Bee Wise…Plant Natives: free workshop on June 6

Allegheny County and the Penn State Master Gardeners will present “Bee Wise…Plant Natives,” a free program that teaches the value of bees as pollinators, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, in the Allegheny County Courtyard at 436 Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Burgh Bees, which partners with Penn State Cooperative Extension, will also be in the Courtyard with samples of different varieties of honey. Representatives will help participants learn to identify different native bees that visit area gardens.

During the event, master gardeners will also provide information on the importance of using native plants in landscaping and how to incorporate environmentally-friendly practices in garden maintenance. The first 50 visitors will receive a native perennial.

In 2009, the four existing planters in the Courthouse Courtyard were retrofitted and converted into rain gardens. Four downspouts were diverted into the planting beds, and the planters were filled with new soil and drainage material. Drought tolerant native plants were then placed in the new gardens.

The master gardener program supports the Penn State Cooperative Extension by utilizing research-based information to educate the public on best practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. The program provides interested individuals with extensive training in many phases of gardening. In return, participants dedicate volunteer time to teaching horticultural information based on university research and recommendations. The master gardener program also supports Allegheny County through the Courtyard Garden and demonstration gardens in North and South parks.