In Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA, we are fortunate to have many gardening and environmental resources and groups. I am sure that this list is not exhaustive or complete, but all of these organizations are incredibly awesome and worth knowing about. Some of these selections might be obvious for people from Pittsburgh, but I can’t imagine ignoring any of these entities. I’m only listing non-profits, and not individual farms, nurseries, or stores. Those will be listed in future posts, but for right now I’d like to just focus on the informative and helpful places people can go for information, support, and resources.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – Phipps as a resource goes way beyond just spending an awesome afternoon there. Phipps offers classes (members receive discounts), plant sales, a market day, and much more. The Center for Sustainable Living is also at Phipps, a great example of the impact green building technology can have on the environment. Phipps is also home to an excellent cafe and gift shop.
Grow Pittsburgh (and Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery)- Grow Pittsburgh helps and supports local schools, community gardens, urban farmers, and gardeners. They actually supply compost and tools to local gardeners and provide many informative programs.
TreePittsburgh – Tree Pittsburgh works with volunteers to increase and care for Pittsburgh’s urban canopy. TreeVitalize is their counterpart in the surrounding suburban communities. Both organizations provide volunteer opportunities for tree planting, as well as educational opportunities such as becoming a certified tree tender or taking a tree identification walks. Tree Pittsburgh also has annual tree giveaways and sales, so keep an eye on their website, or sign up for their email newsletter.
Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation – Housed at the Hunt library on CMU campus, they have an impressive collection of botanical manuscripts, many hand drawn, and some of the first rendered images of plant cells under a microscope. A great resource for the plant researcher.
Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden – Curious about the plants in the Bible? Then visit the largest biblical botanical garden in North America at the beautiful Rodef Shalom congregation. Although this is right in the middle of Oakland, you’ll be transported to the banks of the river Jordan and elsewhere in the holy land.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden – A picturesque outdoor garden with shady trails connecting different features. An excellent water garden, a tiny house filled with books for kids, and many more surprises await visitors to Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Paths directly through the woods, also includes accessible trails.
Round Hill Park and Exhibit Farm – An Allegheny County Park, a great time to visit is in the spring when there are baby animals. Horses, cows, sheep, and much more. The park also has a vegetable garden, walking trials, a spray park, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Kids love seeing the animals, and it is nice to get the feel of the farm while still in Allegheny county.
These are some of the resources that I’m aware of. I know that our region is host to many more individuals and organizations. Please let me know if missed anything and I’ll get it added to the list.