Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Breath of Spring at the Conservatory

It's been tradition for the last few years to make at least one trip to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in the middle of winter. We need this to preserve our sanity, because it's this time of year that we are bored with winter and needing spring in the worst way. The conservatory conjures up our memories of warmer weather with its colorful blooms and lush green plant life.

Last year, Mom and I went in February to see "the stinky plant" and play miniature golf (yes - in the conservatory!), but this year Kara and Adam joined us, as did Jenna, and we spent over an hour drinking in the colors and scents. Some of the blooming plants are changed out every few months or so, and featured today were Florist's cyclamen, Eyeball plants, Gerbera daisies, and various primulas.

There are three main rooms to the conservatory:

  • The Showcase Garden, featuring seasonal displays among the permanent plants.
  • The Tropical Gardens, which is home to palms, many tropical plants, and a waterfall.
  • The Desert Room, with many species of cacti and other desert plants.

Outdoors there are gardens with displays of trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses as well as perennials. Too cold to tour those today, though.

And without further adieu, the conservatory as seen through my camera today . . .

Florist's Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
Foxtail Ferns (Asparagus densiflorus)

Cordyline, Croton (Codiaeum variegatum),
and Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii)

Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Camellia bud

Eyeball Plant (Spilanthes oleracea)

Primulas and Juncus

Ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea) and ? Convallaria ?

I can't remember the name of these.


Snowbush (Breynia disticha)

African Daisy (Osteospermum)

Sanchezia speciosia

Primulas and Foxtail Ferns

South African Honeysuckle (Turraea obtusifolia)

Tropical Gardens View


Red Powderpuff (Calliandra haematocephala)

Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)

Detail of Calathea louisae
This is how this was labeled, but I'm not sure it's correct.

Desert Room View

Soap Tree Yucca (Yucca elata)

Desert Barberry or Red Barberry (Berberis haematocarpa)

Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia)

Unknown cactus

And now for the orchids. Ohhhhhh, the orchids......

After we finished browsing the conservatory, of course we had to spend some time in their wonderful gift shop, The Tulip Tree. I fought with myself to keep from taking home a variegated Abutilon and a small Snowbush, and was able to resist. This time. But with their excellent low prices on their plants and knowing they will be at The Ft. Wayne Home and Garden Show in a few weeks, I'm not counting it as a win yet.

I did buy a stuffed house wren that makes chirping sounds. There were several species of singing birds, but this one sounded very realistic and like the house wrens we have all the time around here, so I got it for our kitties' enjoyment. When we got home and I started it chirping, Jilly came running right to it from upstairs. It got Baby's attention, but Simon didn't even look its way. It's interesting that the two indoor cats weren't as intrigued as Jilly, who is one of the outside cats.

And now, what you really want to know is - did I get a new orchid?


Dave said...

Wow! At a place like that I'd probably fill up the camera card! Very nice pictures!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun this is. It makes me want to visit a Botanical Garden. Just the smells would be wonderful. All that eye candy. Sweet.

Muum said...

nice pics! I esp love the hibiscus. Thanks for visiting my blog and adding me to faves on Blotanical- I am having trouble w/ my home computer so will be on less, have to go to the library to get on the internet for a bit. (after shovelling, of course!)

Unknown said...

What a marvelous place! The perfect cure for the irritations of winter, that's for sure. I'd love to visit for real, but in the meantime, i've 'visited' with you.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Oh no... thanks to this blog entry I have come down with another case of Hawaii fever (the tropical hibiscus is what did it). ;)

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Kerri said...

Ahhh...I'm just taking in all the glorious sights and feeling so much better after enduring the damp and cold of this dreary day. Thanks for all these gorgeous photos. I'm pretty sure the reddish plant is Iresine.
The Primulas and Foxtail ferns pic is such a beauty. Love the angle! And oh, that color!
The orchids leave me speechless. So did you (buy a new one)?

Anonymous said...

the plant you don't remember is Iresine.

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