Tropical Forest Congo
Opens Feb. 7, 2015
Come along as we embark upon a new adventure through some of Africa’s lushest landscapes.
The beauty of the tropics flourishes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens as we get ready to unveil Tropical Forest Congo, an exhibit highlighting some of Africa’s lushest landscapes. The result of years of research culminating in a trip to Cameroon, where Curator of Horticulture Ben Dunigan and Exhibit Coordinator Jordyn Melino acquired knowledge and inspiration by visiting the region’s most breathtaking natural areas and learning from its indigenous tribes, the installation will open on Feb. 7.
For the displays, more than 60 percent of the Tropical Forest Conservatory plant life will be changed out to feature many varieties of flora never before showcased at Phipps. Among the specimens, sourced from nurseries throughout the U.S., as well as from seeds procured from Nigeria, are sausage trees (Kigelia africana) — known for their fragrant red flowers that, when pollinated, form large tubular fruits that can weigh up to 22 pounds — and the Napolean hat plant (Napoleonaea imperialis), which bears passionflower-like blooms on its trunk.
Tropical Forest Congo will also incorporate education stations, including a market displaying regional foods; a replica of a small dwelling that one would see in a village built by the Baka, a tribe that resides deep in the forest; and several kiosks exhibiting tools and equipment often used by botany researchers in the field. Additionally, the Special Events Hall will be graced by a façade designed to resemble a palace in which a king of the southwestern Cameroon Bamileke tribe would reside, complete with ornately decorated wooden columns. Beaded artifacts, such as ceremonial elephant masks, and stones carved by local artist Richard Hower will be on view, too.
Two photo displays will complement the exhibit as well. The first, located in the Center for Sustainable Landscapes Green Gallery, will include images documenting From the Ground Up, a partnership between Phipps and Gidan Makama Museum in Kano, Nigeria that engaged 31 high school students in a collaborative project focused on food, nutrition and culture. The second, situated in the hallway behind Special Events Hall in the Tropical Forest Conservatory, will feature photos taken by Jordyn and Ben during their research trip.
Photos © Tim Hammill; Paul g. Wiegman; Denmarsh Photography, Inc.
Other Featured Exhibits & Events
- Two More Nights of Winter Lights
- Friday, Jan. 23 and 30, 2015
5 – 11 p.m.
- Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show
- Jan. 17 – March 1, 2015
- Tropical Sundays
- Sundays, Feb 1, 8, 15 and 22, 2015
- Biophilia: Pittsburgh
- Next Meeting Feb. 5, 2015
6 p.m., with networking and refreshments at 5:30 p.m.
- Tropical Forest Congo Opening Festival
- Feb. 7, 2015
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Party in the Tropics
- Select Fridays
Next Party Feb. 13, 2015
7 – 11 p.m.
- Hothouse Happy Hours
- Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015
6 – 8 p.m.
- Seed, Perennial and Seedling Swap: 2015 Garden Season Opener
- Feb. 28, 2015
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main
- Garden Railroad
- Closes March 1, 2015