GWA14 Garden Writers Blog

Outreach Blog of the Garden Writers 2014 Pittsburgh Symposium

Do you know these GWA members? They were both scoping shots in one of the
gardens on the last day of the Garden Writers conference in Pittsburgh in

Through what must once have been a service door, alongside industrial-sized pipes, and on to a rooftop garden; attendees of the 2014 GWA Symposium visited this unlikely garden at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Giraffes at the Pittsburgh Zoo had gone inside for the night by the time
2014 GWA Symposium attendees reached the Giraffe habitat. Sharp eyes or a
zoom lens could pick out a nest of ducklings across the pond that buffered
the habitat from spectators.

Attendees of the 2014 GWA Symposium in Pittsburgh had the zoo to themselves
after it closed. By then the critters had gone home for the evening, but
when it comes to garden writers, plants are the story. The zoo features
habitats that, where possible, resemble the biomes of the animals on
exhibit. And. garden writers got to see some of the zoo’s inhabitants.

“I had an interior landscaping business and did writing on the side. The writing was fun, it was interesting, and it paid enough to make it worthwhile.”

Ken Brown is very savvy about growing tropical plants indoors in a cold climate. As a consultant, he offers expertise in growing both ornamental and food plants. He speaks about gardening, and he writes gardening tips and insights for his website, Ken is a regional director for GWA region VII.

“There was a greenhouse in the center of my high school’s courtyard. I wanted to take the course they taught there. I got in as a junior, loved it, and took the second installment as a senior. I’ve learned from a lot of people at the GWA Symposium but it saddens me there aren’t more Millenials and GenXers here. Everyone I talk to is working social media and building followings; so far I’m not doing much on social media.”

Jill Bondi is the marketing manager for Natural Garden Natives in St Charles, Illinois.

See the crowd under that tent? OK, maybe not so much. But many attendees of the #GWA14 Symposium in Pittsburgh were under that tent minutes before taking the field to perform a dance number. A few folks wandered along to University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning and ascended to an observation floor with spectacular views of the city. The tour stop in
Shenley Plaza provided time to relax, dance in the grass, visit with friends, eat lunch, and hand out seed packets to passers by.

Overlooking Shenley Plaza, University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning conceals many gems. At the entrance level, a Hogworts-style room serves as an open study area. On upper floors, there are classrooms themed after traditional schools of other nations. GWA members who took a pause from the garden tour explored this inspiring monument to knowledge.

At Shenley Plaza, across the street from the University of Pittsburgh and in the shadow of the Cathedral of Learning, hundreds of garden writers danced on the lawn.

The breakfast line at the Phipps Conservatory assembled in the shadow of a corpse flower named Romero. The plant drew little attention as it had shed the familiar flower parts and looked pretty much like a tree.

Here’s Romero:

Header image by Filipe Fortes

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