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From conservatory to zoo, a full day

August 10, 2014
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We were at the Phipps Conservatory by 8:15 this morning. These gardens and large glass conservatory began in 1893 and have been well maintained and added to over the years. They had beautiful gardens with plants from all over the world, plus vegetables, childrens gardens, train gardens and more. They fed us a lovely breakfast and we were welcomed by their director Jason Wirick, then we were free to explore for a bit.

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A new addition is the center for sustainability, a Leeds platinum certified building, complete with rooftop garden and sustainable landscaping around the building.

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Patrons bought several Chihuly glass pieces from an exhibit that was at the garden, so they are permanent pieces adding to the beauty of the gardens.

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P1020027.JPG We saw some beautiful gardens and interesting plant combinations.

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P1020084.JPG Then it was time to move on to our second stop, Schenley Plaza. It was not a long walk to this 5 acre green space with lovely plantings and benches with small neighborhood restaurants.

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P1020188.JPGWe had a boxed lunch here which we ate out in the park before heading back to the hotel.

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P1020197.JPG In between sessions, Julie and I walked down to an area known as the Strip, with interesting shops and markets which started about 6 blocks from our hotel. They had Italian, Mexican and Chinese grocery stores, meat markets, vegetable markets, bakeries and many restaurants. Several were closed since it was Sunday, and others closed early so we didn’t get to see them all, but it was a very interesting experience. We walked back and freshened up before heading out to the Pittsburgh Zoo.

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P1020211.JPG It was a bit disappointing, since it was after hours and all the animals had gone inside and the aquarium was locked. We saw a black bear, 3 elephants and a wild duck with her two ducklings.

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P1020208.JPG By the time we were hiking the rustic gardens of the zoo, it was pretty warm and many were walked out. There were a few cranky garden writers. I personally walked 7.88 miles today so I am sure others did as well. With nothing to see or do, the whole group ended up at the food pavilion before they were ready for us, but the flowers around this area were lovely.

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P1020224.JPG We ate our dinner and headed back to the hotel. We gathered up all our plants and stuff and loaded Bob’s car when we got back, since he heads out in the morning after the keynote speaker. He will have a full day driving, while we have another full day of seminars and tours ending with the banquet tomorrow night.

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