On a recent visit to the Steel City, I visited the renowned Phipps Conservatory. Gifted to the City of Pittsburgh in 1893 by Henry Phipps, the botanical garden is a showcase for stunning orchid and bonsai collections. Born to British immigrants in 1839, Phipps earned a fortune as a partner with childhood friend Andrew Carnegie in the Carnegie Steel Corporation. Phipps was a pioneering philanthropist, believing that those who have achieved great wealth should give back for the public good. In addition to his gift of the Phipps Conservatory for the people of Pittsburgh, he funded the Phipps Institute for the Study, Treatment and Prevention of Tuberculosis at the University of Pennsylvania and The Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the first inpatient facility in the United States for the mentally ill constructed as part of an acute care hospital. If you are an orchid enthusiast as I am (albeit a frustrated orchid grower), you’ll enjoy these photos.
“Globe in hand, Grace slowly approached the big orchid, white and fragile and absolutely gorgeous. She very carefully slid the globe over it, and as she was doing so, she put her face into the center of the open flower, smiling as the breathtaking fragrance washed over her–luscious and nectared, candied apricots, airy notes of strange spice.”
― Jeffrey Stepakoff, The Orchard