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 Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.
Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine has a backstage view of “Toruk: The First Flight,” which runs this week at Consol Energy Center.
Mellon Square Restoration Wins Docomomo US Design of Excellence Award

Mellon Square Restoration Wins Docomomo US Design of Excellence Award

The Pittsburgh Park Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh, in partnership with Heritage Landscapes, are recognized with the distinguished national design award for their restoration of Mellon Square, Downtown.
Ice-Cream Alert: Graeter's Scoop Shop to Open in Wexford

Ice-Cream Alert: Graeter's Scoop Shop to Open in Wexford

The 145-year-old Cincinnati-based ice-cream business will open its first Pennsylvania scoop-shop in July.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

The restaurant and bar in Oakland welcomes college students and locals alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be more poised to establish a dynasty in 2016 than they were in 2009.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Vintage signs can add a pop of personality to your decor.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

Honoring tradition at weddings is important for many couples, whether that means including heirlooms and unique customs or hosting a full-blown second ceremony.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

House15143 is Sewickley debuts “House Calls,” a mobile Airstream designed to bring the shopping experience to you (or an event near you).

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments