Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tour Shows off Flowers, Water and Much More 14 Stops Feature Rare Plants, Fish, Dogs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tour Shows off Flowers, Water and Much More 14 Stops Feature Rare Plants, Fish, Dogs

Article excerpt

People go on garden tours to see plants, and they'll have lots to look at during the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden's Town & Country Tour on June 25. The 14 stops in Pittsburgh's East End and eastern suburbs are a horticulturist's dream, with a huge variety of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials and tropical plants.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., buses and cars filled with green thumbers will flock to Western Pennsylvania's biggest and best garden tour, but the greenery won't be all they'll remember. They'll also see swimming pools, ponds, waterfalls, fountains and creatures that like to linger in or by the water. Here's a glimpse of two to whet your appetite:

REGENT SQUARE

Jerry and Monica Segal are proud of their shady oasis at the edge of Frick Park, but they quickly admit they're not gardeners. They give all credit to Maureen Williams of New Stanton, who has spent 18 years planting and caring for this sloping landscape crisscrossed by winding paths.

In a nod to both Japanese gardens and the park that surrounds the lot on three sides, smokebush, blue spruce, dappled Japanese willow, sandcherry, ninebark and other shrubs and small trees are pruned lightly to keep the paths clear. Especially stunning are two neighbors that stretch more than 20 feet high: 'Hakuro-nishiki' variegated willow and purple smokebush. Mr. Segal prefers the contrasting white and burgundy foliage to ephemeral blooms.

"Flowers are important, but they're not our main concern. For me, it's the leaves and needles, the greens, reds, blues, yellows, even whites. I like the different colors and textures."

The Segals and Ms. Williams also loved a snow-dusted Korean fir so much that she planted three more. But all miss the 17 koi who used to dwell in the large pond. They believe a blue heron got all the fish in one day last summer.

"I was devastated when I saw it," Ms. Williams said.

They have also lost two of the five dogs that shared the paths with visitors when the garden was on the Regent Square tour five years ago. Ms. Williams still works alongside her dog, Bella, and the Segals' pets, Sabrina and Baby Girl.

EDGEWOOD

A miniature schnauzer named Samson is Sharon Danovich's garden helper - if you consider sporadic watering a help. …

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