Pennsylvania Gardens and Arboretums

Pennsylvania Gardens and Arboretums

http://visitpa.com/articles/gardens-and-arboretums-pennsylvania

One of my hobbies is gardening.  Some days, all I need to make me feel better is to put my hands in dirt and plant something.  I love to watch what I plant grow and bloom as time moves along.  Flowers and plants just have a way of brightening up a day.  An enjoyable way to spend a day would be taking a walk through some of PA’s best gardens and arboretums.  The link above will give you a list to gardens and arboretums near you in PA.

Here are some of the ones closest to where I live.

Laurel Highlands

  • Laurel Hill State Park

This park is beautiful and peaceful.  I was here a few years ago.  We camped out (RV Style-More Glamping than Camping). It was such a wonderful time!  Thankfully, I was with an experienced camper, since I am not, haha.  It was such an enjoyable weekend!  Now, I’m in the mood for a campfire, some hobo pies, wine (yes, a glass of wine) and s’mores!!!  I’d love to go back!  The park was clean and well kept.

  • Ohiopyle State Park

Although this was not listed on the webpage, this park hits close to home.  I recently drove up here since this park is very close to where I live.  I had the windows down, and the drive to Ohiopyle was just absolutely gorgeous!  There are bike trails, restaurants and pubs, white water rafting, and so much more.  There are natural water slides.  Cucumber Falls is a must see! I recommend getting some ice cream or eating at Firefly Grill or Falls City Pub!  If you are spending some time up there, a few other attractions to visit would be Kentuck Knob, Fallingwater, and Nemacolin Woodlands.  An intimate, beautiful, peaceful cafe that I suggest would be Bittersweet Cafe. It’s so important to take in the beauty so close around us! If you live in the Pittsburgh area, take a day or weekend and take a ride south, and explore the Laurel Highlands!

Pittsburgh and its Countryside

  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Inc.

I love Phipps! It is beautiful to visit in any season.  They have everything imaginable.  Butterflies, palms, orchids, herbs, children’s discovery garden, bonsai, a Japanese garden, and more!  They offer classes and have events throughout year.  One of my favorite times to visit is during the Christmas season.

  • Botanic Garden of Western PA

I have not been here yet.  It is also known as the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.  This is on my bucket list!  I really hope to explore it before summer ends.  It looks like there are a variety of trails to walk on. It is only 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.  There are adult workshops, geocaching challenges, and events.

  • Chatham Arboretum

There are many varieties of tree species. It is said to be a wonderful place to relax and meditate.  The arboretum provides an outdoor classroom for students.  The grounds are perfect for a stroll.

The Alleghenies

  • Arboretum at Penn State

While this may be a bit of a drive from Pittsburgh, I had to put it on the list.  I’m adding this to my bucket list as well!  I’ve never toured the Arboretum at Penn State, but I am a PSU grad, so anything in State College, holds a special place in my heart!  The last time I was up there visiting my cousins and celebrating my cousin, Caleigh’s 21st birthday, I noticed the arboretum.  The weekend flew by and I didn’t have time to stop by.  I love how their mission strives to achieve beauty and renewal.  A venue for art, enrichment, and discovery.  It is said they have gardens and groves, sculptures and special attractions, as well as a children’s garden.  Another bonus is that there is no admission fee and free parking!

I am looking forward to visiting some of these local gardens and arboretums this summer.  Have you been to any of these? What are some of your favorite garden and arboretums to visit?

 

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National Pollinator Week

National Pollinator Week

If I’m not working, reading, or writing, then you can most likely find me outside. I’ll be pruning and dead heading plants or flowers, pulling weeds or tilling soil, planting new plants and flowers, or feeding and watering the ones that I have.

How have I never heard of National Pollinator Week? It is an International celebration! As I researched to learn more, I found out that it started in 2006 by the US State Senate to bring awareness and recognition of how important pollinators are to our world and how valuable they are to our ecosystem. This year it was celebrated June 19-25, 2017.

You may be thinking to yourself, “What are pollinators?” Birds, butterflies, beetles, bats, and bees are all pollinators. These pollinators sustain our ecosystems, help plants reproduce, and help with our food supply. Did you know that our landscapes could collapse if it wasn’t for these pollinators? They are very important for us and our environment. The website pollinator.org has tons of information and promotes “National Pollinator Week.”

We need pollinators and pollinators need us! Many pollinator populations are declining due to loss of nesting habitats and feeding. We can help pollinators by providing them with proper plants. Planting and placing plants in home gardens, schools, farms, and near highways will help supply pollinators. Other ways to help them would be to buy locally, shop at farmer’s markets, spread the word and create awareness.

There are Eco-regional planting guides available online and there is even an app for your phone to help you determine and decide what plants will attract pollinators.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about the importance of native and heirloom plants. It is a good idea to incorporate these types of plants into your gardens. Bees have been, and still are on a decline, and now I’m beginning to hear that monarch butterflies are on a decline as well. Monarchs love milkweed. This plant in your yard will provide monarch butterflies with food.

If you are asking yourself how to create an environment for pollinators, you can plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the seasons of spring through fall. Also, limit the use of pesticides. Make sure to provide shelter and water for pollinators. Just as we need water, water is important for wildlife and nature as well.

It can be quite enjoyable watching pollinators connect with nature. You can watch them by going for a walk, or just sitting outside and paying attention to your surroundings. Look at the plants, flowers, animals, and pollinators around you. Take it all in, and in no time at all, you will be connecting yourself back to nature as well!

The website pollinator.org suggests some great ways to create awareness to others by providing ways to show the importance of pollinators. Some of their suggestions were using a symbol or pictures of pollinators next to the foods that they pollinate. Another idea was hosting a cooking class or creating a menu that showcases the food we eat to bring awareness to people as they sample and taste foods that we enjoy. Pollinators are important in that they help produce what we need to be able to have foods, spices, beverages, and even some medicines. This makes the situation more realistic knowing that if pollinators keep declining, we will have less of these foods, spices, and medicines in our daily lives.

It is important to bring awareness not only one week out of the year, but throughout the year. We need to educate not only adults, but children as well, because they are our future!

What are some of your ideas to bring awareness to others about the decline and importance of pollinators to others? How do you celebrate National Pollinator Week?