Today we’re looking at life as a gardener in McMurray, Pennsylvania, USA, with Patti of Hearth and Vine.
This is part of a series on favourite garden influences which includes Carol Klein and Tasha Tudor.
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Life as a Gardener in McMurray, Pennsylvania
Patti Estep – Hearth & Vine
- McMurray, Pennsylvania, USA
- First Frost: October 17 | Last Frost: April 29
- USDA hardiness zone: 6a
- Garden: I’m an ornamental gardener. 90% of my garden is filled with perennials, shrubs, and trees. The other 10% is a mix of herbs and a few edibles that I attempt to grow in containers, such as lettuce in the spring, and a few cherry tomato plants in the summer. My garden philosophy is one of easy practicality. I try not to tackle too many difficult plants. And though it’s sometimes tempting to collect new and unusual plants I try to steer away from any that won’t grow well in my area.
1 Tell us where you’re from and how you ended up where you are now.
Though I have lived in a couple of different states over the years, I grew up, and currently live in Southwestern Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.
2 How did you become a gardener?
My mother was a huge gardener – from pretty flower beds, a huge 40 ft x 20 ft veggie garden, to several houseplants.
Early on I was very intrigued with plants. I remember she helped me set up a space in my bedroom around the age of 10 to grow a spider plant and a couple of African violets.
In middle school I joined the horticulture club.
I got married after college and started playing with flower boxes and containers.
When we bought our first home, I discovered perennials and how to add structure with evergreen shrubs. I started going to plant symposiums and garden tours with my garden loving friends and have been at it ever since.
3 Tell us about your garden. What are the perks and challenges of gardening where you are?
I live and garden in a typical suburban area with .75-acre yard. The land falls under Zone 6A according to the USDA hardiness map. The soil is somewhat clay ridden which can be a problem.
The front of my home is a pretty steep hill, currently all grass, but we often think about creating another bed in the corner or middle of it.
The backyard is flat for a piece, and then there is more hillside gardening which can also be a challenge for plants and the gardener.
One of the perks of living in SW PA is the joy of four season weather. Something is always happening from the first growth in spring to the beautiful color changes in fall.
4 How has gardening changed you?
Gardening has always been a part of my life in one form or another, and it continues to lift my soul, pretty much on a daily basis.
5 Any fabulous gardening or DIY mistakes to share?
Once I made a birdhouse out of air dry clay. It was beautiful, but I had no idea that it would dissolve in the rain. Luckily the same project can be made with polymer clay.
More recently, and this has happened more than I care to admit, I fostered a plant I thought was milkweed. In reality, it was dogbane, and now I have the lovely task of trying to get rid of it.
6 What are you exploring in gardening these days?
Though I will always love gardening, I am exploring more ways to have less maintenance in the garden. Using more plants that continue to be workhorses.
Finding new ways to water the garden with drip irrigation and sprinklers, instead the of the hand watering that I am used to.
7 What do you hope visitors to your site experience?
I hope my visitors can feel my passion for gardening and that my words, projects and pictures excite and inspire them to create their own.
8 Can you share a good tip or advice for new gardeners?
Don’t be discouraged. Every gardener I know admits to killing a plant or two, including me. Anyone can grow plants. Try again or try something else.
9 Have you got some DIY projects for a rainy afternoon?
- You can easily make these pressed flower suncatchers with dollar store frames, metallic tape and flowers from your garden or a special bouquet.
- This teacup hanging planter uses twine and basic macramé techniques. It works well with succulents since there is little soil and no drainage hole.
- Try creating framed dried flowers using fresh flowers that dry well and dried flowers on chicken wire and a repurposed canvas frame.
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Thank you, Patti!
~Melissathe Empress of Dirt ♛
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