple-black foliage and pink flowers in May and June on a ground cover-like habit to 20 inches.

'Tinkerbelle' lilac -- dwarf with wine-colored buds that open to bright, deep pink flowers with a spicy fragrance.

ORGANICS GARDEN CENTER and MILLIE'S HERBS, 2130 Middle Road, Glenshaw. 412-487-8540. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun.

Certified organic and heirloom seeds; certified organic fertilizers, pest controls and soils; unique hand-crafted garden objects by Western Pennsylvania artists; many varieties of perennials, alpines, annuals and vegetables.

Millie's Herbs, which has relocated here, has more than 200 varieties of herbs:

Lavender -- 11 kinds, including 'Goodwin Creek,' 'Goldberg' and 'Lavenite Petite'; Eucalyptus -- regular, honey and peppermint; 'Pink Sprite' Hyssop; Rehmania, a Chinese medicinal herb.

PENNY PINCHERS PERENNIALS, 3575 Beck Road, Butler. 724-287-3472. Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Wed.-Sun.

New and unusual: perennial Gazania and Diascia; Salvia argentia; dwarf foxglove; Japanese painted ferns; Poppy 'Carneum' -- peach colored flowers; 'Husker Red' Penstemon; white, purple and dwarf purple Liatris (blazing star); Asarum (wild ginger) and a large selection of herbs.

PITTSBURGH POND CO., 327 Coxcomb Hill Road, Plum. 724-335-6688. Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun.

More than 20 styles of ponds, complete kits including stone, liner, underlayment, pump, filters, fittings, tubing, filter media and instruction book; in-water ultraviolet sterilizers -- eliminates green water, installs in minutes; new natural pond kit with pre-formed bog pond, fittings, filter media and plants; new low-energy pumps designed for higher water volumes, low maintenance, with three-year warranty, can handle 2,000 gallons per hour at only 115 watts.

New varieties of hardy and tropical aquatic plants, more than 20 new water lilies, exotic tropicals from South America and hardy plants from Europe.

PLUMLINE NURSERY, 4151 Logan Ferry Road, Murrysville. 724-327-6775. Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun.

Trees and shrubs: Japanese maple 'Japanese Sunrise,' 'Peaches & Cream,' 'Waterfall,' 'Red Dragon' and 'Kashina Chiba'; variegated Controversa dogwood and espaliered fruit trees; yellow magnolia; yellow rhododendron; 'Wolf's Eye' variegated kousa dogwood, 'Henry Hicks' sweetbay magnolia and Picea glauca pendula (weeping white spruce).

Rare, unusual plants: Tsuga canadensis 'Green Spider' and Pinus parviflora 'Bonnie Bergman.' Most are in 1-gallon containers and are second- and third-year grafts.

Also, rhododendron trained as patio trees; unusual, hard-to-find annuals and perennials; triple-shredded hemlock bark mulch -- natural reddish-brown color, not dyed; natural mountain boulders, from 10 inches to 6 feet; Victorian-style gazebos available for delivery and installation.

ROBINSON'S HOME & GARDEN AND THE BASKET LOFT, 527 Blackburn Ave., Sewickley. 412-741-8740. Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wed.; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun.

New items: folding garden kneelers; Wolf Garden Snap-On tools; Tom Chambers hand-forged planters; garden trugs; Renee's Garden Seeds; Botanical Interests Garden Seeds; a full line of Epoma Organic Fertilizer; all-natural deer systemic repellent that smells great; tropical plants.

SESTILI NURSERY INC., 3721 Swinburne St., Oakland. 412-681-1200. Hours: 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun.

Manchu striped maple (Acer tegmentosum) -- small, rounded tree with striped bark, grows to a height of about 30 feet and a width of 20 feet, more tolerant of a sunny exposure than most snake-barked maples.

Girard paperbark maple (Acer griseum x Nikoense) -- compact tree with striking cinnamon-colored, flaking bark, foliage turns red in the fall, grows to 30 feet tall.

Redvein Enkianthus (Enkianthus campanutatus) -- deciduous shrub with clusters of cup-shaped yellow to red flowers in May, foliage turns a brilliant yellow/orange/red in the fall, grows to about 8 feet tall.

Pittsburgh Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Sunkist') -- hardy, slow-growing, broad-based pyramidal form with excellent golden foliage, grow in full sun for best color.

Magndia vine (Schisandra chinensis ) -- twining vine with small fragrant magnolia-like flowers in May, bears clusters of red fruit that can be used for juices or jellies,

SYLVANIA NATIVES, Ira Way, just off Shady Avenue in Squirrel Hill. 412-421-8551. Hours: noon to 5 p.m. Mon., Wed.-Fri.; 1 to 6 p.m. Sun.

Grows only perennials and shrubs native to Western Pennsylvania:

Bishop's cap (Mitella diphylla) -- delicate woodland plant that grows to about 18 inches, has five-petaled flowers that look like snowflakes in April and May.

Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana) -- woodland plant with full, lacy season-long foliage, creamy white anemone-like flowers grow in long slender stems in June and July.

White beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) -- bears pure white foxglove-shaped flowers on 2- to 3-foot stems in June and July, deer-resistant.

Wild bergamont (Monarda media) -- hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to the royal purple-red to magenta flowers on this 3- to 4-foot plant that blooms July through September, deer-resistant.

Bottle gentian (Gentiana clausa) -- clustered whorls of 1 1/2-inch, deep purple-violet bottle-shaped blooms appear at the tips of stems from August to October, dramatic when massed together, deer-resistant.

TRIM TREE NURSERY, Route 422, 5 miles west of Indiana, Pa. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

Many Blooms of Bressingham perennials, including:

Heuchera x brizoides 'Charles Bloom' -- has large pink blooms that make great cut flowers, requires semi-shade.

'Butterfly Blue' scabiosa is a delightful little perennial that has 2-inch pincushion blooms that wave in the air well above its low-growing foliage. It can be found at Beechwood Garden Center, as well as many other nurseries across the region.

Geranium sanquineum 'Alan Bloom' -- compact geranium with larger pinker flowers, likes full to partial sun, blooms all summer and foliage turns red in the fall.

Tiarella 'Pink Brushes' -- pink to white foamflower that likes full to partial shade, has unusually shaped foliage with maroon veining, blooms in late spring.

Dianthus allwoodii 'Oakington' -- double flowers of deep rose that bloom repeatedly throughout the season, attractive perennial ground cover.

Other interesting perennials: Dianthus 'Neon Star' -- fragrant, fluorescent pink plant that blooms from May through October; Anemone multifida 'Rubra' -- charming, low-growing Anemone of carmine-rose coloring, grows 12 inches high and thrives in full to partial sun.

URBAN GARDENER, 1901 Brighton Road, North Side. 412-323-GROW. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tues.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun..

Annuals: Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon) 'Angelmist' Purple, white, pink and purple; Bacopa 'Abunda Sky Blue' with lavender blue flowers, perfect for hanging baskets and containers.

Perennials: Alcea rosea (Hollyhock) 'Nigra' -- towering spikes of dark purple flowers, blooms early to mid-summer; Clematis 'Golden Tiara' -- vigorous bloomer with golden yellow flowers, blooms early to late summer; Papaver (Poppy) 'Turkenlouis' -- vivid red flower with deeply fringed petals.

Bamboos: Fargesia dracocepahla 'Hardy Dragon' -- 8-foot-tall clump-forming plant with a weeping habit; Phyllostachys aureosulcata aureocaulis, Golden crookstem bamboo -- beautiful yellow culms with bright magenta highlights in the spring, running habit.

Shrubs: Sambucus niger (Elderberry) 'Black Beauty Gerda' -- dark black foliage that does not fade to green but gets darker, lemon-scented rich pink flowers in late June/early July; Weigela florida 'French Lace' -- red flowers on a variegated plant.

Trees: Malus -- dwarf flowering crabapples 'Lancelot' -- red buds open to white flowers, elegant gold foliage and golden fruit, compact size (to 10 feet) makes it a great city tree.

ZANG'S GREENHOUSE, 360 Saxonburg Road, Butler. 724-282-8125. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.; noon to 5 p.m. Sun. (Spring season only).

Carries more than 400 varieties of perennials and a full line of annuals.

New plants: 'Limerock Ruby' Coreopsis; 'White Nancy' and 'Red Nancy' Lamium (Beacon Silver); Tree Peonies in six colors and Lace-Cap Hydrangeas.

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