Winter in Bloom: A Touch of Summer at Indoor Gardens
By Molly Schelper
When you think about January in Minnesota, what comes to mind is not typically colorful flowers and lush greenery. However, thanks to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and Cowles Conservatory, springtime is just a drive away.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
The Sunken Garden at the Como Park conservatory in St. Paul showcases freesia, oriental lilies, paperwhite narcissus, cyclamen, primula, and the rarely seen in Minnesota camellia plant and veltheimia. You'll find even more plantings in the rest of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, including one of the oldest groups of surviving plants in the Fern Room, ones that directly affect human life in the North Garden, more than 150 tropical palm and cycad species in the Palm Dome, and an assortment of orchid species in the Orchid House. If you want a taste of both the zoo and conservatory, stroll through Tropical Encounters, where you can spot animals, trees, and plants native to Central and South American rainforests.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
At the Arboretum, located just 30 minutes southwest of Minneapolis in Chanhassen, more than 1,000 acres of gardens, model landscapes, and natural areas (woodlands, wetlands, prairies) that are especially popular spring through fall. A winter highlight is the small conservatory at the Arboretum, which features permanent bromeliad, orchid and cactus collections, as well as ferns and other tropical and sub-tropical plants.
Located at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and created and maintained by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, the conservatory features both permanent and seasonal displays of native, tropical, and exotic plants. In addition to the orchids, palms, stephanotis vines, creeping fig, and other species you'll find here, you can also see Frank Gehry's (the famed architect behind the Weisman Art Museum) 22-foot Standing Glass Fish sculpture.