November 19th, 2013
When my son and daughter-in-law moved into a century-old house in a small town near Pittsburgh, one of the first things we did (as you might guess) was fix the atrocious landscaping.
In case you’re not terribly familiar with Pittsburgh, everything in that part of the state is rabid black and gold. Those colors have their roots deep in the city’s history, and all three of the city’s beloved sports teams (Steelers, Pirates, Penguins) proudly bear the black and gold.
So it seemed a natural to me that at least part of Andy and Julie’s front yard should have a Steel City garden of black and gold plants.
I figured every garden center out there would be pushing those colors since, as one garden-center staffer confirmed, Yinzers (the slang term for Pittsburghers) buy ANYTHING if it’s got black and gold or a Steelers logo on it.
Not so. None of the places we looked had any kind of Steel City garden display or any hint of a black-and-gold plant theme.
We jerry-rigged our own little corner garden, though, featuring a ‘Black Lace’ elderberry, a couple of gold-leafed ‘Mellow Yellow’ spireas, a few clumps of black mondo grass, and black-eyed susans and gold mums for seasonal color.
This may not be one of the apparent few Steel City gardens for much longer.
A new book by award-winning Pittsburgh garden writer Doug Oster hit the market this week, and it’s all about designing a distinctly Pittsburghish garden.
“The Steel City Garden: Creating a One-of-a-Kind Garden in Black and Gold” (St. Lynn’s Press, $17.95 hardcover) encourages planting Pittsburgh pride in the landscape and offers profiles on scores of gold plants, black plants and some that hit the Yinzer jackpot – both black and gold.