My Tropical Fix at Como

I love to visit the Como Conservatory, especially in winter. Walking from the car, several inches of glistening snow has fallen on the rolling hills of Como Park. I see the glass monolith in the distance; it’s windows steamed up. As I open the door to this enormous greenhouse, I enter a lush, green jungle that’s humid and inviting. Seeing all of the exotic ferns and variety of tropical plants transports me to a better frame of mind. The orange and white koi swim toward the surface of the black water as if to say hello, with their gaping mouths opening and closing.

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The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory was first opened to the public in 1915. I was surprised to find out that it is open every day of the year. There are several gardens and galleries. Some of my favorites are:

  • the Bonsai gallery, where there are about eight bonsai trees. Most of them have been, as they say, “in training” since 2001.
  • the Fern Room which features a wide array of tree ferns, Bird’s-nest fern, Adiantum, and several others.
  • the North Garden, which houses useful plants such as aloe, bamboo, bananas, cacao, coffee, figs, macadamia, mahogany, manila hemp, manioc and papaya, and
  • the Tropical Encounters Exhibit, featuring animals and plants from Central and South America. The river fish were especially intriguing since they are so much a part of the local culture.

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