Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Discovering Pittsburgh: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

I happened to be hanging out on Facebook on Sunday evening (I know, there's a shocker) when a status update from 4kidsinPA caught my eye. Turns out that admission was going to be free on Monday, August 15 to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, thanks to a generous grant that the Phipps received from the Buncher Family Foundation. 

I'm all about the free or low-cost activities these days. Naturally, Boo wanted nothing to do with this excursion ("Who wants to look at boring, old nature?") while Betty was thrilled with the idea, as I knew she would be.

Monday dawned a bit cloudy, drizzly, and overcast - not the most ideal of days to visit a botanical garden, but I figured we could at least see the Conservatory part since that was inside. The rain might have deterred a few people, but there still seemed to be a healthy number of visitors, which was great to see. The Phipps was gorgeous and struck me as being one of Pittsburgh's treasures, as hopefully my amateur photography shows.  

As newcomers to Pittsburgh, finding our way to the Phipps was easy. It's situated near the University of Pittsburgh as well as Carnegie Mellon University. We also passed Carlow University, so now I know how to get to those places.

For Philly folks, this reminded me a lot of Longwood Gardens, although my guess is that the Phipps is a bit smaller. Hard to tell, though, because since we didn't go outside, I don't think we saw all that the Phipps had to offer.

We started in the Orchid Room ....

These stick figures could be seen dancing amid the orchids.  


Entrance to the Desert Room.  

I have a bit of an obsession with pictures of empty chairs and benches.
This place didn't disappoint in that regard.  
I love the missing bricks behind these. 

I love seeing the various plant names. 

Like this one ... "Hearts Entangled."  
Reminded me of an octopus ... 
and of my days working in the domestic violence field. 

In the Butterfly Room.  
I was hoping this little guy would spread his wings, but ... no luck.
Still, I love these photos. 


These colorful pieces of art could be found throughout the flowers and plants. I loved how the Phipps mixed art and horticulture for a visual surprise. There were replicas of these in the gift shop, kept under glass.  Understandably so, since the prices started at $5,600.  

It is also understandable how quickly I yanked Betty and Boo out of said gift shop when they started their usual routine of bickering, hitting, and slapping one another while being in very close proximity to these bowls. 

Love these, which are made out of old traffic signs.  (This picture has been added to my post "Any Road Will Take You There. (Maybe.)"

Other than being a happy visitor, I have no affiliation with the Phipps or the Buncher Family Foundation and didn't receive any compensation for this post ... but am greatly appreciative for the opportunity to visit and enjoy the Conservatory and gardens! I'll have a few more photos tomorrow as part of my Wordless Wednesday post, as well as some from an edible gardening display (and our lunch in the Cafe Phipps) as my Weekend Cooking post.   

Discovering Pittsburgh! is my new, occasional blog feature where I share the great things that we're discovering in our new city that we're quickly falling in love with. 

According to their website, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a great steel and glass Victorian greenhouse, has been inviting visitors to explore the beauty and mysteries of plants since 1893. Set amidst one of Pittsburgh's largest greenspaces, Schenley Park, Phipps Conservatory stands as a cultural and architectural centerpiece of the city's Oakland neighborhood. In recent decades, Phipps has evolved into one of the region's most vibrant, thriving cultural attractions, bringing fresh perspectives and artists into our historic glasshouse environment. Phipps has also become a strong advocate for advanced green-building practices, sustainable gardening and a new environmental awareness.


copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Anonymous said...

Wow, the pictures look like The Flower Show in Philadelphia.
Hope Boo liked it better, after seeing the conservatory.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

If I remember correctly, Dale Chihuly (sp?) the glass artist had an exhibition there and during that time the whole place was full of glass, including glass spheres that floated on the water and tiny dryad-looking fairies of glass scattered about the place. I love Longwood (one of the magical places of my childhood) but I want to get out and see this place too.

Melissa said...

Yes, Shieldmaiden96! That's exactly who the artist is! Would love to visit the Phipps with you someday.

And Mom, it did remind me a lot of the Flower Show. In fact, part of this was their Summer Flower Show exhibit.