Paul g. Wiegman
Paul g. Wiegman

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
January 14March 5
Various times

Already daydreaming about hopping on a plane to the nearest tropical island—or burying your head under a pillow until March 20th?

Starting on January 14th, head to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to escape the winter blues and be transported to a tropical showcase of nature’s finest specimens.

Pairing two of nature’s most spectacular and unique botanical wonders—orchid flowers and bonsai trees—the stunning show invites you to take a breathtaking stroll amidst vibrant tropical horticulture and décor.

Be dazzled by intricate orchids displayed in all of their gorgeous glory throughout Phipps’ scenic glasshouse. Unlike any other flowers, orchids are renowned for their diversity, with more than 25,000 species in existence around the globe. Diverse and widespread—with blooms that are bursting with colorful and often fragrant—orchids are one of the largest families of flowering plants in existence.

Feel refreshed and renewed as you bask in the beauty, color and delicacy of hundreds of these beloved flowers, including exotic selections from the Barbara Tisherman Slipper Orchid collection. Curated in collaboration with the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, the collection is one of the world’s definitive resources for slipper orchids.

Next, admire meticulously trained tropical bonsai trees, and learn about the age-old art form, featured in Phipps’ renowned permanent collection. Classified by size and style based on the shapes of their trunks, roots and branches, bonsai take many forms—from iconic formal upright structures to more dramatically slanted bonsai that resemble windswept trees.

A striking contrast to the orchids, Phipps’ displays of tropical bonsai—which are dwarfed trees trained to take on the shapes of their larger counterparts in nature—will immerse visitors in a whimsical, textured and fantastical nature environment.

While there, meander through the gardens, talk with Phipps horticulturists to learn about their meticulous work caring for orchids and bonsai, and enjoy a relaxing and healthy meal at Café Phipps.

Want to learn more about orchids and bonsai? Register for one of Phipps’ special public programs, which are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and are included with admission. Discover wild and weird facts about plants, receive expert advice on training bonsai, learn how to build your own orchid collection and more.

Located in Phipps’ Palm Court, Serpentine Room, Sunken Garden, Orchid Room and Welcome Center, The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show runs from January 14th through March 5th.

Looking for more events? Check out our Top 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in JanuaryTop 9 family events in Pittsburgh this January and our 17 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in 2017 feature stories.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...