Pittsburgh Quarterly Readers’ Top Garden Photos
We asked our readers and the Pittsburgh community to submit photos of their gorgeous gardens and unique backyards. The results are in! Below is a selection of our favorites.
Fox Chapel Golf Club’s Tennis Bed
The Tennis Bed at the Fox Chapel Golf Club borders the front lawn and tennis courts, providing an explosion of color near the front entrance. The garden consists largely of annuals and is often the setting for many club functions. Giant arborvitaes provide the backdrop for the garden, which is bookended by a massive Limelight Hydrangea [foreground] and fountain grass [far end]. Between are carefully layered flowers with, in the front row, purple and white alyssum, Creeping Verbena, and various Lantana. Farther back are Blue Salvia, Profusion Zinnia and Purple Gomphrena. The tallest row includes Vertigo Purple Fountain Grass and Red Canna Lillies. These set off the middle and most prominent row containing Verbena bonariensis, both Serendipity and Standard Cleome, Cactus Zinnias and Sarah Reed’s spectacular Heirloom Booboo Zinnias.
“I’ve always liked to be outside and to plant things,” says Jack Engel, 11, of Fox Chapel. “I used to just plant in my mom’s flower beds. Things like pumpkins and squash were great to watch grow and take over. A few summers ago, I went to Farm Camp. That’s when I started asking for a real space for a garden of my own. I like to figure out a good planting strategy for companion plants and soil. Bush beans, zucchini, beets, radishes, carrots and tomatoes are great to grow. I also grow eggplant and strawberries. Along with these, I plant flowers and herbs to help these plants grow. Nasturtiums and marigolds, coffee grounds and eggshells all help the plants and the soil in my garden, and keep away any animals, birds, slugs and snails.”
Rose Romboski’s Garden
“I love this particular shot of my backyard; it reminds me of the garden giving the house a big hug. This photo showcases a prominent feature in our landscape… the 5′ tall stone/bolder wall that runs the better part of the length of the backyard. Above the wall is an expansive perennial bed which includes a wide variety of spring through fall blooming flowers, trees and shrubs. At the far right side of the wall, there is a 25′ pondless waterfall that cascades down the slope as if it just sprung up out of the landscape. It’s a joy to hear the sound of the water and fun to see the many birds it attracts.”
Rick Sorek’s Summer Sanctuary
The Sorek Summer Sanctuary—which originated over a cup of matcha tea from the very spot this photo was taken—is a special gathering space for friends and Bradford Woods neighbors. The deck in the back is cantilevered over the edge of the garden, looking into three acres of woods. The plantings are combinations of evergreen. A large Alaskan Cedar is in the left corner. Deciduous plants and perennials are organized into three pyramid shapes on either side of the walkway down the middle.
Stevens Family Garden
“Our 25’x40′ veggie garden is enclosed by my grandfather’s old fence, flanked by a new ‘she-shed’ built by the Amish.”
Trudy Holler’s Garden
“My garden space was originally a cement driveway and dilapidated old garage, which can now easily seat 17 people. Belgium blocks were used to make flower beds on either side of the driveway.”
The Baptist Homes’ Courtyard Garden
Nestled within the four buildings that comprise much of Baptist Homes is a beautiful garden that provides comfort and beauty year-round. The Baptist Homes courtyard garden, cared for by staff, volunteers and residents, has registered as a monarch butterfly waystation. The striking colors and large foliage provide areas that allow for privacy for families and offer an interesting stroll to those who walk the courtyard paths.
Pedro and Christine Maiz’s Pizza Oven Backyard
“Don’t judge a garden by its flowers. We constructed this Neapolitan-style pizza oven by hand from 100% recycled materials. Some of our happiest afternoons are spent with family, friends and even a few strangers, enjoying homemade pizza pies in what is, for us, a truly spectacular backyard.”
Rosslyn Farms Community Garden
After two years of construction noise and dirt, Rosslyn Farms residents asked PENNDOT to repurpose a meadow adjacent to the Parkway West exit. After a few meetings, It was decided that the residents could use the meadow for a community garden. After securing donations, and necessities like a 3,000 gallon water buffalo, construction began with a handful of volunteers. The garden was sectioned into 18 individual plots and rented to families annually. The garden was “sold out” almost immediately, including a plot donated to Carlynton High School for research to be included in the school curriculum. Residents are harvesting their crops, and donating the excess to local food banks and Meals on Wheels kitchens.
Thank you to all who participated. Be sure to keep an eye out for our next photo contest—details coming soon!