Urban Gardening In Pittsburgh And The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Pittsburgh is leading the way into the “green” and sustainable lifestyle for a big city.  An ambitious project, that has been 20 years in the making, is the transformation of a former mining site, mostly in North Fayette Township, into a community garden.  Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is a work in progress.  The finished project will be 450 acres of public garden.  Yes, you read that correctly 450 acres!  It is hoped the Botanic Garden will attract a minimum of 300,000 visitors per year.  This Botanic Garden has another ten years to go before completion and will end up costing $30 million.  Phase One, which is expected to open in 2012, will be the Wildflower and Woodland Trail.  The Botanic Garden will be 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

The leftover coal extracted from the site is being sold to help pay for the $7.9 million clean up.  Grants have been received from various organizations to help pay for projects over the years.

One of the fundraising methods being used for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the annual Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Town & Country Open Garden Day Tour.  The tour, which is in its 14th year, raises much needed money for the Botanic Garden project.  The tour features 14 gardens.  Six of the 14 gardens are located in Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood.  The Southside is an urban neighborhood of densely packed homes with small lots.  Not exactly an area most people would think of as a garden paradise.

In addition to the Southside, the tour also visits Sewickley, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights and Ben Avon.  You can take a bus tour or the less expensive self-guided tour.  There are two rooftop gardens on the tour this year!  The gardens are a mixture of urban, suburban, large, small, formal and informal – a little something for everyone.

The tour is Sunday, June 26th from 9 – 5.  The bus leaves at 8:30 a.m.  The bus tour, which includes lunch (Andora’s), is $110.  The self-guided tour is $50.  There is a $10 discount for members.  The deadline to buy tickets is Tuesday, June 21st.  Tickets can be purchased online or at several locations listed on the website.

The bus departure and drop-off point is the PSI Building, 850 Poplar St., Green Tree.

For more details visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden website: http://www.pittsburghbotanicgarden.org/events/garden-sale/

Or call (412) 444-4464

Watch a video about the reclamation process at the Botanic Garden site!