down in front!

great gardens

Eight spectacular gardens await your visit on Mt. Lebanon Public Library’s 25th annual Garden Tour, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 12. Tickets, available at the library, are $15 in advance and $20 on tour day. Attendees will receive a booklet with information about, and directions to, every garden on the self-guided tour. Activities at the library that day include a plant sale, special offers at the library’s Book Cellar used book store and opportunities to consult with Penn State master gardeners and a Pittsburgh Rose Society consulting rosarian.

The evening before the tour, Saturday, July 11, is the Garden Party in the library’s courtyard, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, sweets and a silent auction. Tickets are $30 per person in advance or at the door.

Here’s a peek at seven of the eight featured gardens… the eighth  is a “mystery” garden; you’ll have to get a ticket to find out more.

The garden of Barbara and Robert Logan, Valleyview Road, features boxwood hedges, stone paving installed by the talented Petrelli family and numerous daylilies. You also will see calla lilies, agapanthus, Peruvian lilies, tigridias and lots of annuals.

Helen and Ed Palascak’s Orchard Drive garden has evolved radically in the eight years since it was last on the tour. Dark wine calycanthus flowers bloom above painted Japanese ferns, while Solomon seal fills the bank by the pond’s waterfall. You will also find hydrangeas of many varieties and an herb garden.

Master Gardener Barbara Lowenstein, Orchard Drive, created “a geometry of interest” in her garden by laying down paths to separate the yard into sections. A wide variety of flowers have been grouped to achieve impressionist swaths of color and texture, and many of the flowers, shrubs and trees were selected because they would attract butterflies.

When Kate English and Jay Blount moved into their Shadowlawn Avenue house, they found a neglected garden. Over the next few years, the couple removed dead and overcrowded trees, replaced retaining walls and ripped out waist-high weeds. They planted hostas, pachysandra, ferns, hydrangeas, boxwoods and rhododendron. A Japanese maple replaced a dying magnolia. Of the original garden, only a single elm and two old mountain laurels remain.

You’ve probably driven by the Washington Road home of Rania and Stephen Harris many times and enjoyed the banks of white shrub roses, the perennials and ornamental grasses. But there’s a lot you can’t see from the road. The side yard features a formal courtyard and woodland shade garden. In the backyard, you’ll find a pond and deck that are surrounded by vitex, hibiscus, asters, astilbes, clematis, iris, bergenia, and several types of ferns.

In the 17 years since Annie Laurie Foust bought her Bower Hill Road house, gardening has become her passion. Fortunately, the previous owner was a landscape architect who created a beautiful foundation for her to expand. She has added many varieties of annuals and perennials as well as peonies from her grandmother’s yard and lupines from her sister’s yard in Illinois.

Diane Sunderlin and Susan McShane fell in love with the stonework and natural setting of 41 Thornwood Drive. So when they purchased the house, they made a deal: Diane would take care of anything green and Susan would take care of anything stone. The backyard patio serves as the couple’s oasis where they sit by a warm fire on chilly evenings or have cookouts with family and friends.


aviarytropics in the ‘burgh

Be the wind beneath the Aviary’s wings at Night in the Tropics, Saturday, July 11. The sunny-climed fundraiser starts at 6 p.m., with a VIP reception. Doors open for everyone at 7. Live entertainment, signature drinks and fare from more than 30 of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants, bakeries and breweries all included. VIP tickets, which include the reception, free valet parking, a free-flight bird show in the garden and exclusive bar access, are $125. General admission tickets are $75, or $60 each if you purchase at least six. Tickets via Showclix:


take a swing

St. Clair Hospital Foundation’s 18th annual Summer Swing event will take place at St. Clair Country Club on Friday, July 17, and Monday, July 20. The gala event Friday evening will feature gourmet food stations with a Caribbean flair, entertainment and a silent auction with electronic bidding. The Donald J. Hastings Golf Classic will be held Monday. Over the years, the event has raised more than $1.5 million. Tickets:

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse
Alice Waters of Chez Panisse

culinary tribute

Alice Waters—chef, author, food activist and owner of Chez Panisse—is the honoree at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s From Garden to Table, fundraiser on Saturday, September 12. The event is a dinner tribute to Waters, a pioneer of California cuisine and a proponent of locally sourced food. The meal is a collaborative effort among top local chefs, including Bill Fuller (Big Burrito Group), Trevett Hopper (Legume Bistro and Butterjoint), Sonja Finn (Dinette), Kate Romane (e2), Justin Severino (Cure) and Derek Stevens (Eleven). The event will take place on the grounds of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and will take place at the newly opened Ada and George Davidson Event and Culinary Center which showcases a restored 1870s barn. Tickets start at $350. Details are available at, or by calling 412-444-4464.


more events

Southwinds will host its Charity Golf Outing on Monday, July 27. This year’s event will fund a specialized home for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults now aging and living with various forms of dementia. To register or be a sponsor, go here.

Art and Robotics camps at Jubilee Christian School. Art camps are 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., July 20-24, for grades K through 3, and July 27-31, for grades 4-6. Fee is $175. Robotics camps are 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., August 3-7 and August 10-14. Both weeks are open to grades 4-8. Fee is $275. All forms can be found at Look for the Summer Camps tab.

The 9th annual Karma Yoga Event will be held on the manse lawn at Southminster Church, 799 Washington Road, Wednesday, July 15, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. The class, open to all levels of yoga practice, is free, but donations are suggested. All proceeds will go to Free Store 15104, a Braddock nonprofit that provides free surplus and donated goods and food for those who need them.

A young girl having her hair cut in the hairdressers
Free haircuts for kids at the Salvation Army Pittsburgh Temple

On Sunday, August 23, from 1 to 4 p.m., The Salvation Army Pittsburgh Temple, 1060 McNeilly Road, will be giving away backpacks, school supplies, lightly used clothing and shoes for children in grades K-12. South Hills Beauty Academy will be offering free haircuts for the children as well. Parents can call 412-202-2127 to sign up their children. Drop off donations at The Salvation Army Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Blues Festival, July 24-26 at Hartwood Acres, has raised more than $2 million for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank over the past 20 years. Headliner Buddy Guy is joined by an all-star lineup including Luke Robillard, Dana Fuchs and Selwyn Birchwood. Free admission on Friday night with the donation of a bag of groceries.