Phipps Conservatory

Pittsburgh PA



This is one of our favorite day-trips to the Pittsburgh area. We bought a 1-year pass since it was the cost of just two visits.  They change many of the displays throughout the year to go with the season. Our most recent trip was to see the Christmas flowers and displays.  The following photos are from several visits throughout the past year.




Plaque by entrance.


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a complex of buildings and grounds set in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh (near the Carnegie Museums in Oakland). It is a City of Pittsburgh historic landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The gardens were founded in 1893 by steel and real-estate magnate Henry Phipps as a gift to the City of Pittsburgh. Its purpose is to educate and entertain the people of Pittsburgh with formal gardens (Roman, English, etc.) and various species of exotic plants (palm trees, succulents, bonsai, orchids, etc.) Currently, the facilities house elaborate gardens within the fourteen room conservatory itself and on the adjoining grounds. In addition to its primary flora exhibits, the sophisticated glass and metalwork of the Lord & Burham conservatory offers an interesting example of Victorian greenhouse architecture.    (From Wikipedia - For More Information, CLICK HERE)



(Some of the following notes are from the Phipp's website)




Approaching the main entrance.




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Another view of the main entrance area.




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After buying a pass (or showing your year-long pass), you enter the conservatory through the Palm Court.




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The Orchid Room offers a look at many exotic and breathtaking species, including miniature orchids and our Barbara Tisherman Slipper Orchid Collection, curated in collaboration with the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania to be one of the world’s definitive slipper orchid resources. Also on display is the unique Phalaenopsis Frank Sarris orchid, dedicated to the memory of the founder of Pittsburgh’s Sarris Candies Inc. — a beloved trustee, benefactor and friend.





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The Orchid Room




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Pathway around the Orchid Room





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Vanilla Orchid




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Close-up of one of the orchids.





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In the Stove Room, you will be surrounded by plants of the deep tropics, with vivid colors and fragrant blooms. From spring to fall, this exhibit space becomes Butterfly Forest, a family favorite that provides an up-close view of our beautiful butterflies as they break free of their chrysalises to flutter among the foliage and flowers.





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One of hundreds of butterflies in the Stove Room.





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Interesting sign and flower.





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Goldfish Plant as described above. See the fish?





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Interesting bits of information like this:

The Annatto seeds are the source of the bright yellow color in mac & cheese.





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Creative scenes with soothing streams and waterfalls are the hallmarks of the East Room. As one of the Conservatory’s major changing display areas, this garden provides a picturesque setting that adapts readily to seasonal themes. 







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Fragrant and lush, this room features tropical and sub-tropical fruits, nuts and spices from around the world, such as citrus fruits, bananas, allspice, papayas, cinnamon and coffee. The marble basin in the center of the room is home to a dazzling Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in purple and celadon.





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Fresh bananas - in a few more weeks.




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In the winter, many plants are adorned with this sign.  "I'll be back in the spring."


They also sell T-Shirts with this sign in the gift shop (Beth thinks I need one!).






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The largest indoor display area, the Tropical Forest Conservatory is a multilevel exhibit combining educational enrichment with lush tropical forest flora. Featuring a different region every three years, this space will immerse you in a unique environment replete with cascading waterfalls, winding pathways, a fish pond and interactive learning stations. It is also the site of many of our public programs and special events. 






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Find inspiration for your own home gardening pursuits among the herbs, fruits and vegetables in the Rooftop Edible Garden, a dynamic outdoor demonstration space that provides fresh produce for Café Phipps and serves as a site of hands-on learning for a variety of children's camps and youth programs. 





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Interesting pattern in one of the planters.





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The Desert Room features examples of plant life that thrive in a desert climate. Discover various species from the southwestern U.S., northern Mexico and Africa, and enjoy the bright blooms on these arid-region plants. Above it all hangs the Desert Gold Star, one of Dale Chihuly’s spectacular glass chandeliers. 





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Beautiful desert cactus.





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Quite a variety of desert plants.





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Appropriately named:  Bunny Ears cactus.





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Fire Barrel Cactus





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Golden Barrell Cactus (yes, that is spelled correctly)




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Furnished with fountains, hanging baskets and sunken beds,

the Sunken Garden features a new array of plants with each seasonal flower show. 





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The Broderie Room is also known as the Parterre de Broderie, which translates to “embroidery of earth.” Modeled after the formal gardens of French chateaux during the reign of Louis XIV, this elegant display space is a popular setting for intimate wedding ceremonies and photo shoots.





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The architectural beauty of the historic glasshouse is highlighted in the Victoria Room, where a large central pond reflects the dome and the color of the changing floral displays. An interactive fountain allows you to control its jets and lights, and create your own illuminated water show. 



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With its winding walkways, shaded benches and streaming fountains, the Outdoor Garden provides a beautiful setting with views of Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. This serene space is comprised of many smaller gardens and plant collections, including an herb garden, a medicinal garden, perennials, ferns and dwarf conifers. 





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More of the Outdoor Garden.





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Ornamental cabbage






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Over the holidays, the South Conservatory transforms into the popular Garden Railroad,

where you can watch miniature trains wind through the exhibit’s peaks and valleys. 






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Such attention to detail.  Most of the vegetation is live. The theme is "story books".




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Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox (look closely).





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One of several small villages along the train tracks.





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The trolley passing yet another village.





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Rapunzel is seen dropping her hair to the prince.





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There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.




Christmas 2015




The Palm Court (entrance) decorated for Christmas.




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The Sunken Garden decorated for Christmas.




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Some of the Christmas trees in the Sunken Garden.





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The Broderie Room decorated for Christmas.





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One of several types of Poinsettias.




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More Poinsettias.




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These huge planters were adorned with Poinsettias in addition to the regular "residents".




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The entrance display at the main entrance.



For more information: 



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