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Phipps May Market Returns This Weekend to Pittsburgh

Get seedlings, trees, garden accessories and more at the 83rd annual gathering of gardeners, farmers and horticulturalists.

Paul g. Wiegman


If you are a Pittsburgh-area gardener, it’s likely that several months ago you marked the annual Phipps May Market on your calendar. I know I did. With several exclamation points. We might already have lettuce sprouting and flowers blooming in our budding beds but the new garden season doesn’t really kick off until we gather on the gentle hills of Phipps Conservatory’s Schenley Park campus to reconnect with fellow gardeners and growers.

Even if you’re not an avid gardener, there’s something for you at the May Market. Plus, you’ll likely walk away with the urge to get your thumbs a little green. “It’s starting the growing season off. It’s a great time to open our summer show [Van Gogh in Bloom]. It’s Mother’s Day. It’s a great family weekend to participate in outdoor fun,” Allyson Koteski, director of guest services, says.

And it’s been that way for a very long time — the Phipps May Market started in 1936. There were 17 vendors, and, according to Koteski, “pony rides and bingo.” It’s continued apace ever since.


photo courtesy phipps conservatory 

This year, the free event features more than 70 vendors. While there won’t be pony rides or bingo, there will be a lot of fun activities.

Some of my favorite regional growers, such as Grow Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh, City Grows and Who Cooks For You Farm, will be on hand to sell seedlings, natives, succulents, perennials and other plants. Botanically-focused artisans such as Apothecary Muse and Una Biologicals will be there, as will artists such as strawberryluna and businesses that produce and sell gardening accessories. Novice (and more advanced) gardeners can seek advice from the many horticulturalists and master gardeners in attendance.

The May Market is Friday, May 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you haven’t yet been to one, I encourage you to make this your first of what likely will become annual visits; even if you start small with a tomato plant or culinary herb, you’ll be happy you did.
One Schenley Park, Oakland; 412/622-6914, phipps.conservatory.org

Also this weekend: Garden Dreams Urban Farm in Wilkinsburg typically can be found at the May Market and also opens for seedlings sales throughout the early part of the growing season. This year, however, in preparation for a significant expansion of its 2020 growing season, it’s only open for one weekend — this one. The nursery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 9 - 12.

806 Holland Avenue, Wilkinsburg; 412/501-3276, mygardendreams.com

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