Phipps Conservatory

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Phipps Conservatory


On Sunday, Lora, Margery and Paul headed to Phipps Conservatory to check out the holiday flower display. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was founded in 1893 by Henry Phipps who was a Pittsburgh steel and real estate magnate. The conservatory and gardens are located in Schenley Park in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The conservatory has a number of special events throughout the year, but their biggest events are the Spring Flower Show, the Fall Flower Show and the Winter Light and Flower Show.

Phipps Conservatory has lots of pleasant memories for Paul. His maternal grandfather sometimes used to take him there on Sundays. Paul credits those visits, along with the vegetable gardening expertise of his paternal grandfather, for kindling in him a keen interest in gardening. We also used to go to Phipps as a family to enjoy the Spring Flower Show after long, dreary Pittsburgh winters, and Lora seems to have fond memories of Phipps, too. In fact, going to the Winter Flower Show was her idea.

There is limited parking in the vicinity of Phipps Conservatory. Some of it is free for flower show attendees, and some is metered ($.25 for each 15 minutes). After two passes, we lucked out and found a free space.

The conservatory has undergone extensive changes since we were last there. The entry has been moved to the lower level of a new addition which sits in front of the original entrance. The new entrance includes a café and a gift shop that is much enlarged from what they used to have.

Phipps Conservatory

Other recent changes to Phipps include an enlarged outdoor garden area and the addition of a new building that houses the Sustainable Landscape Center. Phipps has also embraced “green” technology with the addition of things like solar panels, wind turbines and a solar still for water purification.

Admission to Phipps is $15 for adults and $14 for seniors. We paid our admission and headed up the stairs to the conservatory. From the top of the steps, we got a nice view of the Christmas tree i…