Volunteer Spotlight: Patricia Knell
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.
“I love to work with my hands and make art; I find it very therapeutic,” said volunteer Pat Knell. As a young girl, Pat always enjoyed gardening. Growing up in Pittsburgh, her family would take an annual trip to Phipps on Easter, where she remembers anxiously waiting in line to see the season’s show. “The design of the show is what makes it unique,” said Pat. She comes to Phipps to volunteer weekly and began in 2013 after completing the Master Gardener program. She also completed Phipps’ floral design course series.
Pat volunteers in many ways: she creates props and installation pieces, assists at events, pots plants in the greenhouse and educates visitors through the Discovery program. With a degree in commercial interior design, she has always been interested in the design aspects of Phipps' displays. Over the years, Pat has loved seeing how each show’s design becomes more innovative than the last and how previous elements are able to be re-used to make something new.
The fresh and inspiring environment at Phipps has given Pat the opportunity to create a group of best friends who are just as interested in learning as she is. There are always new classes and new tasks to help with.
Pat lives in Franklin Park with her husband. When she is not at Phipps, she spends time working in her own garden, enjoys traveling and works part-time at a florist shop in McCandless. She also makes Turkish plate art — one of her pieces is permanently installed in the Stove Room.