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

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.
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.
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!
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.
Red, Ripe and Roasted: Tomato and Garlic Festival
Aug. 24, 2014
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Celebrate two of western Pennsylvania’s tastiest summer crops at our 10th annual tomato and garlic festival. Our historic front lawn will come alive with delicious food and family fun, including cooking demos, a farmer’s market, kids’ activities, special guests and more. Bring a donation for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and receive free admission!
BETA Art Tours
First and third Saturdays, July – October 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
Biophilia: Pittsburgh
Next Meeting Sept. 4, 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 Sept. 5, 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.
Fall Round Up
Sept. 5, 6 and 7, 2014
Friday, 1 – 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phipps Garden Center
Headed to A Fair in the Park? Stop by our Shop in the Park at Phipps Garden Center, where we’ll be hosting a special sale on the patio along with a variety of other local vendors. You’re sure to find unique gifts for the greenest thumb in your life — and something special for yourself!
Garden to Plate Dinner
Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014
6:30 – 9 p.m.
Join us for an unforgettable Sunday dinner, a bountiful garden-to-plate feast of fresh, locally grown fare, select wines and special entertainment.
Tropical Forest India Festival
Sept. 21, 2014
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Join us in the Tropical Forest Conservatory for our final Tropical Forest India festival as we celebrate plants, food and culture through fun activities, live music, food tastings and more. The festival is free with Phipps admission.
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.
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!