I and my good friend Susan attended the famous Buffalo Garden and Buffalo Open Gardens Walks last weekend. The first stop though was the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. It was amazing! I was in heaven, as I always am when I’m in a conservatory basically surrounded by houseplants.
A little history
Frederick Law Olmsted was hired by the Buffalo Parks Commission in 1868 to design parks for the city and he designed 5 parks including South Park with plans for a conservatory. He had designed Central Park in NY and also was involved with the design of our own Belle Isle Park here in Detroit. Frederick A. Lord and William A. Burnham designed the conservatory based on the design of the Crystal Palace in England and at that time It cost $130,00 which today would be millions of dollars. John F. Cowell was the first Director of the conservatory and his passion for plants led him to collect plants from around the world to fill the gardens and conservatory.
I can’t tell you how much I love visiting conservatories. Someday I would like to visit every single one in the United States and take you along. In the meantime, let’s go through this one and see some of the different rooms and gorgeous plants.
The begonia room
I came in the front door, looked around for a few minutes, saw the begonia room sign, and it was over. I made a beeline directly to that room. Look at those begonias! You can see the scope of it in my selfie picture taken in the mirror at the end of the room. There were not only many beautiful begonias but a huge staghorn fern, a blooming hoya, and other ferns.
The cacti and succulent room
Let’s move on to the cactus and succulent room. I have a few more pictures of this room than the other because I am a member of the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society and am fascinated by all the shapes, sizes, and flowers of this group of plants. Do you grow them in your home?
Epiphytes and more
As I entered this room, my eye was drawn immediately to the curtains of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) with smaller tillandsias nestled into the moss. Wouldn’t this be amazing as a shower curtain in a well-lit bathroom? I would love it!
I always love the orchid room because I do well with the phalaenopsis but the rest are sometimes a mystery to me, so I love seeing all the different flowers.
Most of the individual rooms or houses are numbered. House #9 had many different plants in it, including pileas, ficus, and so many more.
In this house, I also saw this sign. It is great they are using IPM in their greenhouses!
So many flowers
The conservatory was filled with flowers and plants of all types and colors. Visiting conservatories is so exciting because each one is different and you never know what you are going to encounter. The best part is you will see plants that you may never be able to see in the wild as most conservatories have plants from every continent and country. You may have many of the plants as houseplants in your home, but quite a few aren’t fitted to live anywhere but in their native habitat or a conservatory that can mimic those conditions. Many have different rooms, like the Buffalo Erie conservatory, and each one has a little bit different climate to suit specific plants.
If you can believe it, on the garden tour the next day, with over 300 houses to see and 100s if not 1000s of people, Susan and I ran into my friend David Clark who is the Education Director of the Erie and Buffalo County Gardens. He teaches about all things plants and makes it fun. So, if you live in the Buffalo area, stop by the conservatory and gardens and sign up for a class with David. You will love it! While you are there, check out all the amazing plants.
Do you like to visit conservatories? Which one is your favorite? My favorite is the Belle Isle Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory because I live near it and visit often. I will be returning to this beautiful conservatory whenever I have a chance.
Have a great week, plant friends!