Community Travel

The Phipps Spring Show with Hays LAS



Hays Landscape Architecture Studio

has prepared a melodic transformation of the well-known Phipps Conservatory in downtown Pittsburgh. The exhibit opens the morning of March 22nd for crowds to enjoy the sensory sights and sounds. Hays has infused blossoms with the blues in the sunken garden swamp. In the Palm Room the designers give a whimsical nod to the swing era of the 1930’s. Transcend further down the path of music history and experience the loud and colorful world of rock n’ roll. You will find classical music in the formal Broderie Room, a location popular for proposals and weddings. A peek below, with Phil’s sketch of The Grand Crescendo in the Palm Room, offers a hint of what more you will find over the rainbow.

Palm room perspective final~

From Phipps’s Site :  An Invitation to Join us March 22nd

Drawing inspiration from Pittsburgh’s musical soul, Phipps comes alive with melody and rhythm

Take a toe-tapping journey through a musical world where melodies bloom like flowers. This year, Spring Flower Show combines music and garden design for a sensational new exhibit filled with sights, sounds and scents that are sure to have you singing.
From one room to the next, musical genres from swing and big band to blues and rock ´n roll will be showcased through whimsical sculptures made out of up-cycled instruments; surprising planters like an upright piano; and carefully orchestrated plantings designed to mimic the rise and fall of musical notes as they move up and down the scale. Popular songs will also be piped through some of the rooms, adding to the multi-sensory experience.
The stars of the show, of course, will be the thousands of vibrant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other seasonal favorites, in addition to some new highlights, including several varieties of primula, foxtail lilies and Himalayan blue poppies. Arranged in spectacular groupings according to color and theme, each plant will be carefully placed to add scope to and enliven each scene, from blue and purple flowers representing the blues genre, to rainbow-hued blooms coming together to form the bars of a larger-than-life xylophone.
Spring Flower Show, designed by Hays Landscape Architecture Studio, Ltd., runs through April 20. Exhibit hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $11 for children (ages 2 – 18). Members and children under 2 enter for free.


Presenting Sponsor 
Photos © Paul g. Wiegman


My Plate at Phipps






~ Acrylic tank beyond glass rail! ~



Beyond the beautiful blooms, and through the vegetable garden room, I found a treasure of excited children shopping for healthy food. Based off of the Choose My Plate campaign, the small produce booths and checkout were a  hit!  The young children were enamored by the colorful choices, and were eagerly filling their carts. It was so fun to watch.



www.choosemyplate.gov_downloads_mini_poster_English_final_Page_1 www.choosemyplate.gov_downloads_mini_poster_English_final_Page_2







~ Great job Terra Design Studios! ~


Architecture Environmental

Center for Sustainable Landscapes Building

I wish I had visited the website for Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscaping before visiting the building.  You can find that here. The building facade was elegantly detailed in perfect right angles, deep overhangs, and simple brise-soleils, but so much of the design though was hidden. We walked through without interruption or direction from anyone. It was a quiet day onsite here as compared to the spring show next door.




The Phipps’s website offers many diagrams that make one appreciate the

‘Living Building.’




The type of insulation within the walls was something new to me. It’s a phase change material on top of the insulation. The ice pack look to the plastic covering acts in a way similar to how it feels. It absorbs a temperature, and can contain heat or coolness, much like ice can in freezing conditions. Interesting!




~  Reclaimed wood material ~


Architectural Record’s New Life for the American City article highlighted this building as apart of the Pittsburgh spread.

Courtesy of Andropogon - Arch Record

See the article centered on the Phipps building here.


Building Fabric at Phipps


Building details of Phipps, dating back to the 1890’s, are alongside temporary blooms.








The bark weaving of this tropical tree grows in the heart of Phipps.

Seeing the pattern made me wonder about textures inspired by nature, which lead me to a neat article on the site Ask Nature; a project of Biomimicry 3.8.



Two above photos taken from Ask Nature site here.

The Secret Garden at Phipps


Speaking of spring, my husband and I visited the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory this past Saturday. We enjoyed the new show inspired by The Secret Garden, as interpreted in the landscape by designers at Terra Design Studios.









Look for the interpretive signage and bird sculptures throughout the garden rooms.