Monday, February 3, 2014

Visting the Phipps Conservatory Part 4

Continuing with photos of our visit to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, this is the fourth post in the series on this world-class conservatory.  You can find my previous posts on the Phipps beginning with Part 1 here.

Now on to the Tropical Forest India exhibit opened in 2012 in a large newer space at the rear of the main buildings.  The exhibit is based on the Western Ghat region of India which added a bit of interest since it mirrors places I am more familiar with such as the jungles of central Mexico.

We entered at the top with views of the tree canopy.  The scale of this conservatory is enormous.

These rocks seem more like Disney World than a realistic garden exhibit.

Turns out the plants aren't all from India.

The Strelitzia was a show stopper though.

Glass-walled koi pond beneath the stairs

Outside the Tropical Forest Conservatory is the Center for Sustainable Landscapes and one of the greenest buildings in the world having been awarded LEED Platinum status.  This entrance is the top of the building with meeting rooms and offices on the levels below.

This view looks back at the Tropical Forest Exhibit building on the right and greenhouses on the left.  There are gardens on the roof.

Panicum 'Heavy Metal' grasses were standing up under the snow and wintry weather.

This garden is on the roof of the center.

An outdoor meeting area near the Tropical Forest conservatory.

The building to the left is the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh and one of the tallest Gothic-styled buildings in the world.  The building houses classrooms, labs, and offices for the university.

A look back at the building housing the Tropical Forest exhibit.

Views from the roof garden.  This area is southeast of downtown Pittsburgh and the taller buildings of the city skyline are well in the background.

Back inside we headed to the Fern Room with magnificent tree ferns reaching to the top.

Loved the texture on this Crocodile Fern.

Staghorn ferns in a hanging basket is a bit different from the typical wood plank display.

We also took time for a detailed look at the beautiful structure of the buildings.

The Stove Room featured plants very familiar to me as these are outdoor plants in South Texas (except possibly this winter).   This Stove Room is used as a Butterfly Exhibit during the summer.

I just loved these blooming coleus featured throughout the conservatory.  I don't let mine bloom usually because it depletes the foliage.

Pink Firespike and Phillipine Violet are plants I grow in my garden.

Unlike my own garden the plantings here are quite dense.

It's fun to revisit through these photos when it's cold and gray outside.

Pentas are a common garden plant in south Texas, mine have not survived our exceptionally cold winter.

This Rusellia may need more sun to bloom.

Pink Shrimp plant is a favorite in San Antonio.

Chenille plants

Glass pieces by local artists were on display throughout the conservatory.

Some plant combinations were very familiar.  I believe I grow every plant in this photo.

More of the Chihuly art glass pieces which are part of the permanent collection at the Phipps.  

I have one more post from the Phipps Conservatory which will be on the Orchid Room and I'm saving that one for Valentine's Day next week.


  1. Thanks for another great post about your visit to this conservatory. I really enjoyed it. I love those Strelitzias, I want one!

    1. It's an amazing place and well worth the time if you are ever near Pittsburgh. The strelitzias are some of the prettiest I've seen in quite a while. I have one but it's a lot smaller.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Shirley! For a moment I forgot it was winter when you took the photos until I saw your snowy outdoor pics!

    1. I know how much you enjoy these types of garden displays so I'm glad to see you following along. It's been a while but the winter weather had also arrived surprisingly early. The weather is actually much colder with more snow now than when we were there.

  3. Mighty impressive, though I thought your "Disney World" comment was right on. Snow is falling here, so this was a welcome respite.

    1. I try to give my view honestly while expressing overall appreciation for the beauty of this place and its impressive plant collection.

  4. Thanks for the tropical tour. I feel warmer already.

    1. It does seem needed during this excessively cold winter.

  5. Wow, you took a lot of photos! And I agree with Lee--I feel warm after that tour. The sky was really blue that day, wasn't it? Also, I can't believe the size of the Coleus blooms! I usually pinch mine off, too--but those are so large and colorful, they look like Delphiniums!

    1. The sky was very blue which is a bit unusual that time of year that far north.

      I've been looking into the idea of letting the coleus bloom and it seems their large greenhouse operation might be the key component missing from my garden.

  6. Wonderful photos, Shirley! I love this conservatory, it's enormous: glass, metal, bricks, plants. A lot of palms and beautiful ferns, I think you like them too, do you? I saw there Strelitzia reginae with bright orange flowers, lovely!

  7. Magnificent! This place just keeps getting better and better. Perfect place to revisit on a cold winter day!


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