Nature

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.

Hornets’ Nest

Anyone looking at the back of my house would see it — the lamp just outside my back door stuffed with hornet accretions, the nest shaped like a rugby ball but twice the size.

Garden Warfare

Having a vegetable garden sounds like a gentle, relaxing and easy hobby. Dig a few holes in the dirt, put a few plants in, water, and before you know it — bushels and bushels of pest-​free, perfectly ripened vegetables in the summer.

Seeing Autumn Through a Spider’s Web

“I had never paid much attention to spiders until a few years ago. Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else — the world is really loaded with them. I do not find them repulsive or revolting, any more than I find anything in nature repulsive or revolting, and…

Golden Eagle: High, Wild and Here

Imagine the view from a thousand feet up. Snow-​mantled ridges cloaked in barren forest, angling southwestward as far as an eagle can see. On the northwest horizon stands a crisp urban skyline above the glint from three rivers. That’s the view golden eagles survey as they soar along the Laurel…

Finding the Waterfalls of the Middle Allegheny

When the last Wisconsin glacial age reshaped North America more than 10,000 years ago, it excavated the Great Lakes and carved out the Middle Allegheny River Gorge southward from the current-​day Allegheny Reservoir in Warren County down to Emlenton in southern Venango County. There, far above the river, the steep…

Exploring the Cherry Run Game Lands

Traveling east from our Pittsburgh plateau area to the central Appalachian Mountains in the middle of the state makes us aware of the vast and diverse lands of Penn’s Woods. Hikers and nature lovers can experience the unique characteristics of central Pennsylvania’s rugged mountain terrain by exploring the Cherry Run…

Building the Buzz

On a brisk October morning, Dr. Bill Bookwalter dons a billowy, white beekeeping suit complete with veil and hikes up a hill behind his Fox Chapel home to harvest honey. Most days, you’ll find him in surgical scrubs, but during his downtime, Bookwalter, a neurosurgeon, practices apiculture: he maintains colonies…

A Modest Proposal

Mother Nature has a sense of humor and the soul of Monet. The change in the yard was startling. In just a week it went from being a crabgrass plantation to a breathtaking carpet of fluffy, soft-​white clover, a pastel hand-​delivered from the French master himself. But lawns are supposed…

A Walk in the Woods

Cook Forest State Park, home to magnificent old-​growth forest, is a prime destination for anyone interested in scenic beauty, natural history and a variety of recreational opportunities.

A Belted Kingfisher

“From the porch at dusk I watched a kingfisher wild in flight he could only have made for joy…” —Wendell Barry (from his poem “Before Dark”)

A Waterway Renewed

A beautiful place to enjoy nature this spring is approximately two hours north of Pittsburgh along the banks of the Bennett Branch in Elk County. The Dr. Colson E. Blakeslee Memorial Recreation Area includes 24 acres of forested land, located off State Route 555 in Benezette Township, and provides direct…

Ode to an Ash

“When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder lions hunker down in tall grasses and even elephants lumber after safety…” —Maya Angelou

Old-​Growth Majesty

One of the most spectacular places to visit in western Pennsylvania is an old-​growth forest in the Hearts Content National Scenic Area within the Allegheny National Forest. A timber company gave the property to the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1920s, and today this area is home to one…

Erie Bluffs State Park

One of the most distinctive places to explore in Pennsylvania is Erie Bluffs State Park. Located west of the City of Erie, the park sits along more than a mile of lakefront near Lake City, west of the mouth of Elk Creek and north of PA Route 5.
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