Phipps recommends:
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood



Donald M. Robinson explores the world with a love and respect for both its wildlife and varied cultures that permeates his many photographs. He has been taking photographs for 50 years, documenting people, landscapes, animals and plant life. His photography is a testimony to the artist’s lifelong conviction that the world is essentially a beautiful place and the environment is its greatest treasure. We took a few minutes with Donald to discuss his photography and the inspiration behind this project.

How did you first become interested in photography? 

In my early childhood, I was fascinated with black and white photography. I set up a darkroom in the basement of my home and spent many hours captivated by the images. 

Where do you get the inspiration for your photos? 

Photography is one of the great joys of my life. When I plan to photograph, my day begins with barely containable excitement, and, by the end of the day, the beauty I have experienced has renewed my soul. Photography has given me another career, another chance, a real treasure in the changing fortunes of time. In my search for images, I am constantly reminded that the world still is a beautiful place. 

What are your favorite places or objects to photograph and why? 

My favorite place is Antarctica because everything is so magnificent and beautiful. The penguins, seals and other native wildlife are most cooperative and can be photographed quite easily. The landscape is surreal.

What is the most difficult part of the photographic process?

Carrying a lot of equipment and setting up a tripod to obtain a precise sharp photograph is the most difficult part. Traveling to some very difficult landscapes can also be a challenge.

Can you describe the concept of the pieces featured in the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps?

All of my images featured in the CSL are from western Pennsylvania. I am constantly reminded of the natural beauty in our area. I also tried to represent our various seasons.

What impact do you hope your photographs will have on CSL visitors? 

I would like the visitors to be impressed by all of the beauty that we have here in western Pennsylvania and the beauty that they can experience at Phipps. 

Photo © Donald M. Robinson

Other Featured Exhibits & Events

Winter Light Garden
and Flower Show
Nov. 28, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015;
Winter Light Garden open evenings 5 – 11 p.m.*
Take a walk in our Winter Wonderland as we bring to life one of the most beloved carols of all time. With glowing evergreens, festive poinsettias, illuminated glass and our stunning outdoor Winter Light Garden, Phipps will sparkle and shine like never before this holiday season.
*Weather permitting
Garden Railroad
A unique twist on the traditional Garden Railroad, this year's display takes you back in time to the California Gold Rush — complete with water features, interactive buttons for children to push, and miniature living plants.
Candlelight Evenings
Nov. 28, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015*
Extended Hours: Open until 11 p.m.
Winter Flower Show is even more enchanting at night – a time when glowing candles light your way and live music fills the air. 
*Note: Phipps will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 and reopen at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 26.
Santa Visits
Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 21, 2014
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bring the kids, or the entire family, to pose for a photo with Santa: It’s a perfect way to get into the spirit of the season and share a special memory with your holiday mailing list! Santa Visits are free with Phipps admission.
BETA Art Tours
First and third Saturdays, December 2014
Next Tour Dec. 20, 2014
11 a.m. – noon
Discover the BETA Project, a new collection of art at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes designed to enhance and restore the bonds between people and the natural world. Tours are free for members; however, space is limited and reservations are required by the Thursday prior to each tour date. To reserve, please contact us at 412/622-6915, ext. 6505 or
Family Fun Days
Dec. 26 – 30, 2014
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Featuring a variety of engaging educational activities, all free with the price of admission, these special days at the Conservatory are filled with adventure and fun.
New Year's Eve Family Celebration
Dec. 31, 2014
6 – 9 p.m.
At this family-friendly event, featuring a variety of activities for children, we will welcome 2015 with an early countdown at 8:45 p.m. so that everyone can join in the fun.
Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show
Jan. 17 – March 1, 2015
Chase away the winter blues with the spectacular sight of orchid specimens arranged in beds and baskets, and see unique selections from our permanent collection of tropical bonsai.
Biophilia: Pittsburgh
Next Meeting February 2015
6 p.m., with networking and refreshments at 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!
Party in the Tropics
Select Fridays
Next Party Feb. 13, 2015
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.
Hothouse Happy Hours
Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015
6 – 8 p.m.
Join us on Feb. 19 as we partner with the Pittsburgh Urban Magnetic Project (PUMP) to kick off Hothouse Happy Hours, a series of events for young professionals, featuring specialty cocktails, beer and wine, inspired bites and dynamic special guests.
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!
Romero the Corpse Flower
Turns Over a New Leaf
Last year, he wowed thousands with his inimitable odor, and this year, he’s back with an amazing new look. After 10 dormant months, Romero has produced an enormous leaf to collect energy for his next big bloom. Visit the Tropical Forest Conservatory to see his transformation firsthand.