Location: Doug Oster’s private garden in an undisclosed Pittsburgh location

Featured guests: Doug Oster, garden writer, broadcaster and podcaster

3 things that surprised me:

1. Doug is probably the most famous gardener in the region so I was so curious to see what he’s growing in his personal garden. I wasn’t disappointed. His plot of land feels less like a garden and more like a secret laboratory full of botanical experiments and clever reuses of household objects. Bed frames form “flower beds” and snap peas creep up old golf clubs. Because deer were eating the tulips and roses outside of his fenced vegetable garden, Doug started integrating the flowers into the enclosed space, creating a jam-packed cottage garden in the middle of the woods.

2. Doug and his wife have lived on the property for more than two decades. They cleared the area after moving in to create the garden. While exploring their new property, they kept discovering garden statues with missing heads or limbs. Doug decided to not only display them in the garden, but now he’s always on the lookout for other broken garden sculptures. He often picks them up highly discounted from local nurseries and stores. Sometimes he’ll attempt to glue a head back on but often he’ll just leave it as is, with the fractured pieces of art evoking images of classic statues like the Venus de Milo.

3. Doug says he can garden nearly all year long. He starts on St. Patrick’s Day by planting peas outside. In April, he’s planting cold-hardy greens before moving on to warmer crops like tomatoes and peppers. In the fall, he’s growing the cold-hardy greens again and planting tulips and other bulbs. This year, he added bulbs in March and was surprised and delighted that not only did they come up, but because they were a little later than the ones planted in the fall, they extended his daffodil season by a few weeks.

One thing that didn’t make the final cut: Doug showed us his paw paw grove in the woods and mentioned that the last time he filmed there during the harvest, the camera operator had to wear a helmet to protect themselves from the falling potato-size fruit.

Additional info: You can watch Doug Oster’s videos, read his articles and find out when he’s teaching classes at his website.

Want more Yinzer Backstage Pass? Check out our visit to High Meadow, the house that’s just up the hill from Fallingwater that’s also home to an array of classes and workshops.

Boaz is the host of NEXTpittsburgh's Yinzer Backstage Pass video series. He is also an author, filmmaker, advertising copywriter, teacher, experiential storyteller, talk show host, gardener, kazoo museum curator and so much more.