Friday, August 15, 2014

A Visit to Phipps Conservatory

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If you are ever in Pittsburgh, stop in and spend a few hours in the conservatory and gardens. It will be worth the trip to see the beautiful gardens inside this very old conservatory. Phipps Conservatory was founded in 1893 by industrialist Henry Phipps. Mr. Phipps gave the conservatory to the city of Pittsburgh as a gift.

When you visit the conservatory and gardens you will learn how they have created a Center for Sustainable Landscapes which is one of the greenest buildings in the world. It is net-zero energy and net-zero water. Here are some photos of some of the many things you can see at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

The conservatory has over 30 pieces of Chihuly glass on exhibit in the gardens. The pieces are spectacular!

Have you ever visited a roof top garden. This garden is beautiful and has a wonderful view of the city.

 One of the many water features found on the property.

This is a miniature garden with dinosaurs and a volcano that smokes and erupts. What a fun place for children to visit.

Many of the garden rooms have miniature trains and water features.

This was my favorite room! I really like the design and the colors that were used.  I could have spent the day sitting and enjoying it.

This room has fountains and a train that runs around the garden.

The Desert  Room was filled with a collection of desert plants. Do you see the Chihuly glass hanging from the roof?

 The Japanese Garden with rocks, ponds, bonsai trees and lanterns was beautiful and relaxing to walk in.

The entrance inside the conservatory was very lush and exotic.

I enjoyed visiting the Orchid Room filled with spectacular orchids and the Butterfly Room with butterflies flying around  the plants. 
If you ever visit Pittsburgh, stop by the conservatory and plan to visit for at least 3 to 4 hours to see everything that they have to offer. It will be worth the trip!

Happy Gardening!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Hardy Hibiscus

Hibiscus 'Summer Storm'
This time of the summer is when the hardy hibiscus begins to bloom in many gardens. When I am in the car driving around town, you can see them in full bloom in many landscapes that I pass. Their flowers are as big as a saucer and they look very much like those beautiful tropical hibiscus that cannot survive the winters in Indiana.

Hibiscus are now available in colors of white, pink, red, mauve and some with a mix of colors in their petals. Each flower blooms for one day, but that flower will be a show stopper for that day in the garden. Hibiscus grow in zones 4-9 and prefer full sun. They bloom in the summer and can reach a height of 3 to 8 feet in the garden. Their flowers can range in size from 4 to 12 inches in diameter. They are happy with moist, well drained soil to grow in. This year we have had regular good rains and my hibiscus couldn't be happier!

Hardy hibiscus are easy to grow. They die to the ground in the winter and in my area they are one of the last plants to start to grow in the garden in the spring. If you think it has died, just be patient and you will be rewarded with lots of flowers.
There has been lots of breeding done with this plant and the results have produced some very beautiful new plants. Some have unusual shaped leaves and others with beautiful dark purple leaves. The dark leaves and beautiful flowers make them look spectacular in the garden. Just take a look at some of the following photos of hardy hibiscus in bloom.

Look at the wonderful dark colored leaves on this plant.

If you like the photos of these hibiscus, then check out your local nursery to see what they have available. This is the ideal time to see those fantastic flowers blooming at your local nursery center and to select that perfect one for your garden.
Happy Gardening!

'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood

Years ago, I purchased a very small tree that was only 6 to 8 inches tall. It was a 'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood. It had beau...