Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Edible inspiration at the Phipps Conservatory!

I was lucky enough to visit the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh last week for a book event.. A heartfelt thank you to the many enthusiastic gardeners who came out to talk food gardening and share the day with me!

I had several opportunities during my visit to wander through the various 19 indoor and outdoor gardens that make up the Phipps Conservatory and snap many (many!) photos. Now that I've finally unpacked and have uploaded my photos, I thought it time for a long overdue blog post on some of the sights of this Pittsburgh treasure.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon for a quick tour after the gardens had closed for the day. Gabe Tilove, the adult education co-ordinator and my host, guided me through a sampling of the glass houses and gardens. It was a gorgeous summer day with plenty of sunshine and countless bees buzzing from flower to flower.

I then returned early the next morning when the light was soft to snap more photos of the indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the amazing kitchen garden, planted and maintained by Mike, a passionate and knowledgeable gardener. I took photos in most of the 19 gardens and will share more in the coming days but for now, here is a sampling of the wonder of the edible garden.

A corner of the kitchen garden at the Phipps Conservatory.

The cucumber obelisks in the kitchen garden. The
sky blue of the structures melded so well with
the bright orange and yellow nasturtiums
and marigolds. 

More of the funky obelisks, but these ones
are covered with rampant pole beans.

Well hello Swiss Chard! Mike used this
ornamental edible in many spots to add welcome
colour to the garden.

Early morning sun lights up the chard and beets. 

Such an inspiring garden, but most importantly, it is
achievable for the home gardener. Simple, but
attractive wooden raised beds and structures for
growing a wide variety of food plants.

A tomato trellis made from bamboo and mesh.
A closer look at the tomato trellis. 
They also practice succession planting in the kitchen

Sweet alyssum was tucked throughout the garden to
entice pollinators and beneficial insects.

Edible landscaping! Kale and cabbage
was used to edge pathways. 

Another tomato trellis.

I was lucky to wander the garden on Thursday morning
 with Phillip, a botanist at Penn State. He
has an observant eye and noticed the
lacewing larvae (AKA aphid lions) trolling
for aphids on the milkweed. So cool!

Whimsical art and practical structures
meet in the kitchen garden at
More Swiss chard - I LOVE this cheerful variety with
bright gold stems. 

Large scale production beds were tucked in the back corner
 of the kitchen garden.
The building where we had the book event - seriously beautiful!
The front gardens in the early morning light were spectacular
and filled with birds and bees. 

This bench was also placed in the front
garden and surrounded a fountain. The
perfect spot for a morning coffee. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, those blue obelisks!! I wonder how many plants were on each. Coming soon to a garden near you if I have my way.

    Loving this rain. Loved your chat with Marjorie Harris last Sunday also.



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