The Aroma of Spring (While the Snow Descends!)

by | Apr 3, 2018 | 8 comments

As spring is taking its sweet time coming here in Michigan and everywhere for that matter, I thought you might enjoy a walk through Phipps Conservatory today. We are actually under a winter weather advisory as I write this here in mid Michigan. Enjoy the tour!

Two weeks ago, I was presenting programs in Youngstown, Ohio at the Fellows Riverside Gardens (an amazing place, by the way, even in winter!). At that time, I realized I was only 1 hour from Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. Well, that was a no-brainer! I was going. Then, I woke up to this! That much snow fell overnight. I couldn’t believe it.

But, it was only an hour away. So, you know what I did? I cleaned off my truck and hit the highway. There were cars in the ditches, in the median, and yet, the highway was only wet, so I thought, no problem. And there was no problem at all. The white knuckle drive was worth it!!! I arrived safely and here I go!

Imagine me lifting my hands in the air and Ahhhhhhhhh….. It was a MOMENT to say the least.

Even the foyer had an amazing planter! ( I wasn’t surprised.)

The foyer planter

As I entered the conservatory, this large bottle of “flower water” greeted me. The spring show is called Scents of Wonder.

Phipps Eau de fleurs (Flower water)

How about this beautiful atomizer with cinerarias as the perfume.

And then, I walked into the show room…..It smelled like HEAVENĀ  (or what I imagine it will smell like)! Lilacs in bloom, daffodils, snapdragons, cinerarias, and more!

This room smelled like heaven!

Yes, that is a blooming lilac–in March! (that is still a couple of months away where I live and I LOVE lilacs) I was inhaling the aroma so deeply, I may have inhaled a petal or two! Just kidding, but I did go back and smell it many times.

Lilacs in bloom in March -heaven!

Cinerarias, snapdragons, tulips and more

What I really liked is the room that explains in obvious terms that not everything smells good. How cute are those skunks?! And they had fritillarias, which, though beautiful, really do smell skunky. What a great lesson for kids!

Not everything smells like heaven…..

Every plant they used had some sort of scent. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and more!

The desert house was stunning.

This urn is amazing-boxwood, New Guinea impatiens, and English ivy

The fern room had some beautiful plants, like this rabbit’s foot fern, Davallia fejeensis ‘Plumosa’. I love how the fronds are super finely cut.

A large part of one display were these stunning amaryllis.

‘Apricot Bouquet’ Amaryllis

‘Red Pearl’ Amaryllis

The Chihuly pieces are beautiful!

Flowers everywhere I looked!

How about these banana plant flowers?

Banana flowers

Of course, there were simply gorgeous orchids.

Look at the color of this orchid and bomeliad together! Wow!

The hanging baskets were stunning.

Blue poppies

Split corona daffodil ‘Cum Laude’

Love these tulips together

Look at those daffodils with the azaleas

Who doesn’t need a purple bathtub?

Everyone wants a purple bathtub, right?

Plants areĀ persistent and show up in unexpected places.

A brick was missing in the wall and so this fern moved in

Look at this combo! Daffodils, hyacinths, hydrangea, and maidenhair fern

Have you visited your local conservatory lately? They usually have lovely spring shows. If you are still having snow like we are here in Michigan, these displays are just what is needed right now!

What can I say but ‘Wow’!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Cathy Streett

    Thank you for this wonderful breath of spring, it’ll come someday.


      Thanks, Cathy! We know it always does, but a little sooner would be nice!

  2. Beth

    Wow, indeed! I love the renewed interest in scented plants. The more I think about it, that’s mostly what I want to grow. Thanks for the burst of color and imagined scent during our still dreary non-spring! Beth

  3. Jaime Haney

    Wow what a feast for my eyes! Thanks for sharing your trip. I had no idea fritillarias smelled bad!


      I’m not sure the flowers smell THAT bad, but the bulbs sure do! Thanks, Jaime for your comments!


    Wow! Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing!


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