The Urban Gardens

There’s a lot of concrete and steel in this city, but take a closer look: There are pockets of green all around.

Photograph courtesy of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

You’re taking a walk along the narrow streets of the North Side. The row houses are brightly painted; kids whiz by on dwarfish bicycles; and then you see it—a garden, lodged between two brick buildings. The bulbous sunflowers and tall wheatgrass burst from behind a stone wall. A weathered, wooden gate is closed but unlocked. You half-expect a white rabbit with a clock. What is this place?

Thanks to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, these “Community Gardens” are seeded throughout 140 neighborhoods, replacing torn-down houses and unused lots. The gardens are cultivated by 5,300 volunteers, who raise every kind of plant and flower. During the day, gardens are routinely open to the public. The Conservancy seeks volunteers for planting—and this month is when the sowing starts. Not sure where to stick your green thumb? Choose from more than 140 Community Gardens. (Info: 412/586-2324,

Categories: Things To Do