Tag Archives: tropical


Just back from San Francisco where I went for a week with a camera that was out of battery. So, this post has only one sad cell phone picture of Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers:

Like most conservatories, this one has a main rotunda flanked by greenhouses. I’ve been to quite a few conservatories- trying to visit them in most places I travel- and this one ranks right up there in external visual appeal. Nicely maintained and an impressive site when you’re looking up at it from the street. The plant collections are, of course, beautiful, but for me they don’t take top prize. It certainly has beautifully presented specimens that I don’t often see, but overall it feels small (and it’s not free).

Garlfield Park Conservatory is still one of the best and I’m not just saying that because I live 10 minutes away. It’s a large collection and a vibrant community attraction. This isn’t the only conservatory in Chicago but it’s the largest. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is the sister site that’s also worth a visit. Garfield Park sustained major damage during an unprecedented hail storm this year, so despite both conservatories having free admission, donations are strongly encouraged.

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit will always be one of my favorites, and in this case I am biased! I used to live in Detroit and frequented this place. It’s old and its glass needs new white-washing, but you can feel the love when you step in. I love a conservatory that has dark mossy crevices and the mystique of possibly having a nearly extinct and forgotten species hiding under the canopy. Whitcomb has a water feature and nice annual orchid exhibit. (free)

I’m looking forward to visiting the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) in Milwaukee this winter. They are a stunning site when seen from the highway at night. The neon may be a bit gimmicky but if it gets people in the doors to learn about plants, why not. (admission charge)

Also on my list are Biosphere 2, Climatron, Haupt, Muttart (will I ever visit Edmonton?), and of course the ubiquitous conservatories of England. Oh, and every other conservatory I come across.

Rooftop Update: Still hauling in plenty of tomatoes from the roof, but this season is all but over. I’ve cleaned up the majority of the EarthBoxes and am now looking ahead at winter hobbies. Pretty soon our farmer’s tans will disappear and our fingers will once again crave dirt. I’d love to hear what you do during the winter months. Please leave a comment below!