PITTSBURGH: In celebration of the first day of fall, a number of the Pittsburgh region’s hidden and not-so-hidden horticultural gems have come together to launch the Pittsburgh Garden Trail (PGT), a collection of gardens that highlights the beauty and ecological diversity of western Pennsylvania.

Founding and participating organizations include: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, The Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Carrie Furnaces (A Rivers of Steel site), Chatham University Arboretum, and Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden. Additional support for the Pittsburgh Garden Trail has been provided by South Side-based landscape architects Terra Design Studios.

“Each of us came together to create the Pittsburgh Garden Trail in order to help visitors and residents experience the beauty of our area through a unique collection of gardens offering engaging experiences and unique settings where people can connect with and enjoy nature in the heart of our urban surroundings,” said Keith Kaiser, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and Chair of the Pittsburgh Garden Trail.

Visitors can find information, maps, directions and frequently asked questions about the Pittsburgh Garden Trail at www.pittsburghgardentrail.com. Be sure to follow @PGHGardenTrail on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news and updates.

There is no official starting point for visiting the sites along the trail, and visitors are encouraged to create their own experiences at their leisure. A special event and guided tour of the sites along the trail is in development for the spring 2018 season. For fall and winter, many sites offer a number of seasonal events, including:

The Frick Pittsburgh
Elise Adibi: Respiration Paintings
Now through October 22, 2017
Free and open to the public
A series of paintings installed to surround the viewer and coexist with the plants, Respiration Paintings explores the interconnection and intimate relationship between art, nature and people.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
SUPER. NATURAL. Glass Art by Jason Gamrath
Now through November 5, 2017
9:30 AM to 11:00 PM except for select days, available on their website
The exhibit currently features tropical summer plants combined with stunning glass art, but on October 14, the exhibit will transform to a colorful cornucopia of chrysanthemums for the fall finale. Visitors at night will also see the theatrical lighting which highlights the beautiful, cohesive glass and plant artwork.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Saturday, October 21; Sunday, October 22; Saturday, October 28; and Sunday, October 29
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Trick-or-Treat throughout the Zoo at this daytime family favorite event. Enjoy two not-so-spooky haunted houses, a costume competition, and more! ZooBoo activities are included with general admission. Go green this Halloween and bring your reusable tote.

Chatham University
Arboretum Tour
Friday, October 27, 2017
Begins at 9:30 AM
Tour Chatham University’s arboretum campus during their Alumni weekend this fall.

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Family Gathering Day
Sunday, October 1, 2017
1:00 am to 5:00 pm
Enjoy an autumn afternoon at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Take a journey back in time as you tour our restored 1780s log house. Enjoy seasonal activities and live music, or explore our autumn gardens on a serene walk.

About the Pittsburgh Garden Trail
The Pittsburgh Garden Trail is a collection of gardens in the Pittsburgh area where visitors and residents can engage with nature in peaceful and beautiful settings. The Garden Trail offers outdoor and indoor settings which host a variety of events year-round for garden lovers to enjoy. Some sites require tickets, and all admission details are on their websites along with any ticket specials. Pittsburgh Garden Trail sites currently include:

Carrie Furnaces, a Rivers of Steel Site

·      35 sprawling acres in Swissvale, PA
·      Rare remnant of pre-World War II iron-making technology mixed with beautiful grounds and gardens
·      Guided tours offered to interpret the era of Big Steel and its aftermath

Chatham University Arboretum

·      Original Mellon estate designed by the Olmsted Brothers
·      39-acre campus founded in 1869
·      Features 115 varieties of species

The Frick Pittsburgh

·      Estate of the late-19th-century Henry Clay Frick
·      Six acres of gardens and lawns including 50 different tree species
·      Home to a Gilded Age mansion, conservatory/greenhouse, café, and museums containing art, antique cars, and carriages

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

·      World-class displays and educational programs featuring sustainable practices inspire a deeper understanding and appreciation of nature to nearly half a million visitors annually
·      Historical glasshouse includes seasonal flower shows, commissioned special exhibits, acclaimed orchid and bonsai collections, outdoor botanical gardens and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes – one of the greenest buildings on Earth

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

·      60 acres of previously mined, logged, and farmed land transformed into a flourishing garden
·      Three miles of trails highlight the Lotus Pond, the Margaret Lawrence Simon Dogwood Meadow, and the Heritage Homestead

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

·      9,000 animals between the zoo and aquarium
·      Striking environment representative of natural habitats all over the world

Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden

·      One of very few biblical gardens in North America
·      Focused on beauty, education, meditation, and spiritual sustenance
·      Home to over 100 biblical plants
·      Conveniently located on Fifth Avenue in Oakland

More information at www.pittsburghgardentrail.com.