You Bet Your Garden

Events with You Bet Your Garden's host, Mike McGrath

Mike McGrath at TEDx

Mike McGrath covered everything you need to know about composting at the TEDxPhoenixville event in October 2012. Find his talk helpful? Be sure to mark your calendars to catch Mike at other fun & informative gardening events, listed below!

April 26: Prince William County Compost Awareness Day

Balls Ford Road Compost Facility; 13000 Balls Ford Road, Manassas, VA 20112

Mike will give a detailed home composting talk at 10:30 and then host a brief (half hour long) Compost Q & A at noon, sharp! More info ...

April 26: Tomatomania at Greenstreet Gardens, Alexandria location

1721 West Braddock Road; Alexandria, Virginia 22302

Mike will speak on—what else?—growing your best tomatoes ever at 2 pm. (Traffic and Smokeys willing) More info at 703.998.3030 or

April 27: Tomatomania at Greenstreet Gardens, Maryland location

391 West Bay Front Road; Lothian, Maryland 20711

Mike will speak on—what else?—growing your best tomatoes ever at 1 pm. More info at 410.867.9500 or

Gardening events in the Delaware Valley

PHS Tree Tenders Basic Training

The acclaimed PHS Tree Tenders program offers affordable, hands-on training in tree planting and care in the five-county Philadelphia region, and affiliated trainings take place across Pennsylvania. It has trained more than 4,000 volunteers who have been responsible for the planting of more than 20,000 trees in Philadelphia and surrounding municipalities. The program is also a vital element of PHS Plant One Million, the multi-state tree campaign to replenish the tree population of 13 counties in the Greater Philadelphia region, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

PHS Tree Tenders training covers tree biology, identification, planting, maintenance, and community engagement. Tree Tenders works alongside local tree agencies, leveraging resources and extending the impact of municipal tree stewardship. Given the intensity of the training, the training is not appropriate for children under age 16.

A community can form a PHS Tree Tenders group by having three or more people graduate from the course. Benefits include tree grant and volunteer tree planting opportunities. Course fee is $25. Pre-registration is required. Please register online at: For more information, contact Barley Van Clief, 215-988-8793, Course schedules:

  • Montgomery County — 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, May 6, 13, and 20

    Jarrett Nature Center at Simmons Elementary School, 411 Babylon Road, in Horsham, PA

  • Philadelphia — 5:45 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, April 30, May 7 and 14

    The Science Leadership Academy, 55 N. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, 19103

April 26: Healing in Historic Gardens

Cedar Grove Historic House in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia

Healing in Historic Gardens will offer participants a chance to explore eighteenth century herbal recipes and the herb garden that supported them, as well as learn how to compound simple herbal home remedies. The original owner of Cedar Grove, Elizabeth Coates Paschall, practical herbal medicine 250 years ago and kept a book of recipes which is the inspiration for this tour and workshop. The event is from 10 am – noon on Saturday, April 26th at Cedar Grove in Fairmount Park. The cost is $20 ($16 for Philadelphia Museum of Art members) and includes admission to the house itself.

May 3: Tyler Arboretum's Annual Plant Sale

515 Painter Rd, Media, PA 19063

Tyler's Annual Plant Sale, running from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., offers gardeners a myriad of options and hard to find trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and herbs. This year's sale features a special selection of plants ideal for compact gardens and containers, perfect for Mother's Day gifts. As always, there will be a strong assortment of deer-resistant plants. Our plant experts will be on hand to help select the best plants for individual landscapes and gardens and our volunteers will help pack and load your new treasures for the ride home. Admission to the Arboretum is free to everyone for Saturday's event.

May 3: Swarthmore Garden Club Herb Sale

Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA

The Swarthmore Garden Club's annual Herb Sale will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to Noon in front of Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore. Choose from over 1600 organically grown plants, 35 varieties of the usual favorites, plus some new ones: basil Siam queen; mint mojito; ornamentals like coleus "inky fingers; scented geraniums and heirloom begonias. Home-grown heirloom and hybrid tomato plants will be offered as well as homemade baked goods and the club's own dried herb mixture, "Dillio." Profits from the sale benefit local community gardens and projects. The sale will be held rain or shine. For more information call the club at 610 543-4418.

May 3: Spring Fling at PHS Meadowbrook Farm

1633 Washington Lane, Abington Township, PA 19046

PHS Meadowbrook Farm invites families to the Spring Fling, a day of great shopping for flowers, garden plants and gifts. The garden center offers highest quality annuals, perennials, veggies and herbs, as well as new plants and products featured on the "PHS Hot List" for 2014. Gorgeous hanging baskets, Mother's Day gifts, wonderful refreshments, and children's crafts and scavenger hunt add to the fun at the Spring Fling. Runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

May 8: The Herb Society of America's 75th Anniversary Herb Sale

Historic Yellow Springs, 685 Art School Rd, Chester Springs, PA 19425

The Philadelphia Unit of The Herb Society of America will present its 75th Anniversary Herb Sale on Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (rain or shine) on the meadow at Historic Yellow Springs. Thousands of herbs, dozens of vegetable seedlings and many rare and unusual scented geraniums and salvias will be offered for sale. To celebrate our Diamond Jubilee, we will be presenting gifts throughout the day. In addition, there will be many herbal offerings in our boutique tent including, chutneys, jams, mustards, and homemade baked goods lovingly made by our members. A gourmet herbal brunch may be reserved for $15. The brunch will be served starting at 10:30 am. For all those attending the brunch, there will be a chance to be the lucky winner of a special gift in honor of our anniversary celebration. (Checks should be made payable to HSA Philadelphia Unit, P.O. Box 273, Chester Springs, PA 19425)

May 9: Blooming Bash!

Scott Arboretum, 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081

Celebrate National Public Gardens Day with a Blooming Bash! Bring a friend and celebrate spring at the Scott Arboretum with a complimentary garden reception on Friday, May 9 from 4 to 6 pm. Enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine and light fare in a lovely outdoor setting. Discover our inspiring gardens, part of "the most beautiful campus in America," free to the public 365 days a year! Also, learn about the robust programming and fun opportunities the Scott Arboretum offers. Join us for a relaxing evening in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. In the event of rain, our reception will be moved inside our Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, the Wister Center. As a special offer, Blooming Bash guests who become members will receive a complimentary gift along with an exciting bundle of benefits to enjoy throughout the year. More information »

May 17: 2014 Unusual Tropicals and Annuals Sale

Scott Arboretum, 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081

Create a tropical paradise in your backyard with plants from the Unusual Tropicals and Annuals Sale on May 16 and 17. For many years the Scott Arboretum has showcased interesting tropicals and annuals in containers and various gardens around the campus from May to November. Tropical plants such as Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma (elephant ears), Canna, Ensete, Musa, Musella (bananas), and bromeliads create a stunning, lush effect that reminds you of the tropics. These plants are often hard to find in garden centers, so the Arboretum has decided to offer you many of the more unusual selections that we have successfully grown in the Delaware Valley over the years. We will offer limited quantities of more than 200 selections ranging from bromeliads and cannas to succulents. Plant experts will be on hand to answer your plant questions. These plants are great way to transform your containers and garden. For more details and times about all the events at the sale, visit The Scott Arboretum is an educational garden of ideas and suggestions. Covering more than 300 acres of the Swarthmore College campus and exhibiting over 4,000 different kinds of plants, the Arboretum displays some of the best trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals for use in the Delaware Valley. Established in 1929 as a living memorial to Arthur Hoyt Scott, the Arboretum is open to the public year-round free of charge, from dawn to dusk. Adam Levine Garden Design magazine described the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College as "the most beautiful campus in America." Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call the Arboretum Offices at 610-328-8025. Visit our website at

June 21: Wilmington City Gardens Contest & People's Choice Tour

Historic Yellow Springs, 685 Art School Rd, Chester Springs, PA 19425

The City Gardens Contest is a chance for everyone – experienced gardeners and weekend warriors alike – to peek into the beautiful and igneous green spaces of city dwellers, then vote for favorites online in the People's Choice awards. Winners will be announced at the annual awards ceremony in September. The categories for this FREE event include: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Entrance/Container Gardens, New, Blocks, and Community Gardens. Last year, more than 80 proud homeowners and businesses spiffed up their green spaces to share with hundreds of guests. There are lots of ways to get involved: Enter your garden, be a judge, photograph the gardens, sponsor the tour, or be a guest of the tour. More details:

National gardening events

May 10: Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society's "Native Alternatives for Gardening"

9:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.; Park Tudor School, Upper Gymnasium, 7200 N. College Avenue, Indianapolis IN 46240 (Use the 71st Street entrance)

There's something for every gardener at this popular annual INPAWS event held on the Saturday before Mother's Day. The Gymnasium of Park Tudor School will be chock full of Indiana natives to plant in designed landscape or natural areas, and INPAWS members will be on hand to answer questions and help customers shop. Tree and shrub expert Sally Weeks will give a pre-sale presentation on native shrub ideas to complement a native garden as well as native trees to make your yard fully native, arming listeners with the information they need to select from the wide variety of plants available. A full selection of all types native wildflowers, plants, shrubs and some trees will be sold. Plants for the sale and auction are donated from INPAWS members' own collections, plant rescues, and local nurseries specializing in native plants. On offer will be plants for shady, sunny, and wetland settings. The selection is different every year. The choicest, rarest plants are set aside for the plant auction, an entertaining and informative opportunity to learn about Indiana natives, as each offering is introduced by native plant experts. Alongside the plant sale, INPAWS will sell select books on plant families, naturalistic gardening, conservation, and related topics.

Proceeds from this event support the mission of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society: to promote the appreciation, preservation, conservation, use and scientific study of plants native to Indiana and to educate the public about their beauty, diversity and environmental importance. Pre-sale presentation starts at 9:30 for a $10 fee. The fee entitles ticket holders to hear a talk, begin shopping 15 minutes before the general public, and receive a $10 discount on any auction purchase. Plant sale and book sale open 10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Live auction of special or rare plants begins at 11:00 and continues with general sale plants until every plant is sold. More details: