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 that 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.


Bren said...

I am loving your garden tour site. THank you for sharing these wonderful photos with us. You will have to stop by my little garden someday in the summer!
Warm Wishes from my garden on the web - something is always in bloom there!

cindee said...

I loved all the tours of gardens! I am going to add your link to my blog so other people can take the tours too(-: What a great thing to do! Thanks!