Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas... true love gave to me...a trip to the Conservatoreeeeee! (Sing it real fast and it works.)

What better way to spend a foggy, damp, cold afternoon than to escape to one of my favorite places, especially in winter. We try to make a few trips throughout the year to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Today was the last day of their Christmas display, "Home For the Holidays," and I really didn't want to let it end without a visit.

We'd had freezing rain in the early morning hours and while it didn't appear to coat things with ice, there was a light layer on the roads. We had to be careful, but it wasn't unsafe if you drove a little slower than normal. Besides, we needed this pleasant diversion after the power outages Christmas week and the dreaded chore of taking down the decorations.

The first thing we saw when we walked into the main room was the old Ford truck and the Poinsettia tree. The "Home For the Holidays" theme was to depict the post-World War II era.

The next thing we noticed was the wonderful fragrance. Without looking, I recognized it and knew when I looked to my right, I would see their magnificent Brugmansia in bloom.

The last time I'd been here, they had just pruned it severely. That was disappointing, because I always love to see it and smell it, but today was proof that the pruning was a good thing. I wish we could grow these outside year round so ours could get this big!

There were several kinds of Poinsettias displayed throughout the Showcase Garden Room. As is the case with any colorful plant, seeing them en masse is stunning, and when it's red, it's even more so.

I also enjoyed the variants of Poinsettia we saw there...

I especially like this golden apricot color. That's Cordyline in the background. They make good use of it throughout this room.

These shaded red ones almost looked spray-painted, but they weren't.

Mini and ruffly

Usually this room and the next (the tropical rain forest) contain many specimens of orchids, but I only saw four today, and two of those weren't in bloom. There was a Dendrobium on its last bloom, but the Phalaenopsis was very nice.

Hausermann's Charm 'Justin'

Before moving on to the next room, we stopped to admire the Clerodendron. It was here that I first saw one and was spurred to purchase one of my own.

Nearby, there was a proliferate vine that I didn't recognize and wasn't labeled. I meant to ask before we left, but I forgot. If any readers know what it is, please let me know!

In the next room - the Tropical Gardens - there is a noticeable rise in temperature and humidity. Coupled with the lush greenness that surrounded us, we could almost imagine that we were far away from the winter that was on the other side of the walls.

Here, there were the usual suspects that we always enjoy when we visit (minus the orchids)

Powder Puff Tree (Calliandra haematocephala)

South African Honeysuckle (Turraea obtusifolia)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Matensis'

This is an 8-foot tall Angel Wing Begonia that appears to be the same as my smaller one, 'Sophia'. It was just as beautiful looking up from below as it was looking at the spotted top side of the leaves.

Fiddlehead of a Lacy Tree Fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi)

Ixora (?)

And then, something new! While I've seen the Amazon Lily plants here before, I'd never seen them in bloom until today. I've had one of my own for more than two years and it has never bloomed. Now I know what to look forward to, if mine ever decides to bless me.

Eucoris grandiflora

The Desert Room is my least favorite of the three rooms at the conservatory and it makes me glad that I don't live in such a climate. I think I would tire of it quickly, although it does have some pretty unique plants.

Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia)

Agave, sprouting a bloom

Before leaving, we passed back through the Showcase Garden. We took with us a few more parting images.


TC said...

In a recent post I wished for a new cultivar of poinsettia - a poinsettia Christmas tree would be so cool for the season. Your pictures from the conservatory are gorgeous (and yes, singing "it real fast" does work).

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I want to go there! But since it's so far away, I think I'll settle for the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus Ohio! Hmm, when should I go? Going to the website right now!

flydragon said...

What a gorgeous tour you took us on!! I especially liked the Clerodendron and the Eucoris. Beautiful!!

Connie said...

Sounds like a great date! Love the old truck, reminds me of my childhood on the farm. It was fun to go along on your tour, as I look out at more snow coming down here...another 6 inches last night. Big sigh.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a fun tour Kylee. It almost made me forget that it was so cold outside. I could almost smell the angel trumpet. Mmmmmmmmm I am glad you took us with you on your tour.

Wayne Stratz said...

great photos. The honeysuckle and fern are my favorites. My classroom is far from this cool, but it is a green place in the winter

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a beautiful, charming tour. There are so many wonderful photographs that I couldn't choose a fovorite.

Kylee Baumle said...

TC ~ I really liked that golden peachy one! And no glitter anywhere! LOL!

MsRobin ~ It's not really that far away. If you're in Columbus, it would be three hours or maybe a little less. But it doesn't compare to Franklin Park. I love love love going there and will undoubtedly make a trip to C-bus sometime this year!

flydragon ~ The Eucoris was really attractive and I got excited when I realized what it was. It wasn't labeled, but I recognized the foliage from my own plant.

Connie ~ Oh, I wish we would get some snow! We are having gray days, drizzly, foggy, and ice on occasion. They say we may get some this week though.

Lisa ~ It's always such a wonderful respite from winter to go there! I know you would have enjoyed being there!

Wayne ~ I can just imagine that your class is all kinds of fun!

Randy ~ Thank you, Randy! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Brenda Pruitt said...

Well, you took phenomenal photos for us to enjoy, just as if we were on the tour right along with you! I loved it after the rainy and dreary day we've had here today.

Rose said...

I love the Christmas display; glad you were able to see it before it ended, Kylee. I had no idea there was a botanical conservatory in Fort Wayne. This looks like a great way to spend a winter's day.

Dana S. Whitney said...

Fort Wayne is way off the beaten path for me... but if I get close, I'll remember the Botanical Garden. Thanks for the tour. I hope you find out what the vine is... Lovely heart shaped leaves. Haven't ever seen one with those little spots.

Lona said...

Wow, what a gorgeous display they have. I love the Winter Rose Poinsettia and the fact that there were no blue sprayed or glittered ones in the mix.:)

Wayne Stratz said...

if fun involves pulling cacti spines out of ones hand... lots of fun today!

love that honeysuckle photo!!!

Kylee Baumle said...

Rose ~ It's not a large conservatory, but large enough to make for a nice way to spend an hour or two!

Knitting Painter Woman ~ I haven't had anyone give any suggestions for what that vine might be. I really hope to find out. I could always go back and ask! And yes, if you happen to be in the Ft. Wayne area, it's well worth the cost of admission, which just went up from $4 to $5, but free for members of the AHS! They have a wonderful little gift shop, too. AHS members get 10% off purchases there.

Hocking Hills Gardener ~ As I was taking photos of the poinsettias, one of the first things I noted (with a smile) was no glitter!

Wayne ~ Hey, I know how fun that can be!

Kylee Baumle said...

Brenda ~ Somehow I missed your comment. I just found it today when I went to my Blogger dashboard and saw that there were a couple of unmoderated comments. Sometimes Blogger fails to e-mail me about one and I hate when that happens.

I wish you could have gone on the tour with us, for real. Our weather has been dreary here, too, and while the conservatory isn't large, it's big enough to provide a wonderful respite from the gloomy outdoors!

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