A visit to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, St. Paul

What started as a fun visit to one of my favorite spots in St. Paul, has turned into a post I’d like to dedicate to a friend who just died.  I had posted one of my orchid photos on facebook and there was a message from a mutual friend letting me know that our dear Lish lost her battle with cervical cancer.  On her facebook page was another friend reminding his female friends to get tested, indeed it is so important.  So, this will also serve as a reminder to all women out there: please get tested for cervical cancer.

I try to go to the conservatory at least once during winter and most especially when it is so frigid outside as it is today.  When we woke up it was only 2 degrees!  It’s a wonderful taste of the tropics that helps we in the frozen tundra survive the winter.  Indeed, as we entered the building our glasses fogged up.  Perfect time to clean them eh?  Following are some of my best shots.  I hope you’ll all enjoy.

From the frigid outside:

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Next, a gallery of some beautiful orchids:

In the north garden are a variety of tropical plants as well as helpful signs that teach the visitor a thing or two.

We were told by a volunteer that there was a cacao pod in the tree but it was too far back for me to photograph, but here’s the sign for that tree:

This huge plant particularly spoke to me as it is called the Traveler’s Tree but I had to photograph it in pieces as it is quite large. Here’s the top:

The bottom:

The accompanying sign:


There are so many interesting plants here, here’s some sugar cane:

A Manila hemp plant with rope made from its leaves:

IMG_0867Spinach anyone?  This is a Malabar spinach.  I didn’t know spinach grew up?  And can you see the black “berries”? Are these seeds?

And here’s one that made me think of Z at Zeebra Designs & Destinations and I wonder if she sees these all the time, the Panama hat plant:

This most gorgeous blossom is on a ginger plant.  I have been to the conservatory many times and I see different plants and flowers each time.  I don’t recall ever seeing this blossom before. Isn’t it beautiful?

And from another angle (it’s so beautiful I had to take several shots):

Here’s another gallery of shots of other beautiful plants and flowers:

In another area of the conservatory, adjacent to the original building (pictured up top) is the fern room:

Another fun sign:

IMG_0914Some gorgeous green ferns:


And hubby’s favorite, a Wooly Tree Fern:

There is so much more here since they expanded it several years ago.  In another section a bit further away from the fern room is the Rain Forest room.  The best way to get there is through the gift shop, for if you take the corridor in front of the gift shop, which is full of windows, you get a bit of a chill on a cold day like today.  In this room we saw many more plants but also birds, ants, fish, a tarantula (ewie!!), snakes and well, I just could not photograph all of them.  But here are two photos of some of the things we saw. A pretty blue and yellow bird who was nice enough to sit still long enough for me to get a good shot of him:

IMG_0900And would you believe a sloth lives in here too?

IMG_0895I also recorded the birds singing in this room, and I wanted to include it so that you could hear what the birds chirping sounded like.  Alas, I am not sure how to do that.  I will look up how to do this and add it later if I can figure it out.  For now, I will leave you with a last photo of the sunken garden.  The display in this room is changed every few months and it’s already time for the spring display even though it’s only January.  They rent this room for special occasions and I know at least one couple that got married here. What a great venue for a wedding don’t you think?

IMG_0885Rest in peace dear Lish.  You made this world a brighter, happier place with your great wit, compassion and sense of humor.  I will remember you always.


Filed under Gardening, Minnesota

18 responses to “A visit to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, St. Paul

  1. I can almost smell that moist warm fragrant air!

  2. What a beautiful place to visit on a cold winter day! Also a wonderful dedication to your dear friend, Lish. May she rest in peace.

  3. What wonderful pictures! You certainly captured the nature of the place. And a great refuge from the frigid weather outside! I remember when we went; it wasn’t as cold outside, but it was still quite chilly. How nice of you to dedicate it to your friend too.

    • I had just found out via a PM on facebook right before I was going to put this post together. It seemed only fitting. Such a beautiful place and she was such a beautiful person. I just can’t believe she’s gone. I hadn’t seen her in about 5 years, and then saw her last summer. didn’t know it would be the last time I would see her :( But, yes, it was sooooooooooo nice in there today!! and fun to take photos too. thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. i was all but crying from the diversity of beautiful tropical plants that you can visit right there. that must be so comforting! thanks for thinking of me, yes, the panama-hats originated from ecuador.. the tagua (vegetable ivory) palm is also very popularand useful.

    the red blooming plant is a ginger, not the one used for cooking, but lovely in the gardens and for cut flowers. when the flowers mature, all of those little flowers make roots and become new plants. your photos show the new plants growing ‘el sitio.’..(?)– the weight pulls the cluster to the ground, and they send down roots and grow…. or one can transplant them.

    cacao- chocolate.. i’m going to try to attach a photo of cacao since you weren’t able to reach it!

    the travellers palm is supposed to contain water in the stalks, so a thirsty traveller can cut it when water is scarce. or so i’ve been told! i think it is in the banana/heliconia family.

    i never knew that the manilla hemp looked like that! it is surely in the heliconia family.

    the lovely bird is a trogon. they’re very handsome and have a unigue flight that helps identify them in the canopy.

    i’ll send this and look for a cacao photo!


    • pues qué interesante que sabes tanto sobre esas plantas y el nombre del pájaro ;)

      thanks for all that great added information!

      (actually hubby got a photo of that cacao pod and offered it to me but I thought these should be my own photos)

      • bien! all of the images are amazing! the orchids were lovely as well! that’s so great that you an visit that, especially when one needs a place of healing.

        lo siento for the loss of your friend. i have a friend fighting a tough battle with throat cancer right now.


      • thanks. I have been in such grief today that all of us forgot about Miss M’s skating practice tonight! ah….actually found out about my friend right after we got home from the conservatory.

        Cancer sucks :(

      • i lost my first close friend last year. long long ago she gave me some beautiful blue and white kitchen towels, and they have always moved with me. now jeffery’s beautiful smile flashes at me every time i walk through the kitchen. it’s a great comfort, and she seems to stay close.

        i hope that you are soon able to remember your friend with a smile, and not how she was at the end of her battle. sending you empathy, z

      • that is sweet about your friend. some of us posted pics of happier times and we were reminiscing together on facebook. so we did some smiling. thank you for your kind comments.

    • btw, thanks for pointing out the ginger plant blossoms. I’ve now corrected my post. I must have been reading the wrong sign. Oops!

  5. What beautiful flowers. I’m glad I don’t live in Minnesota though!

  6. Pingback: My first blogoversary and I’m late! | travels with toby

  7. Pingback: Marjorie McNeely Conservatory – Como Park, St. Paul, MN | travels with toby

  8. Pingback: Winter visit to the conservatory 2015 | travels with toby

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