Hello! We saw signs of spring in the more southerly areas of our recent vacation: pansies and daffodils blooming in the Baltimore area, outdoor garden centers open for business, and the famous Kentucky bluegrass looking very nice.
But once we began traveling north to make our way toward home, the colorful landscape didn't travel with us. Spring hadn't advanced that far yet, so we got our dose of that season instead at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. This was our first visit here and we really enjoyed it!
The layout of this conservatory was interesting: from the Welcome Center, one walks into the Palm Court behind it. From there, several other conservatories branch out from the sides and back of Palm Court. Since we were first-time visitors, the nice woman who took our tickets recommended that we start at the right and keep moving in that direction to visit the many "rooms" at this facility. Taking her advice, we viewed orchids, ferns, tropical fruits and spices, a tropical forest, a desert habitat, a French garden whose design roots go back to Louis XIV, a sunken garden and more. The place seemed to go on and on!
Now for some photos:
The annual Spring Garden Show had just opened, with this year's theme being "Enchanted Forest". I supposed an "enchanted forest" might very well be home to gigantic squirrels! From the Serpentine Room.
Orchids; from the Orchid room, of course.
More colorful plants.
The Tropical Forest Conservatory features a different region every three years. Currently it's depicting life in a tropical area of Africa. The above photograph shows folk art from that region.
A close-up of the piece.
I thought I'd taken more photos from this display but apparently I hadn't. I guess I'd been too busy looking, for I found this particular conservatory room very interesting! Besides the tribal piece I've shown here, there were also examples of a market stand, basketry, simple forest dwellings and more. I don't think I've seen such a thorough example of African tropical forest life covered at other conservatories I've visited.
One thing I really liked about the layout of Phipps Conservatory was its intimacy - many of the paths winding through the plantings were quite narrow, and there were few railings around these paths. Thus, many of the displays could be viewed at closer range than at other conservatories.
Bowever, there were a couple of rooms that had railings that prohibited walking right up to the plantings, but these rooms were still pretty in their own right:
The Broderie Room, which is the French garden-inspired garden I'd mentioned earlier. One can see why it's popular for small weddings. Judging from the white bows with long "tails" hung up along the walls, it looked like a wedding had either just occurred or was about to.
The Victoria Room, currently showing off topiaries of winged bugs.
And some close-ups:
And cheery daffodils. So nice to see such bright colors when things still look pretty dull outside (although some of our daffodils began blooming yesterday).
Actually, the full name of this facility is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The botanical gardens include sustainable perennials, medicinal and herbal plants, aquatic gardens, a children's garden, a Japanese courtyard garden, and more. We did take a peek at the Japanese and children's garden, but there wasn't much to see. Like everywhere else in the Pittsburgh area, the outdoor growing season hasn't arrived yet.
But for now, we had the blooms and greenery of the conservatory rooms to make us feel like it was spring inside!
If you'd like to know about Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, go here.