My Virtual Garden Cat especially for my sisters and daughter

Sunday, May 15, 2011

National Public Gardens' Day

National Public Gardens' Day was the first weekend of May. We celebrated it by visiting three public gardens. The first garden was one that was new to us. We wanted to make a visit to a garden that we have never visited and that was within a reasonable driving distance. We decided to visit The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We fist checked out this garden online and got really excited about the gardens. Well, this Conservatory really lived up to what we saw online and more. I will give you a somewhat guided tour of our visit. We did get sidetracked by a huge plant sale, yes a plant sale that was being held right on the property. Can you believe it!! Restraint, restraint, restraint…. The only drawback to our visit there was the parking situation, which is pretty much by meter, and that being only for a couple of hours at a time. So my husband had meter duty. He dropped me off and told me to either wait in front of the Conservatory, or browse at the plant sale. Well, it was off to the plant sale for me. That was the first of four trips back and forth to the car for him. The last trip was in a down pour. Of course, we did not want to carry an umbrella around during the day, so he ran off to the car in the rain and I waited around the corner of the Conservatory with our prize possession from the plant sale, a beautiful new Witch Hazel called Orange Peel.

Here are some of the highlights from the Phipps Conservatory.

As you enter the building, you will see the Gift Shop to your left and the Café to your right. I had plenty of time to browse the Gift Shop as my husband tended to the car, but did not purchase anything. I like to buy a ball cap for my husband from each of the conservatories that we visit. Phipps did not have any in stock. Bummer! I know how much he enjoys wearing these caps. I focused my attention on the plant sale instead. We did eat lunch in the Café where there is a sustainable focus from the food to the flatware and cups.

The Welcome Center is on this level. This is where you purchase your tickets. It is the first LEED certified building in a public garden according to their website. It is beautiful and an indication of what was to come.

The tour of the conservatory starts on the second level. You enter by elevator, or stairs. The first room that you enter is the Palm Court. There are many species of palms in this Victorian inspired room. Among the lush foliage are Chihuly glass art pieces. I love Chihuly glass artwork! I have seen it on display integrated into the Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Ar, and the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Here are some pictures as you enter the Palm Court:

The leaves and trunk of Mexican Breadfruit

Large Palm leaf

A right turn takes you into the Serpentine Room. This room takes you on a winding path of seasonal display along a path bordered by a curved brick wall. Here are some pictures that will help you enjoy the walk:

Trunk of an Indian Laurel
Ficus microcarpa

Sunflower bud
Helianthus annuus
"Lemon Summer


Mealy Cup Sage
"Indigo Spires"

Take a look at some of the plants in the Fern Room.

Silver Dollar Maidenhair Fern

Love those black stems!

The Fern Room leads to the Orchid Room.
Staghorn Fern


Foxtail Fern
Asparagus densiflorus

Into the Orchid Room. This Orchid Room is the best permanent orchid display room that I have seen. We were so impressed and took a lot of pictures.

Frank Sarris


Andean Fire "Michelle Lee"

Memoria Dick Clements

A Passion Flower vine

I will continue the tour of Phipps in my next blog post. Next stop a Butterfly Forest.

No comments: