Location: A private garden in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood

Featured guests: Carole Kamin, who’s been gardening the space for 40 years

3 things that surprised me:

1. When Carole moved into her Shadyside house a few decades ago she heard a lot about the previous owner, Mr. Firth, who who would fill the yard with thousands of tulips each spring. Carole wanted to continue the tradition so she plants somewhere between 7,000 to 10,000 bulbs each fall and has a party in the spring to celebrate the colorful blooms. Carole also heard that Mr. Firth would pay neighborhood kids to pull up the bulbs after the season was over but she leaves them in the ground. Some reemerge and any decomposing bulbs contribute to the organic matter in the soil.

2. The water features in Carole’s garden look like they’ve been there for decades but she just had them installed in the last few years. The rock-edged gurgling stream flows into a koi pond that appears to open up into a large, clear swimming hole. The water features are surrounded by mature plantings and make it appear as though you’ve stumbled across a forest brook.

3. Near the pond, Carole has placed a few foam alligator heads along with a plastic owl to discourage ducks from building nests. So far, it seems to be working, although it looks like one of the alligator’s eyes has been pecked out.

One thing that didn’t make the final cut: I first discovered Carole’s garden while attending the Symphony Splendor Garden and Patio tour a few years back. As soon as I stepped into her garden, I felt transported to a paradise far from the city. Though I remembered vaguely where the garden was, it took some online searching and cold calling to find out who the owner of the property was. Thankfully, once I reached Carole she was happy to show us around.

Additional info: You can watch our tour of Mark Meader’s garden, which I discovered on that same garden tour, here.

Want more Yinzer Backstage Pass? Check out our visit to Recycle Source where we discovered where all of Pittsburgh’s recycling ends up.

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.