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Tropical Plants Display at Phipps During Cold Months

One way to take the chill off a January in Pittsburgh is to think tropical--as in a tropical plant exhibit.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is gearing up to open its Orchid and Bonsai Show Saturday.

Georgia Wahl, orchid manager at Phipps, said the display is appealing in the wintertime because orchids come in "endless" colors, shades, and hues.

"A lot of people don't have the tropical bonsai," Wahl said.  "We have a fairly large collection that doesn't get exhibited very often so it's nice to have this show where we can bring them all out for people to see."

Wahl said bonsai means "little tree."  Phipps is offering classes throughout the year on how to shape bonsai.   The Japanese practice is believed to bring a sense of peace and well-being.

"There are different ways of doing it," Wahl said.  "Some people do it with a heavy wire that could shape the tree...but some people only do it through pruning."

Wahl suggested that visitors look for the plants that they would like to bring into their home while visiting the exhibit, but warns not to base the decision on looks.  She said it is important to know how to maintain and grow the plant as well.

The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai show continues until February 24th from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays.