Friday, May 20, 2011

Garfield Park Conservatory Part 1: The Fabulous Fern Room

On Saturday May 11, my husband and I visited the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago for the first time in about 6 years. I had forgotten how large and how stunning the place truly is. It was constructed between 1906 and 1908, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fern Room is especially beautiful, and, I think, worthy of a post all its own. Here are just a few of the pictures I took.

The entrance of the Fern Room, which also houses a variety of cycads, fern allies such as Selaginella, mosses, and a few tropical flowering plants, such as Monstera deliciosa, for variety. Edited to add: Since this post was published, I replaced this photo with a larger version, which looks particularly detailed when clicked.

Plaque visible upon exiting the room

A view of the room from another vantage point, showing the indoor lagoon that forms the center of the display.

Asplenium nidus, in a bed of Selaginella

A cycad, Dioon spinulosum

Another Dioon spinulosum, showing new growth spouting from the "trunk"

Ferns and Cycads around a bench, with duct work in the background. Part of the beauty of the conservatory in general is the age of the structure, and the fact that the workings, are for the most part out in the open and unobscured.

Closer view of the area above the bench

Platycerium (Staghorn ferns) with other Ferns and mosses in the foreground

Showing off the epiphytic nature of Platycerium on a Fern "tree." I've seen this done before with Bromeliads and Orchids, but never with Ferns.

Cycad, with cone. I believe this is another Dioon, but I forgot to note the label, so I'm not positive.

Young Pteris and Adiantum ferns, emerging from looks like moss, but which are actually gametophytes, the life stage that comes between spores and mature ferns.

Edited to Add: There is some actual moss in the picture, along with the gametophytes.

Your blogger, Karen715, standing near the entrance to the Fern Room

View of the Asplenium which was behind my head in the previous photo. I was amazed at the small size of the container in comparison to the plant.

Part 2 will cover the rest of our trip to the Conservatory.


Thomas said...

That's beautiful place, and those are great pictures. Who says plants w/o flowers are boring.

Ivynettle said...

So beautiful, Karen - I'm jealous! :) Makes me want to go to Munich again - they've got a real pretty greenhouses, too.

Steven said...

Beautiful captures of the Fern Room. I love the contrast between the structural and natural in these shots.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Hi Karen it's nice to see you! What a beautiful place. So green and lush. I think I clicked on each pic to see it large. What a great old place to visit you lucky girl!

College Gardener said...

I have never seen a fernery that big or beautiful before. Next time I am in Chicago I will have to make sure that I make it to the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Karen715 said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. The fern room was fabulous, and so was the rest of the conservatory. I should be making at least one new post about it soon.