Phipps recommends:
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood


Explore eco-friendly landscaping practices with the nation's leading experts.

Our annual Native Plant and Sustainability Conference held at Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park brings together national experts for a one-day forum on plants, landscapes and our roles as environmental stewards. You will emerge from this event with a stronger understanding of how well-designed landscapes can have powerfully positive impacts on our environment.

To register, please call 412/441-4442, ext. 3925. The cost per person for this conference is $90 if you register before Oct. 5; after this date, the fee is $105. Price includes lunch. Reserve your spot today!

Phipps Garden Center is located at 1059 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh, PA.

Questions? Please contact us at

This conference counts as a 3.25 hours elective credit for several Phipps certificate programs: Native Plant Landscapes, Sustainable Horticulture, and Landscape and Garden Design. CEU credits for PCH and ISA are pending; please inquire for more information.


8:45 – 9:15 a.m.


9:15 – 9:25 a.m.


9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Wild Collecting in the 21st Century
with David Brandenburg

North America shares with parts of Europe and eastern Asia the distinction of hosting a remarkable and diverse array of temperate-zone plants. Ironically, only a relative handful of these North American native species are currently found in the average residential landscape. There are several advantages to cultivating native plants, and nurseries are beginning to make more of these species available. Did you ever wonder how these new offerings find their way into the market? Botanist David Brandenburg will give you a behind-the-scenes look at how native species are chosen, propagated and disseminated to passionate gardeners eager to expand their plant palettes.

11 a.m. – Noon

Nativars: Blending the Best of Both Worlds
with Maria Zampini

A nativar is a cultivar and/or hybrid of a native species and, according to Dr. Allan Armitage, “they should rule the garden” as they can provide the best of both worlds: a landscape improved by the ecological impact of natives and a way to address problems that usually plague certain native species. Join Maria as she introduces you to some of best new selected native cultivars.

Noon – 1 p.m.

Lunch, Book and Art Sale

1 – 2 p.m.

Growing Caterpillars:
A Tale of Birds, Plants and Conservation 
with Jim McCormac
There are about 2,500 species of moths in Ohio and roughly 150 butterfly species have been recorded. The conspicuous and often showy winged adults are but the short-lived finale of a four-stage life cycle: egg, pupa, caterpillar and adult. Caterpillars make much of the natural world go around and countless billions become food for other organisms. Without vegetation-eating caterpillars, most songbirds would go extinct, plant diversity would plummet, and our forests would fall silent. Learn more about these garden visitors from Jim as he explores their importance to our ecosystem.

2:10 – 2:40 p.m.

Panel Q & A           

2:40 – 2:45 p.m.

Concluding Remarks


Dr. David Brandenburg, botanist at The Dawes Arboretum, began his career studying Midwest plant life and working as a field naturalist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  His passion for botany ultimately led him on a decades-long flora quest culminating in the publication of the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America, a landmark guide offering an innovative approach to identifying and learning about wildflowers in Canada and the U.S.  

Jim McCormac works for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, specializing in nongame wildlife diversity issues.  He was inaugural president of the Ohio Ornithological Society and served for seven years as secretary of the Ohio Bird Records Committee. Jim was the 2009 recipient of the Ludlow Griscom Award and is the author of Birds of Ohio, The Great Lakes Nature Guide, Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage and a forthcoming book on wood-warblers.

Maria Zampini, a fourth generation nurseryman, was the first female president of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. In 2009, Maria partnered with her father Jim Zampini to form UpShoot, a boutique horticulture marketing firm. In 2012, she was named director of plant development and ornamental program manager for the HGTV HOME Plant Collection. She writes regular columns in American Nurseryman, Horticulture and Garden Center magazines.  

Other Featured Exhibits & Events

Spring Flower Show
March 22 – April 20, 2014
Take a toe-tapping journey through a musical world where melodies bloom like flowers. Highlights include whimsical sculptures made out of up-cycled instruments, plantings designed to mimic the rise and fall of musical notes, and thousands of beautiful blooms.
Garden Railroad
Now Open
A unique twist on the traditional Garden Railroad, this year's display takes you to Phipps Prehistoric Park — a whimsical world where dinosaurs are brought back to life! Full of surprises, detailed models, moving parts and trains, this can't-miss exhibit is a thrilling adventure for all ages.
Natives on the Rooftop
April 4 – June 8, 2014
Tuesdays – Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park
Visit Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park to view gorgeous illustrations of native plants by our talented botanical art students.
Used Bulb Sale
Saturdays, April 5, 19 and 26, 2014
10 a.m. – noon
Attend our Used Bulb Sale for a chance to mix and match enough bulbs — including hyacinths, daffodils and lilies — to plant two pots, all for just $5!
Biophilia: Pittsburgh
Next Meeting April 17, 2014
5:30 p.m.
Biophilia: Pittsburgh is the pilot chapter for a Biophilia Network of creative minds meeting monthly to discuss strengthening the bond between people and the natural world through education, discussion and action. Meetings are free to attend; advance RSVP is required. Join the conversation!
Bowties & Butterflies
Thursday, April 24, 2014
6:30 – 10 p.m.
Join us for a spring time garden gala as we welcome beautiful butterflies back to our Stove Room and toast the return of warmer weather.
Butterfly Forest
April 26 – Sept. 1, 2014
Watch as gorgeous butterflies emerge from their chrysalises to soar and glide among colorful, bug-friendly blooms. One may even land on you!
Party in the Tropics
Select Fridays
Next Party May 2, 2014
7 – 11 p.m.
Ages 21+
Gather your friends and get ready to dine, drink and dance the night away at Phipps! Make our paradise your own as you indulge in sweet and savory morsels, taste unique cocktails, and dance to the beats of a live DJ in our Tropical Forest Conservatory. Entry is free with Conservatory admission.
30th Annual Great Plant Auction
May 2, 2014
6 p.m.
This annual event is a plant lover’s dream: Enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres as Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park transforms into an auction house for unique plants and garden accessories. Reservations are required.
May Market and National Public Gardens Day
May 9 and 10, 2014
Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A fun family outing held just before Mother’s Day, our 78th annual May Market features a wide selection of plants, including organic seedlings, specimens from our greenhouses and more. This event is free and open to the public, and in honor of National Public Gardens Day, admission to Phipps is half price during market hours.
Summer Flower Show
May 10 – Oct. 5, 2014
The whimsical miniature world of Garden Railroad takes center stage at Phipps this summer. With themed railroad displays in multiple exhibit rooms enhanced by unique plantings, interactive features and more, this show will bring the wonder of childhood to visitors of all ages.
Inspire Speakers Series
Second Thursday of every month, November 2013 – May 2014, except where noted
Next Event May 15, 2014
5 – 8 p.m.
Green Building Alliance (GBA) and Phipps collaborate to host a second year of all-star local and national guest speakers at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Registration with GBA is required.
Discovery Garden Day
May 25, 2013
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bring the whole family to the Children's Discovery Garden for a day of hands-on, sensory fun. Together, you’ll learn about plants and their pollinators through games, potting stations, crafts and more — all free with Conservatory admission.
From the Ground Up: Community Feast
May 31, 2014
12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Join us for a lunchtime celebration with the high school student participants in our From the Ground Up food and culture program.
Farmers at Phipps
Wednesdays, June – October 2014
2:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Refresh your food shopping experience! Visit our sustainably managed front lawn to browse organic and Certified Naturally Grown fruits, vegetables and more from local farms.
Tropical Forest India
Now Open
Explore our new exhibit showcasing one of the most botanically rich regions of the world. Highlights include an Ayurvedic healing garden, spice and tea market displays, a stunning temple facade on Special Events Hall, and more!