Phipps recommends:
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood


Learn from the experts, gather inspiration, and shop for unique plants.

Join Phipps, Penn State Extension and Shady Side Academy for a day of insightful discussions and presentations from several special guests, as well as opportunities to shop for unique plants and accessories, at Shady Side Academy’s Hillman Center for Performing Arts in Fox Chapel.

Register by contacting us at or 412/441-4442, ext. 3925. Tickets cost $99 per person before April 1, 2013 and $115 after; includes continental breakfast and lunch. A limited number of scholarships are also available. Call 412/441-4442, ext. 3925 for an application.

Garden Marketplace is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., offering annuals, perennials, shrubs, vegetable seeds and much more.

SCHEDULE (Full Audience)

Garden Marketplace
Shady Side Ice Skating Rink
8 – 8:45 a.m.

Growing Alpines and Miniature Plants
Joseph Tychonievich
8 – 9 a.m.
Early Bird Workshop (additional $12 fee; limited enrollment)
Miniature and alpine plants are perfect for containers and small space gardens and are becoming ever more popular. Joseph will share his expertise on growing these plants in containers and in the ground, and will provide information about some of his favorite and most unusual specimens. Workshop attendees receive a free plant.

Registration/Continental Breakfast
Hillman Center for Performing Arts
8:30 – 9 a.m.

Hillman Center for Performing Arts
9:15 a.m.

The Perennial Plant Collector’s Corner
Kerry Mendez
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
This talk is for plantaholics seeking unusual, fun, outrageous or underused perennials that will have heads turning and onlookers mumbling, “What is that?” As an avid collector, Kerry has walked miles in her muck boots to find plants that transform ho-hum gardens into extraordinary spaces.

(Choose a track for the following portion of the day’s schedule.)

Track A

Contemporary Planting Design Using Native Plants
Thomas Rainer
10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
While native plants grow in popularity, there is surprisingly little information about how to design with them in gardens and landscapes. As a result, native gardens often end up looking messy and wild. This talk offers a critique of the current approach to designing with native plants and suggests an alternative: composition based on artful interpretations of native plant communities. Thomas will examine how to read native communities, identify patterns, and artfully replicate those patterns in gardens. Above all, the lecture will focus on creating bold, modern designs that celebrate the beauty of natives.

Garden Marketplace & Ten Minute Tips Sessions
Noon – 12:45 p.m.

12:45 – 1:30 p.m.

Track B

Garden Marketplace & Ten Minute Tips Sessions
10:45 – 11:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Branch Out with Flowering Shrubs
Kerry Mendez 12:30 –1:30 p.m.
Do you want to add drama, winter interest and colorful flowers to your gardens while reducing maintenance time? Kerry will introduce some spectacular flowering shrubs and discuss their care.

(Full Audience)

Natural Enemies of Landscape Insect Pests

Whitney Cranshaw
1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
This image-rich talk will focus on the primary species involved in the biological control of pests, insects and mites, discussing what they look like, what they can do, and how to encourage their activities.

Chanticleer, A Pleasure Garden
Bill Thomas
2:50 – 4 p.m.
Join Chanticleer Executive Director and Head Gardener Bill Thomas for a visual tour and behind-the-scenes look at what the Washington Post calls “one of the most interesting and edgy public gardens in America.” Open to the public only since 1993, Chanticleer is known for its plant combinations featuring foliage textures and colors, its wide variety of containers, and its imaginative homemade furniture. While discussing the design principles that have led Chanticleer over the last century, Bill will explore the passions that inspired its owners and gardeners.

Concluding Remarks/Drawing
4 p.m.

This conference qualifies for Landscape Architecture CEUs, four recertification credits for Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist, two pesticide credits (PC, 06, 07, 18, 23), and elective credits for Phipps' Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape & Garden Design certificate programs.


Whitney Cranshaw, a Colorado State University professor, specializes in pests and problems affecting Rocky Mountain region plants, educating students on various entomological topics. His books include Garden Insects of North America, Pests of the West and the forthcoming Bugs Rule!

Kerry Mendez, a N.Y.-based expert on low-maintenance perennial gardening and landscaping, works as a marketing professional, consultant, designer, writer, teacher and lecturer. She is the author of The Ultimate Flower Gardener's Top Ten Lists and Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens.

Thomas Rainer, a landscape architect, teacher and writer from Va., advocates for designs that interpret nature and feature native plants. He has designed garden landscapes nationwide, including those at the U.S. Capitol, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and The New York Botanical Garden.

R. William Thomas, executive director of Chanticleer near Philadelphia, leads the continued development of the young garden using an environmentally sensitive and multi-century approach. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in ornamental horticulture from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Joseph Tychonievich, nursery manager for Arrowhead Alpine in Mich., has a love of plants that once sent him to Japan to work for Akira Shibamichi. He is the author of Creating New Heirlooms: A Gardener's Guide to Breeding Plants and holds a B.S. in horticulture from Ohio State University.

Other Featured Exhibits & Events

Fall Flower Show
Oct. 18 – Nov. 9, 2014
In celebration of the harvest season and its changing hues, this colorful exhibit showcases beautiful chrysanthemums, vibrant foliage and other festive flowers as tiny trains wind their way through many of the Conservatory’s display rooms.
Wines Under Glass
Oct. 30, 2014
6:30 – 10 p.m.
Join masked revelers and friends for select wine, cuisine and specialty cocktails as we celebrate the success of Tropical Forest India, our gorgeous Fall Flower Show, and Phipps’ many pacesetting firsts.
Poinsettias and Pointe Shoes
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
6 and 7:30 p.m.
Kick off the holiday season with two of Pittsburgh's most treasured traditions. Don’t miss this one-night-only opportunity to enjoy the botanical delights of Phipps and vignettes from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s rendition of The Nutcracker on the very same night. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance!
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.
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.
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.
BETA Art Tours
First and third Saturdays, November – December 2014
Next Tour Nov. 1, 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
Native Plant and Sustainability Conference
Nov. 1, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh
Phipps’ annual Native Plant and Sustainability Conference brings together national experts for a one-day forum on plants, landscapes and our roles as environmental stewards. This year’s program pairs an entomologist with a landscape designer to help illuminate how a well-designed landscape can be a place of beauty while fulfilling several important ecological functions.
Biophilia: Pittsburgh
Next Meeting Nov. 6, 2014
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 Nov. 7, 2014
Featuring Wigle Whiskey

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.
Members-Only: Peek Behind the Petals
Nov. 8, 2014
9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Explore the history and future of Phipps with Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini at this edition of our members-only Peek Behind the Petals series. This event is free for members; however, space is limited and reservations are required. To reserve, please contact us at 412/622-6915, ext. 6505 or
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
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, Nov. 29 – Dec. 20, 2014, plus Nov. 28 and Dec. 1
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.
Gifts and Greens Market
Dec. 4 – 6, 2014
Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free and open to the public, this special holiday shopping tradition at Phipps Garden Center is sure to help you find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list this season.
Saturdays with the Sugar Plum Fairy
Sat., Dec. 6 and 13, 2014
10:30 – 11 a.m.
Phipps and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre are pleased to present Saturdays with the Sugar Plum Fairy, 30-minute creative movement dance classes and story time sessions with a dancer in costume. Activities are free with Conservatory admission and appropriate for comfortably-dressed children of all ages.
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.
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!