Phipps conservatory tour

Phipps conservatory tour

Slipper orchids - Phipps conservatory tour

Slipper orchids – Phipps conservatory tour

Phipps conservatory tour in Pittsburgh – Travel Photo Mondays

I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to the Phipps conservatory in Pittsburg. The scale of the glass houses, outdoor gardens and green inspired center and grounds is quite impressive and fun to explore. Created by philanthropist Henry W. Phipps who wanted to create a source of education, learning and enjoyment for the people of Pittsburgh. Mr. Phipps was a botany enthusiast who wanted to create a showcase Victorian glass conservatory which was very popular during its timeframe. His dream to create this private conservatory mostly for his friends and employees to enjoy eventually extended to donating the entire complex to the city and establishing a foundation and popular attraction in Pittsburgh. Presented as gift to the city of Pittsburgh in 1893, the conservatory was finally opened to the public showcasing a variety of exotic, tropical, Mediterranean, desert and other plant species from around the world.

Let’s a take a tour of the grounds and gardens

 

Front entrance - Phipps conservatory tour

Front entrance – Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Daley Chihuly Glass – front entrance

 

Main entrance with Dale Chihuly sculpture - Phipps conservatory tour

Main entrance with Dale Chihuly sculpture – Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

 

 

Entering a newer entrance that mimics the glass conservatory, the entry is mostly underground and doesn’t detract the views of the glass houses. You see this dazzling pendant glass sculpture upon entering the entry interior courtyard. Of course this impressive modern glass chandelier is from David Chihuly, a famous glass artist from Seattle and his work is displayed in many of the tropical inspired rooms and galleries at the conservatory. Many of Chihuly’s sculpture glass is placed throughout the gardens in wonderful settings that make his pieces so evocative and gorgeous to witness like the piece below.

Chihuly glass on display

Chihuly sculpture at the Phipps conservatory tour

Chihuly sculpture at the Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

 

 

 

 

Exotic tropical garden - Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Exotic tropical garden – Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

The Orchid room

When you enter the first glass house, there is a map showing all the main rooms and it is quite expansive, enough to have a detailed map show the rooms and outline of what can be found in each room. One of my favorite rooms have an extensive display of orchids, bromeliads and exotic plants below.

 

 

Dazzling orchids at Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Dazzling orchids at Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

 

A collection of orchid vignettes

 

Collection of exotic orchids - Phipps conservatory tour

Collection of exotic orchids – Phipps conservatory tour

Glass sculpture in the Orchid collection

 

A glass sculpture display - Phipps conservatory

A glass sculpture display – Phipps conservatory

 

Themed gardens at Phipps

There are many themes to the different garden rooms at the conservatory. This includes: the water garden, desert garden, walled garden, carnivorous plants, fern garden and orchid room. Also, there are a variety of outdoor rooms and special themed gardens to explore inside and outside the conservatory. Below are the water garden displays.

 

Giant lily pads at Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Giant lily pads at Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

 

 

 

Water garden flora Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Water garden flora Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

 

 

Topiary room - Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Topiary room – Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

Wedding anyone?

One of the most popular rooms which is also used regularly for weddings is the topiary room above. I learn that weddings are really big at the conservatory and outside of ticket sales are one of the main fundraising activities for the organization. At its busy season, there can easily be three weddings a day just in this room alone. There are reception facilities and other areas that are open for wedding venues and gatherings around the conservatory. So if you are looking for one of the greenest wedding venues around the city, this would be an excellent choice – take a look at Phipps wedding site  for more information.

Let’s tour more of the glass themed rooms

 

Desert environment - Phipps conservatory tour

Desert environment – Phipps conservatory, Pittsburgh

The desert scape with a Chihuly sculpture

 

Posing in front of the Desert garden - Desert environment - Phipps conservatory, Pittsburg

Posing in front of the Desert garden at Phipps conservatory

 

 

 

The elevated garden  at Phipps conservatory

The elevated garden at Phipps conservatory

 

More Chihuly, can you ever have enough?

 

A Chihuly display - Phipps conservatory tour

A Chihuly display – Phipps conservatory

 

A collection of ferns at Phipps

 

Fern garden - Phipps conservatory tour

Fern garden at Phipps conservatory

 

 

 

Outdoor gardens - Phipps conservatory tour

Outdoor gardens at Phipps conservatory

 

Outdoor gardens and green environment at Phipps

Even without any events going on, just touring the grounds with all the glass houses are quite spectacular with all these imaginative and colorful garden rooms. Whenever you enter a new room, your eyes jump around to many accents and interesting vignettes created by a talented design team. These passionate master gardeners take painstaking efforts to make the presentations come alive and filled with exciting texture, color, composition and vivid displays from all around the botany world.

 

 

Watering the gardens at Phipps conservatory tour

Watering the gardens at Phipps conservatory tour

 

Many of the outdoor gardens are open to the public and free of charge if you are visiting the conservatory. There are wonderful areas to explore with children along with interactive displays and fun activities to do including the froggie watering hole above.

 

A room with a view at Phipps conservatory

A room with a view at Phipps conservatory

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water feature and views at Phipps conservatory

Water feature and views at Phipps conservatory

 

 

 

 

Summer annuals on display at Phipps conservatory

Summer annuals on display at Phipps conservatory

 

 

 

Contemporary architecture blend in with green technology

 

Green innovation at Phipps conservatory

Green innovation at Phipps conservatory

 

There is also a nice blending of contemporary architecture to the environments along with eco measures and zero waste programs showcasing all the modern eco principles: Leed certification, Zero impact, water recycling and new green technology. All of these are showcased within the architecture, interiors and outdoor areas along the administration and education center and you can learn more about their focus on green technology here.

 

Green technology and beautiful architecture at Phipps

Green technology and beautiful architecture at Phipps

 

The eco center gardens and education room

 

Education center at Phipps conservatory

Education center at Phipps conservatory

 

Fun programs and events at Phipps

 

Phipps fundraiser - Phipps conservatory tour

 

Photo credit Annie O’Neill

 

It takes a lot of creative fundraising events and ideas to keep up operations at Phipps which tries to target loyal and new demographic markets. This includes events like the typical wine and cheese, adult nights with a DJ and their popular annual events like the Art themed rooms and Christmas fantasy extravaganza. Opening up the conservatory to new markets that would not typically set foot in these glass houses is a very successful attempt that makes all the new programs a highly anticipated and social event in the Pittsburgh scene. Even taking a class at the Conservatory is a fun way to explore gardening, sustainability, art, healthy living and a variety of lifestyle and popular topics, here’s more information on their class programs if your interested.

 

Summer annuals at Phipps conservatory

Summer annuals at Phipps conservatory

 

Thanks for visiting hope you enjoyed the Phipps conservatory tour for Travel Photo Mondays. Please do visit the other bloggers visiting for today’s link up below. If you are interested in visiting the Phipps or want to learn more about their programs or calendar of events, check out their website here.

If you like what you see, come and check out my other social media channels for more updates, including Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Thanks for the visit and tour at the Phipps conservatory, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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12 Responses to Phipps conservatory tour

  1. Nathalie September 24, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    If your photos do it justice and I’m sure they do, Phipps Conservatory looks amazing. And the addition of Chihuly glass work is always an added bonus. I remember seeing it on display at the Brooklyn Botanical garden, such beautiful work.

  2. Patti Morrow September 24, 2015 at 5:27 am #

    Gorgeous photos, as always Noel! Phipps conservatory tour looks wonderful. I’m very partial to lily pads and those are quite stunning. Also, I have an interior design background and loved the Chihuly glass sculptures.

  3. The GypsyNesters September 24, 2015 at 2:07 am #

    What an amazing building! Love how they have intermingled the glass works with the plants. Great photos, as always.

  4. budget jan September 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    I love glass conservatories. This one is huge but I like the small ones like the Crystal Palace in Madrid copied from the English one. What a sensory overload of colour the plants provide. I actually felt hot as if I was in a glass house.

  5. Suzanne Stavert September 21, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Having never been to Pittsburgh, I appreciate the virtual tour through the Conservatory. I am a lover of flowers and always photograph them. Additionally, Dale Chihuly is a genius and I am lucky to live in his hometown of Seattle. His work is everywhere here and the very best thing to to do is to visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

  6. Julie September 21, 2015 at 6:07 am #

    What lovely photos! It was a nice break to explore Phipps Conservatory through your pics.

  7. Donna Janke September 21, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    The Phipps Conservatory looks beautiful. I am a big fan of Chihuly and love how his pieces fit in the garden design. The orchid garden would be a big draw for me as well. Love your photos.

  8. Rhonda Albom September 21, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    So many unusual, colorful flowers and those glass sculptures are so interesting. Looks like a fantastic conservatory tour.

  9. Paula McInerney September 20, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    The Phipps Conservatory is amazing and very good timing, as we have just spent time at 2 Botanic Gardens, one in Cairns, Qld and another here in Wollongong, NSW so I am thoroughly appreciating what it takes to establish, maintain and extend such beautiful gardens.

  10. Suzanne Fluhr September 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Noel, you inspired me to link to my blog post about the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden in your backyard outside Hilo. We used to regularly visit my husband’s parents in Pittsburgh, but I never even heard about the Phipps Conservatory. I’m sorry we missed them. I really enjoy Chihuly[‘s glass sculptures as well. We have one at a history museum here in Philadelphia.

  11. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru September 20, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    Your Phipps Conservatory tour reminded me of all the wonderful 19th-century philanthropy which occurred in Pittsburgh. The titans of industry may have made obscene amounts of money, but many of them also chose to give back to their community and our country as well. This is such a lovely destination. The Chihuly glass sculptures are the perfect counterpoint to all the botanical splendor.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A first impression of Pittsburgh - September 24, 2015

    […] You can get more  highlights, pictures and information from a recent post I did about the Phipps conservatory here. Highlights to the center include a series of themed garden rooms, outdoor environments and […]

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