US (PA): Zoo horticulturist plans retirement after opening new greenhouse

Every gardener wants a state-of-the-art greenhouse, but not everyone is going to need one that’s 18 feet tall.

Frank Pizzi, curator of horticulture and grounds at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, explains what this new building replaces.

“The last greenhouse was a fabricated thing from a kit and a lean-to that we made with our carpenter which lasted 20 years,” he said.

Many of the plants used in Jungle Odyssey or The Islands exhibits are large tropicals and sent annually to the zoo from Florida, Texas and other sources.

“Our goal with this house,” Pizzi says, “was to try and hold some of the more unusual things or that have gotten to a size or height that really made an impact, are expensive to ship and try to use them for a period of years before they outgrow the house.”

Before the addition, his team could only bring little plants inside, as the old greenhouse was half the height of this one.

“They were all designed for animals,” Pizzi says of the structures at the zoo. “Nothing was really geared to store plant materials.”

Read more at Everybody Gardens (Doug Oster)

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