Spring Fling

After one of the snowiest, most blustery winters in years, these happenings around the city will help you thaw out and get back into the swing of enjoying the outdoors once again.



Flowers bloom in the spring.

Photos courtesy of Paul g. Weigman

Mucking about in the mud is no longer just for kids. For adults with the same inclination to get down and dirty with Mother Earth this spring, Phipps Garden Center of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the place to go. Here are a few happenings to tickle your green thumb’s fancy. (Phipps Garden Center, Mellon Park, Shadyside. Registration required: 412/441-4442, phipps.conservatory.org)

PERENNIAL GARDENING

Come spring, many people buy petunias or impatiens for their gardens, flower boxes and crocks. For variety, they change the flowers’ color. But there are more ways to introduce variety in the garden year-in and year-out than just with color, and those ways begin with the proper techniques. Instructor Linda Roos not only will show how to prepare the soil, pick a plant and fertilize, she’ll also explain “the right plant for the right place,” she says—what will grow in your shady or sun-seared yard.

Roos, a master gardener at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, favors geraniums, coneflowers, day lilies and Zagreb coreoposis for a change in the garden. Coneflowers, which bloom from late June through August, need six hours of sun daily and can grow from 18 to 40 inches high.

Pink, white, lavender, magenta, purple or blue geraniums bloom from late spring through June. They favor full sun and part shade and grow 8 to 36 inches high. What’s best? They are easy to grow. (Thurs., April 12 & 19, 7-9 p.m. $60; members, $40)

BEYOND BLACK-EYED SUSANS

Instructor Carol Papas, another master gardener who operated her own garden design business for 10 years, will introduce perennials that are less-known than Black-Eyed Susans, such as Astrantia major, which bursts into long-blooming pale pink flowers and “wonderful foliage” in midsummer. Varieties range in color from pink to plum.

“Geranium Rozanne,” which, depending on the type, can make a mound 2 to 3 feet wide and almost 2 feet high, “is the longest blooming perennial in my garden,” Papas says. Blue with a white center, “it blooms heavily in early summer. After shearing, it repeats with an amazing show in September and October.” She also recommends Actaea simplex or “Hillside Black Beauty,” which has burgundy foliage. “In early fall it sends up 3- to 4-foot wands of fragrant white bottle-brush flowers,” Papas says.

Geraniums are generally available, but for the Actaea and Astrantia, Papas recommends LMS Greenhouse & Nursery, Sestili Nursery, Michael Brothers Nursery, Quality Gardens or Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm and Garden Center.

If you like flowers that last longer than bananas on the kitchen counter, then this course is for you. (Thurs., April 15, 7-9 p.m. $30; members, $20)

ARRANGING WITH SILK FLOWERS

Ingredients for this course multiply quicker than crabgrass in your backyard. Silk flowers, real and imaginary, abound as do fruits, berries and foliage. Instructor Georgene Albrecht will show you how to pick and construct silk-flower arrangements, and each week you’ll take home a new arrangement. Your “garden” tools will include wire cutters, scissors and a glue gun.

On the other hand, if you don’t dig gardening but do appreciate beautiful blossoms and blooms, try this course. (Thursdays, April 1-22. $90; members, $60, plus $5 weekly material fee)

WILDFLOWER WALK

It’s a long but easy walk, says instructor Walter Jarosh. You’ll see native wildflowers, such as Sessile trillium, larkspur, Mayapple, bloodroot, trout lilies, hepatica, liverwort, Dutchman’s britches and squirrel corn. How can you resist? (Boyce Mayview Park, Upper St. Clair. Sun., April 25, 1-3 p.m. $30; members, $20)


BRANCH OUT WITH THESE TREE-FRIENDLY EVENTS


Arbor Day is not a holiday when you hug your favorite tree. Its roots reach back to the Nebraska Territory: On April 10, 1872, Arbor Day started with Nebraskans planting a million trees—not just because they liked trees, but because they wanted to prevent soil erosion while providing fuel, building materials and shade.

In 2010, Pennsylvania officially celebrates Arbor Day on April 30, but you can celebrate the spirit of the holiday throughout the month by taking part in these Arbor Day-related initiatives.

Every day is Arbor Day for at least one local man—Phil Gruszka, director of parks management for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Throughout the spring and fall, the conservancy works with city park crews to plant large trees and with volunteers to plant smaller trees. What’s more, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is planting 20,000 trees in the Pittsburgh area, Gruszka says. “When we are not planting trees, we are either pruning during the winter or watering during the summer,” he says. (2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300, Oakland. Info: 412/682-7275, pittsburghparks.org)

At Chatham University, where 32 of the campus’ 39 acres are an arboretum, the student chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects conducts its annual Garden Market Place sale, says Lisa K. Kunst Vavro, director of the landscape architecture/landscape-studies programs. (Athletic and Fitness Center, 5701-5799 West Woodland Road, Shadyside. Sat., April 24, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Info: chatham.edu)

Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest (FPUF), which seeks to “protect and restore” Pittsburgh forests, celebrates Arbor Day at eight city elementary schools, the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park and Carnegie Library Sheraden. “We plant a tree with students and host tree-themed activities on site,” says Caitliin Lenahan, FPUF’s education and outreach coordinator. FPUF will also donate tree-related books to the school libraries and plant a tree at Carnegie Library Sheraden. (Info: 412/362-6360, pittsburghforest.org/arborday)

If they keep this up, we’ll be back in Penn’s Woods. Knock on wood.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.
Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

The fifth annual Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference brings writers from across the country together to improve their craft.
Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Nothing beats listening to Mike Lange describe a Penguins' goal.
Break It Down: Byham Theater

Break It Down: Byham Theater

When you walk into the Sixth Street entryway of the Byham Theater, Downtown, you will see patches of green and black tile on the walls: These are originals from the early 20th century, says John Mumper, facilities manager at the Byham. The grand theater has plenty of history to go with its 100-plus years; let’s break it down.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Remembering Henry Hillman

Remembering Henry Hillman

Reflecting on the impact of the businessman, civic visionary and philanthropist.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station, the excellent Bloomfield eatery, now offers lunch service. The Big Y Group opens a French bistro in the space previously occupied by Sonoma Grille.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

A win will send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals for a second year in a row and re-write team history.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

Reviews of "Alien: Covenant" and "Everything, Everything," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

Pennsylvania native Jaclyn Jordan brings her newest collection to the Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique in Carrick.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments