Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Visions of Sugar Plum Fairies and Pointsettias

Poinsettias and Pointe Shoes

by Good News Reporter
Joanne Quinn-Smith

Poinsettias & Pointe Shoes Friday, November 30, 2012  was designed by the Pittsburgh Ballet and Phipps Conservatory to both delight and warm the hearts of visitors.  Both organizations outdid themselves.  There was  stuff for the whole family.  A preview of the ballet left no doubt that attendees would continue their tradition of attending the Nutcracker. Also the combination of the ballet show and being able to wonder the rooms of the Botanical Gardens-----------------show just made perfect sense.  The magic of a traditional ballet and the 1893 glasshouse enveloped visitors in a Christmas wonderland.

The sentinel at the entry of the show was a Victorian hearth and the sampling of the Nutcracker included the Sugarplum Pas de Deux from the PBT’s annual performance of Terrence S. Orr’s The Nutcracker.  This classic by Tchaikovsky has become a holiday tradition around the world since its premier in Russia in 1892, coincidentally one year before Henry Phipps opened his conservatory in Pittsburgh. 

Strolling through the  
Winter Flower Show & Winter Light Garden  With seasonal blooms, twinkling lights, aromatic greens and other adornments, really made one feel like you were “coming home for the holidays.” In addition to the annual winter delights a brand new outdoor Winter Light Garden exhibit will shine nightly with scores of whimsical LED light forms.

With more days gone by nostalgia, there is a Garden Railroad in the South Conservatory.  An elaborate model train display chugs through miniature living landscapes sprinkled with groundcover, sedums and other low-growing plants. This year, Phipps takes us back on a trip in time to 1893 to celebrate the debut of Phipps Conservatory and its connection with the World’s Fair.

Of course viewing the Winter Flower Show at night - a time when glowing candles light the walkways and live music filed the air, made the  experience even more magical.  There are more than 30 varieties of poinsettias along with paper whites and amaryllis — even though awe inspiring they aren’t the only features that shout Christmas.

The theme of this year’s show, “Come Home for the Holidays,” plays out in warm, homey touches that Phipps officials hope will give visitors that fuzzy, sentimental feeling of the holidays. A large Victorian dollhouse, handmade by Phipps volunteers, stands in the Welcome Center. A Victorian-style hearth, complete with a faux-flickering fire, greets visitors in the Palm Court. In the nearby Serpentine Room, doors salvaged from Construction Junction stand along the windy path, with wreaths hanging on the doors.  This is a smorgasbord of visual treats and something for everyone including the old fashioned market where children can play at shopping and period trees decorated for the 1893 era. 
What a novel idea to put the romance of the Nutcracker to a backdrop of the visual romance of Phipps 1893 Glasshouse.  It is a little girl’s dream and a big girl’s fantasy.  As the carol says:  “for kids from 1 to 92,”  Phipps wishes a Merry Christmas to you.  Moms and dads you will revel in the delight on children’s faces as they wonder through flowers and Christmas trees and Santa Claus displays.  Significant others, well just take a look at the cozy couple in the foyer in our final picture.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Peruse ours and you will get the idea that you should “Come home to Phipps for the holidays on your way to The Nutcracker by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. This just could be the most perfect romantic or family evening out.  Visions of Sugar Plum Fairies and Victorian Christmases will dance in your head for many seasons to come.
The Winter Garden exhibit will be open until 10 p.m. daily from Nov. 23-Jan.6. Learn More  
Nutcracker will play at the Benedum from December 7 thru 30th

Radio Host and Serial Blogger, Joanne Quinn-Smith is the host of PositivelyPittsburghLive™ Internet Talkcast and TechnoGrannyShow™  On her shows, Joanne has interviewed over 1800 guests.  As an advocate for small Business, she was awarded the National Small Business Administration Journalist of the Year Award.  She is also the publisher of which is a 2010 National Stevie Award finalist for best Media Website or Blog. PPL Mag features the GOOD NEWS, about Pittsburgh  and is  Pittsburgh’s First internet radio and TV network. PPL Mag attracted 2.25 million visitors last year.  Her radio network has accumulated over one million listeners. The Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, Joanne also teaches her online media platform building to small businesses in a client personalized, “Web2.0 Gorilla Branding Training™”.  Connect with Joanne at:

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