a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A little fairy tale house

The new Storybook House in the Bookworm Glen at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. (Photo courtesy of the garden)
OAKDALE, Pa. - A new miniature house on fieldstone at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is rather cute.

It will house oversized laminated fairy tale books in the Oakdale, Pa., park's Bookworm Glen.

The garden in development completed the building in time for 500 children due to visit in late July and early August to hear retired schoolteachers read such stories, said Kitty Vagley, its executive director.

"I could not resist sharing this photo of our latest addition to the Eastern European Woodlands," Vagley said.

Pittsburgh is lucky to finally have its first open-air public gardent.

In 1998 it signed a 99-year lease with Allegheny County for this property along Pinkerton Road near Settler’s Cabin Park to transform 460 acres into the nation’s first public garden on an abandoned mine site. A year later, the group invested $200,000 in the plan and would eventually earn a $5 million state grant to redevelop the site.

It's home to a rare meadow where hundreds of dogwood trees grow, and no one is quite sure how they got there.

Not only have these trees survived coal mining and natural gas drilling, but they also warded off a fungus that has killed many of their like in Southwestern Pennsylvania, said Jerry Andres, a volunteer who cares from them.

“Our dogwoods seem to be perfectly healthy,” Vagley told the Observer-Reporter this summer. “That is what Mother Nature did for us. What was not unusual 30, 40 years ago is very rare today.”

The garden is open at this time only for special events and periodic “peek and preview tours” led by guides along the Woodland Garden trails. For more information, call 412-444-4464.

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