3 Terrific Places to Enjoy Flowers and Burn Calories

Turn outdoor jaunts into tours of early-summer flowers in the city’s parks.


photo courtesy pittsburgh parks conservancy

 

Welcome to a season of beautiful blooms around Pittsburgh. Take time this month to turn outdoor jaunts into tours of early-summer flowers in the city’s parks. We talked with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy horticulturist Angela Yuele to learn about a few of her favorite flower beds around town. As you take your bloom tours, keep an eye out for Yuele or her fellow gardener, Jaci Bruschi, working among the flowers. The two call themselves the “Sassy Gardeners,” and they love answering questions.

»Highland Park. You don’t have to go far to see some of Yuele’s favorite June flowers — they are right at the entry of the park, at the intersection of North Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive. Look for yarrow, peonies and salvias, among other flowers. The Entry Garden is a perennial garden, so you’ll see these flowers each year, blooming from the end of March until November.  To do: Walk through the 18 different flower beds, and finish with a .76-mile loop around the reservoir.

»Riverview Park. Park in the Observatory parking lot or on Riverview Avenue. If you’ve got your pooch with you, enjoy the off-leash dog area, and take a stroll to the nearby Chapel Shelter. Enjoy the perennial yarrow and salvia bloom in that garden, as well as a mix of annual flowers. Loop around the shelter to find two big flower beds full of zinnias, celosia and marigolds.   To do: Keep following the 2-mile loop through Riverview Park to find the Visitors Center, which contains marigolds, zinnias, celosia and begonia. Walk around the building to find a tucked-away herb garden.

»Schenley Plaza. Right off the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Schenley Drive, look for garden beds that are meant to inspire you to plant flowers at home. The Schenley Plaza gardens are part of a program called All-America Selections, which features annual plants that have been tested for home gardeners.   To do: Stroll up Flagstaff Hill and loop back to the Visitors Center.

»Volunteer. Another way to enjoy the flowers is to get your hands dirty by volunteering with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Head to pittsburghparks.org/horticulturevolunteers to sign up. You also can join for Weeding Wednesday sessions at the Highland Park Entry Garden. Sessions are scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on June 3 and 17. You’ll be trained and provided with gloves and tools.


 

What to eat this month: blueberries

Grab a handful of fresh blueberries while they’re in season (through August), and know you’re getting a dose of antioxidants, says Theresa Hunt, a registered dietitian nutritionist. Blueberries also are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and manganese. Eating them raw will provide more nutritional benefit than eating them in baked goods (yes, even blueberry muffins), and Hunt recommends going organic. She likes eating them sprinkled over salads, in smoothies or on top of yogurt. “My favorite thing to eat for breakfast is plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh or frozen blueberries and chopped walnuts. It’s like blueberry pie in a bowl,” Hunt says.

 

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