The North Terrace

Seasonal herbs and vegetables

In the summer, these boxes are overflowing with organically-grown heirloom vegetables and herbs.
  • The Butterfly Express

    The migration of the monarch butterfly is one of the miracles of nature. Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada to spend the winter in Central Mexico. In March, they begin their return journey north.

    Over the last decade, the monarch population has declined as a result of urban sprawl and herbicide-resistant crops, which have caused habitat loss. To help the monarchs on their journey, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center has established a Monarch Waystation.

    Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. The larvae only eat from the milkweed plant on which they were born. At the end of the larval stage the caterpillar will leave the milkweed plant and search out a good location to spin a pad of silk from the specialized spinneret. The caterpillar will hang like a J shape getting ready for the final molt. Slowly the outer cuticle hardens to form a pupa inside the chrysalis (cocoon) for 8-15 days where the body is transformed into the butterfly. Monarchs typically emerge from the chrysalis in the early morning and dry their wings for several hours before they are ready to fly. The adult butterflies sip on nectar from a variety of flowers.

    Summer butterflies live up to 2 months but the last generation, instead of breeding, migrate to the high mountains west of Mexico City where they cluster together on the branches of the oyamel fir tree for the winter. The migrating generation may live up to 9 months, until spring, when the migration starts again.

    Monarch populations are currently in deep decline due to a number of factors, including poor weather conditions like cold and drought, loss of habitat, climate change, and pesticide poisoning.

    If you would like to help the monarchs, start by planting milkweed, providing native plants for foraging and shelter, removing invasive species and replacing them with native plants, and avoid use of pesticides. Our monarch habitat plants include:

    • Swamp Milkweed, Common Milkweed & Asclepias Syriaca (Asclepias Incarnata)
    • Greenheaded Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)
    • Goldenrod (Solidago Flexicaulis)
    • Bonset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum)
    • Ninebark (Physocarpus Opulifolius)
    • Blazing Star (Liatris Spicata)
    • Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis Tripteris)
    • Wild Onion (Allium Cernuum)
    • New England Aster (Symphyotrichum Novae-angliae)
    • Ironweed (Vernonia Noveboracensis)
    • Helen’s Flower (Helenium Autumnale)
  • Natural Healing

    Plants produce chemical compounds to use for many purposes: some defend a plant part against pests, while others attract pollinators to their flowers or tempt disseminators of their seeds with sweet and nutritious rewards. Some plant compounds can often be used to our advantage and can even have medicinal actions which heal our ailments.

    Before Europeans arrived in North America, Native American healers had a long history of using indigenous, native plants for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Medicinal plants and their applications were as diverse as the tribes who used them. Herbal treatments are used to treat specific ailments, native mosses and cacti are well known to stop bleeding and heal wounds, and teas made from the bark of native trees and certain leaves have traditionally been used for colds and fever.

    Today, many people are rediscovering the importance of native plants to medicine. Our Western Pennsylvania medicinal native plants include:

    • Rose-mallow (Hibiscus Moscheutos) — leaves and roots for lung and urinary ailments
    • Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma) — tea from leaf for colds, stomachaches, nose bleeds
    • Evening Primrose (Onenothera Biennis) — seed oil for eczema, migraines, PMS
    • N.E. Aster (Symphyotrichum Novae-angliae) — tea made from root to reduce fever
    • Wild Senna (Senna Herbacarpa) — tea as laxative, fever reducer
    • Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium Augustifolium) — tea to relieve stomachaches
    • Prickly Pear (Opuntia Humifusa) — peeled pads applied to wounds
    • Partridgeberry (Mitchella Repens) — berry prevents urinary tract infections
  • A Culinary Delight!

    Native edibles are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Depending on the type of native plant, the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds can be consumed by being eaten fresh, made into beverages, jams, sugar, flour, flavoring and other tasty treats. When eating wild edibles, it is important to be 100% sure of its identification to ensure your safety. Growing your own edibles can be fun and educational. Our edible native plants include:

    • Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) — berries
    • Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum Virginianum) — leaves and flower buds for tea and seasoning, attracts many pollinating insects
    • Strawberry (Fragaria Virginiana) — berries
    • Prickly Pear (Opuntia Humifusa) — ripe fruit can be eaten raw or prepared into jelly, pads (leaves) can be used to thicken soup
  • An Active Ecosystem

    Pollinators are a keystone species for the survival of a large number of other species. The vitality and health of pollinator populations provide a glimpse of a strong ecosystem.

    Pollinators require two essential components in their habitat: a nesting community and flowers providing food from which to gather nectar and pollen. Native plants provide the best source of food for pollinators because the plants and pollinators have coevolved with one another.

    In many urban landscapes, pollinators have struggled to find the appropriate species of plants. By providing patches of native flowers which bloom at different times of the year, the environment for pollinators can be improved.

    The perfect pollinator garden would provide native plants for foraging, reproduction and shelter. Our pollinator native plants include:

    • Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin)
    • Smaller Forget-me-not (Myosotis Laxa)
    • Helen’s flower (Helenium Autumnale)
    • White Beardtongue (Penstemon Digitalis)
    • Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum)
    • Common Milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata)
    • Blazing Star (Liatris Spicata)
    • Tall Tickseed (Coreopsis Tripteris)
    • N.Y. Ironweed (Vernonia Noveboracensis)
    • Purple stemmed Aster (Symphotrichum puniceum)
    • Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)
  • Colorful Nectar-filled Flowers

    Birds help to pollinate plants, disperse their seeds, and eat harmful insects. Plants have evolved colorful, nectar-filled flowers and luscious, nutrient-packed fruits and seeds to nourish birds who assist in the plant's survival. The plants' limbs and leaves also offer nesting and shelter for birds to thrive.

    Using native plants in your backyard landscape will offer the most resources to birds and wildlife. An ideal bird support area has a diverse selection of native plants for food, reproduction and shelter. It is important to incorporate layers of plan succession so blooms are present throughout the season. Our bird support native plants include:

    • Red-berried Elder (Sambucus Pubens)
    • Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum Aceriflolium)
    • Shrub Dogwood (Cornus sp.)
    • Green-headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia Laciniata)
    • Tall Tickseed (Coreopsis Tripteris)
    • Perennial Sunflower (Helianthus sp.)
    • Bottlebrush Grass (Elymus Hystrix)
    • Blue Lobelia (Lobelia Siphilitica)
    • Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma)
    • Coral-bells (Heuchera Americana)
    • White Beardtongue (Penstemon Digitalis)
    • Partridgeberry (Mitchella Repens)
  • The Chef's Pride

    The season's best starts here on the North Terrace with freshly-grown rooftop produce. Produce grown close to its end use is tastier and more nutritious. Shipping causes fruits and vegetables to degrade their nutrient value. So fresh is best!

    Levy Convention Centers cares for 27 boxes on the 4th floor terrace overlooking the Allegheny River and North Shore. Chef Tom plants a wide variety of tomatoes, strawberries, chives, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, lavender, and much much more.

    To complete any garden, herbs are needed to enrich our rooftop vegetables and meats. The herbs grown on the roof produce 80% of all herbs used here at the DLCC.

    When at the DLCC, make plans to visit our rooftop garden.

Monarch Habitat Plants

Monarch Waystation #6071 is located on the DLCC's North Terrace. Monarch Waystations are monitored by the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program as a way to create habitats with key sources of food for Monarchs.

Named after the stops used by steam engines and the Pony Express in the 19th century, waystations are gardens planted with milkweeds and nectar-providing plants for the butterflies.

Edible Plants

Planting edible native plants is a great way to experience the natural world and connect with our daily nourishment.

Wild edibles were vital to settlers, but even today we still enjoy many well known native plants including blueberries and strawberries.

Medicinal Plants

Countless generations of humans have relied upon nature to heal, finding useful medicine in their local forests and fields.

Many of our pharmaceuticals were at least derived from a chemical compound found in a plant. In recent years, a renaissance of interest in herbal medicine has boosted a growing medicinal plant industry.

Pollinator Plants

About 75% of all flowering plants rely on insect pollinators. These insects transfer pollen between plants in order to make seeds for new plants.

Creating a pollinator garden helps bees, butterflies and other insects such as beetles, ants, and flies to pollinate these in a concentrated area.

Bird Supports

Birds have adapted to utilize native plants that provide food, cover, nesting sites or a combination of resources.

Native plants provide food at different times of the year to birds in the form of seeds, fruit, nectar, or attract insects that use those plants. The growth habits of native plants present safe nesting sites and cover that protect birds from inclement weather and predators.

From Plant to Plate

Levy Convention Centers is the DLCC's exclusive food service provider who plants and maintains over 1,300 sq. ft. of garden boxes on the North Terrace.

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