Giving Guide 2023 : Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden inspires people to value plants, garden design, and the natural world by cultivating plant collections of the Allegheny Plateau and temperate regions, creating display gardens, conducting educational programs, and conserving the environment.

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is a qualified caretaker for 460 acres of Southwest Pennsylvania’s land and water. Dedicated staff and volunteers create and maintain this space as a habitat for native flora and fauna. In addition to ongoing conservation efforts such as mitigating acid mine drainage and reforestation projects, the Garden provides 65 acres of cultivated gardens and woodlands for the public to connect to plants. Through this innate experience: young minds are engaged, gardeners are inspired, and all visitors find a sense of calm.

As an outdoor public garden, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden offers gardens and woodlands for all to connect to plants while exploring the native habitats of the Allegheny Plateau ecoregion.

GARDEN AND WOODLANDS HIGHLIGHTS

Garden of the Five Senses

This garden encourages children of all ages and abilities to touch, hear, smell, taste and see the natural world around them. Filled with hands-on activities for exploration, this is the garden for families to learn and connect with nature. You also will find the Discovery Cart, filled with constantly changing artifacts to spark curiosity in young minds. The Weisbrod Learning Pavilion provides an outdoor space for school field trips and drop-in programs for visitors.

Hillside Pollinator Garden

Colorful, all-season blooms invite you and pollinators to visit this gently sloping hillside. The swaths of cultivars of native perennials burst each season to take center stage. Stroll along or take a moment on GB’s Overlook to view a pollinator at work.

Art Exhibitions

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden uses art, in a variety of styles, to connect visitors to its message of conservation. This includes rotating exhibitions in the Welcome Center. Opening in November is The Audacity of the Mundane by Charlee Brodsky and Fine Wood-Turned Vessels by JC “Charlie” Brown.

The outdoor exhibit, Carbon Cycle: An Earth Art Exhibit, was designed exclusively for the Garden by renowned artist W. Gary Smith. This art installation shares the story of the Garden’s transformation from a coal mine by symbolizing how carbon resealed from coal is now being captured and converted into minerals that help cultivate plants and bring renewed life. This piece sits on five acres of land as visitors are immersed into the exhibit by walking a serpentine path to its center.

Education Programming

The education programming at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is held year-round and is a mix of formal classes and self-discovery opportunities throughout the gardens and woodlands. 

Adult classes and workshops are held on a wide range of topics for beginner and experienced gardeners as well as wellness classes such as yoga and forest bathing, and photography and art programs. Summer camps and programming throughout the year are held for kids. 

The Garden education team partners with regional school districts to host curriculum-based field trips. Students are exposed to Science Technology Engineering Agriculture/Art and Mathematics (STEAM) in a unique environment that cannot be duplicated in a classroom. 

Conservation 

Central to the story of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the poor condition of the site upon which it is being built. Left in a deplorable state following coal extraction throughout the first half of the 20th Century, the land was unfit for most uses and even dangerous in spots. Further damage was caused by flooding of the mines beneath the surface in 2004, which exposed a severe acid mine drainage problem. 

The land and water are being reclaimed and repaired. Abandoned mine features, invasive species and poor site conditions are being replaced by educational gardens, reconstructed woodlands, and lovely views. The Garden is providing long-term benefits, including carbon capture, superior soil conservation and lasting habitat improvement.

Plan Your Visit

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is located west of Downtown Pittsburgh at 799 Pinkerton Run Road, Oakdale, PA 15071. A visit includes lunch at Canopy Café and shopping for nature inspired home decor at Forage & Finds. Fall/Winter hours are 9 am – 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday. To plan your visit, call 412-444-4464, or learn more at PittsburghBotanicGarden.org/tickets.

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Story and Photograph by Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

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