Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Images from the Tropical Dome

The tropical dome at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was simply delightful. I could have stayed there for hours soaking in the warmth and beauty of the many tropical plants and trees. One question arises as to the difference between a greenhouse and a conservatory. The first difference is the layout. Most greenhouses are designed so plants are in pots sitting on specially designed tables whereas a conservatory is set up as an indoor garden oasis complete with water features that may or may not include fish. They often do though as fish are an important part of the ecosystem. Benches and other sitting spots are common in conservatories whereas greenhouses are meant mainly as organized aisles of plants. Both are concerned with the propagation of plants but conservatories specialize in rarer and harder to grow plants. Conservatories became popular during the Victorian era.


Isn't this orchid just gorgeous? Unfortunately I did not write down the name of it and the picture didn't capture the tag. I rely heavily on my camera to capture not only the plant but the tag in this type of situation so must have been distracted to miss the tag.

I checked the Tropical Dome Plant Inventory online to identify this beauty. I think this is Phalaenopsis Jungle Gem X Golden Buddha Red Star a member of the Orchidaceae family if I have identified correctly. If I am wrong I hope someone will correct me. I'll email the conservatory to confirm my identification.

banana treeBanana Tree

Some of my most pleasurable moments have been spent in conservatories and greenhouses. They just have a wonderful peacefulness about them. I can remember sitting quietly in the university conservatory that surprisingly doesn't see a lot of traffic despite being gorgeous. It was one of my favourite hide-outs to spend a bit of free time during the winter months. There was a banana tree in there that just fascinated me so this banana tree brought back some lovely memories. Notice how the bananas grow upside down. One would think the hang downward so even this is quite interesting. I love the huge banana leaves.

What is interesting is a banana tree is not a tree at all but actually the world's largest herb! Most banana trees are hardy to USDA hardiness Zones 9 - 10 but Musa basjoo may survive outside as low as Zone 5 if well mulched. We are in Canadian hardiness Zone 6A so I am looking for this particular variety of banana for my garden. Smaller varieties make good houseplants as well so that is another option.

golden shrimpGolden Shrimp

The Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea) is a small shrub native to Peru that reaches a height of about 3 feet. It grows best in full sun with medium humidity as a houseplant or in the greenhouse. Mist the leave regularly to ensure proper humidity or use a stone humidity tray. The golden shrimp plant can be grown as a landscaping plant in tropical areas. This plant is prone to mealy bugs so always inspect any new plant and isolate it for a couple of weeks before introducing it to your other houseplants. This plant can easily be propagated via cuttings. Year round blooming can be encouraged by removing dead brads and trimming the plant a third way back to encourage new growth.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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