Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Anne Alvin
Phipps is well-known for our beautiful gardens, seasonal flower shows, pioneering sustainability initiatives, informative educational programs and community outreach. None of our work, however, would be possible without the knowledge and dedication of our volunteers. In this series of profiles, we meet some of the people who give their time to make Phipps possible.
A native Pittsburgher, Mary Anne Alvin has always been surrounded by beautiful gardens. She can vividly describe the flowers in her mom’s and grandmother’s gardens who passed not only their love for color in perfectly manicured landscapes, but also cuttings of the now third-generation flowering quince and peonies down to Mary Anne.
Her gardens are filled with complementary colors in flowers and shrubs, along with stones of various textures and sizes that line winding pathways through a lush green, grass-carpeted yard that is surrounded by a white scalloped picket fence. Her backyard oasis lends itself to solitude from adjoining neighbors, but not from the deer and rabbits that also seem to enjoy her yard for privacy and of course, food. Therefore, over the years, shrubs and evergreens are now planted where many of those beautiful blooms once were.
Mary Anne has incorporated many seasonal plants and designs into her landscape from ideas presented in Phipps certificate and Master Gardener programs which she completed in 2005. She enjoys strolling through Phipps Conservatory capturing more ideas for her garden designs, and on cold, snowy winter days, she can always count of rediscovering nature by spending time helping in Phipps’ production greenhouses.
Mary Anne knew she wanted to “be a part of Phipps among the beautiful plants and people” and she has certainly become an important part of many experiences here at Phipps! She has served as a docent since 2006 where she is thrilled to tour or casually start a conversation anywhere in the Conservatory with visitors on Friday afternoons through early evenings, finding answers to their many questions, and most importantly making each visitor smile. Mary Anne is eager to make your visit to Phipps that much more special!