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Phipps Projects



The Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania has partnered with Phipps since our founding in 1954, when the organizational meeting of the OSWP was held in Phipps potting shed.  One of our founding members was Frank Curto, the director of Phipps, who helped the OSWP in many ways.

In the 1990s, the OSWP teamed with Phipps to revitalize Phipps’ orchid collection, first under the City of Pittsburgh’s ownership, continuing in 1994 when Phipps became an independent non-profit with Richard Piacentini as the Executive Director.


In 2007, with the completion of Phipps new growing or production houses, the OSWP again volunteered to lend helping hands for repotting and other orchid related work.  This was the beginning of Pfun at Phipps, OSWP members volunteering to help repot Phipps orchids several times a month.


In March, 2011, the Phipps-Orchid Society Initiative (P-OSI) was born.  P-OSI’s mission is to develop the Phipps orchid colletion as a whole into a “signature” orchid collection and to develop a notable Slipper Orchid Collection, composed of most slipper species and historically important hybrids . . . a living museum of Slipper Orchids . . . the Barbara Tisherman Slipper Orchid Collection of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Phipps benefits from Pfun and P-OSI with an improved orchid inventory, national attention, financial and orchid plant contributions, knowledgeable orchid volunteers for repotting, cultural insights, and other work, as well as presenting orchid talks in the Conservatory for the public.


  • PFUN at Phipps is the repotting group:  OSWP members contact Nancy Kline at, the Pfun leader, to volunteer to repot at Phipps. See upcoming repotting dates and instructions.

  • P-OSI (Phipps-Orchid Society Initiative) works in teams on reviewing the inventory, making suggestions about accessioning or de-accessioning with reasons, and cultural improvements.

    Also, OSWP members volunteer to help with various orchid cultural chores in the orchid greenhouses under Katie Schuller’s supervision, Katie is the Orchid Manager at Phipps.

    To volunteer for P-OSI please contact:  Demetria Marsh at You can help with a specific P-OSI team or general orchid help in the orchid greenhouses.

  • Barbara Tisherman Slipper Orchid Collection of Phipps Conservatory. In the past several years, through amazing teamwork within the OSWP and with Phipps, we have taken an inventory and updated it (huge efforts), continuously improved orchid culture, helped with accessioning and de-accessioning orchids in the collection improving the quality and importance of the collection, and, established the Barbara Tisherman Slipper Orchid Collection of Phipps Conservatory, a “Living Museum of Slipper Orchids” at Phipps, which has attracted international note.


Pfun and P-OSI gives our members the opportunity to learn more about orchids and laugh together as we make good friends through our work for Phipps.  We try to make Phipps and Pittsburgh someplace even more special.

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