February 04, 2018

Let's Head to the Tropical Dome

tropical dome

It's February, it's cold, and I'm trying to warm up. So let's head back to Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes).

I covered the Show Dome for a holiday post in December. The others--the Tropical Dome and the Desert Dome--don't change much with the seasons. And I learned a lesson: Start in the tropics and end in the desert, not the other way around. Moving from a dry climate to a humid one can be a little uncomfortable.

working plan

When I was there, displays described The Domes Task Force feasibility study. Currently in phase one, the task force goal is to rehabilitate the facility and provide a sustainable operating model going forward. The Domes have been a Milwaukee fixture for many decades.

cardinals guard

I hope The Domes' future will be bright; the facility's plant collection is incredible, like this stunning Cardinal's Guard (Pachystachys coccinea).

Other plants in the Tropical Dome that caught my attention included:

cryptanthus

Many Bromeliads, including these Earth Stars (Cryptanthus spp.) clinging to rocks.

variegated ficus

Earth Stars surrounded by Variegated Creeping Ficus (F. pumila).

golden shrimp

Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea).

amethyst star

Amethyst Star (Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum).

bird of paradise

Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae).

orange jasmine

Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata). (Yes, it did smell pleasant.)

fairy garden

This fairy garden featuring tropical plants was fun. I almost missed it while focusing on eye-level plants and tall tropical trees.

orchids

I was surprised by the impressive collection of orchids in the Tropical Dome.

orchid zygo rhein

Zygopetalum Louisendorf  'Rhein Moonlight.'

orchid phal 1

Bright yellow Phalaenopsis.

orchid phal kaoda

Phalaenopsis 'Kaoda Twinkle.'

orchid phal 2

Magenta-speckled Phalaenopsis.

orchid paph aladdin

Paphiopedilum 'Aladin.'

orchid catt summit

Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit.'

orchid angraecum

Angraecum eburneum subsp. giryamae.

orchid c. horace

Cattleya Horace 'Maxima' x  C. jeamanii.

orchid paph rothschild

An unmarked cross with Paphiopedilum rothschildianum.

orchid oncidium sharry

Oncidium 'Sharry Baby.'

orchid phrag geigelstein

Phragmipedium Geigelstein.

Some of these and other beautiful orchids had lovely scents, too, although I didn't spend enough time noting the fragrances.

The Domes facility is worth a trip if you live nearby or are traveling in the area, particularly if you need a little winter break.

45 comments:

  1. I like the stars, earth and amethyst!

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    1. They are lovely plants, aren't they? It's a great plant collection, for sure.

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  2. That's a nice collection of orchids! I can only imagine how pleasant it must be to retreat from the cold, snow and ice into a tropical dome.

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    1. Yes, the orchids were amazing! It does feel great to step out of the cold into the warm. Just thinking about it reminds me I need to do it again, soon. ;-)

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  3. You are so lucky to have such a place to escape to. I can almost smell the humid hot air in the tropical garden. I love earth stars. I have had one for several years that keeps reproducing like crazy. I have had it in a terrarium. They like that constant damp feeling. I have tried to grow them on a log or such with no success. Just sitting in a terrarium they are happy as can be. I like orchids too. Mine are just coming into bloom.

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    1. We have a great conservatory here in town, too, at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. So I need to get over there soon, too. Hmmmm...I might have to try an Earth Star in a terrarium. I haven't had any luck with orchids. Or, I should say, they perform just fine until they stop blooming and then they just die. I'm thinking maybe I keep my house too cool. I'll look forward to seeing your posts and photos about your orchids!

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  4. It was fun to see all that color after seeing clouds and snow out the window.

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    1. I know--it was refreshing to visit The Domes, too. And the memories are keeping me warm on this bitter cold day. :)

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  5. When it's this cold I tend to stay indoors but a trip to the Olbrich Conservatory would feel good as well. I agree that the Domes are great and I would hate to lose them.

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    1. Yes, I need to get back over to Olbrich soon, too! It feels so good to even spend a few hours in a warm place.

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  6. A perfect antidote to the winter blues! Thanks for taking us along!

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    1. You are welcome, Peter. Yes it does help in coping with the February blahs. I need to make a return trip soon.

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  7. Just what we need on a cold winter's day. My favourite is the Oncidium Sharry Baby.

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    1. I enjoyed the name of that one, as well as its form and lacy shape. Actually, I enjoyed all of them. It's especially nifty to see such a diverse collection in one one place. They're all really awesome. :)

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  8. I think I am ready for spring and summer! Our winter is green, but I miss all the colors which you showed here. Thank you, Beth!

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    1. I'm tired of winter, too, but I'm glad the weather is "normalizing" a little bit. We had such a wacky January--back and forth between mild and brutally cold. But, yes, I miss the colors, too. Trips to botanical conservatories can help. ;-)

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  9. The third from the last made me jump! It looks like a spider. ;-)
    This was fun, thank you for taking us along.

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    1. Oh, I know! When I turned the corner and saw it, I jumped, too. It's very striking and unusual, isn't it?!

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  10. Your post is filled with lovely flowers of the warm tropics, nothing like the cool winter or spring of early February. I am impressed with the selection of orchids they have on display.

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    1. Hi Autumn Belle: Indeed, the garden is an escape from our cold winter. We're fortunate to have several conservatories/greenhouses not to far from our home. And yes, the orchid collection is wonderful!

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  11. Oh Beth, those orchids are lovely. Looks like a great winter escape!

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    1. They are impressive, aren't they?! It's nice to have warm, green, growing places to visit during a cold winter. :)

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  12. I can't imagine the maintenance cost of those tropical gardens! The growth and beauty amaze me as i know very well how they look like when neglected. Those yellow shrimp plant are just left as hedge without any maintenance in my property, i just cut them severely at the start of the rainy season to get the nice growth.

    There is an ongoing Hortikultura 2018 now near my office and yes the landscape exhibits are so beautiful. If only you are nearer, i can personally tour you around. There are also cactus and succulents, bonsais and a lot more.

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    1. Wow, nice that you have the Shrimp Plant growing on your property! The Domes facility has a volunteer group that helps with maintenance, and likely some wealthy benefactors. Still they need more funds to make some long-needed improvements and renovations. Gosh, that would be awesome to tour the landscape exhibits near you. Would love to see a post about it on your blog!

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  13. I am in the middle of reading a book by Stephen King (Under the Dome) Good as it is, yours looks more inviting.

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    1. I've heard of that one. No, I imagine that type of dome wouldn't be as pleasant. ;-)

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  14. How nice to be able to go inside and be in a garden like that! Such gorgeous blooms!

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    1. Yes, it's a very pleasant place to visit. We have several other ones nearby, and it feels good to get out of the cold for a bit. The plant collection at The Domes is very impressive!

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  15. Judy and I will have to take a weekend trip to Milwaukee and see the domes. I love the Golden Shrimp plant - it sounds like a dish at a Chinese restaurant.

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    1. Yes, it's not too far from you. Maybe similar to my drive. You'll like The Domes. I imagine the Show Dome will be all decked out in Valentine's Day decorations, or maybe a spring theme soon. The other two domes are really fascinating to explore. LOL: Yes, I think that would be a good name for an entree. :)

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  16. Such beautiful pictures of the flowers! A feast for the eyes indeed. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Jade. It's nice to escape to a warm, colorful place when it's cold outside. :)

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  17. So glad you have this place to retreat to in the deapths of your winter. I grew up with some of these plants and my mother loved and grew orchids. That said, the Cardinal's Guard is a gorgeous thing!

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    1. Hi Tina: Fortunately there are several great places like this in the area. Thank goodness--we need the break from the cold and snow. I've always loved orchids--whenever I'm in a place with a collection, I'm transfixed. And I agree that the Cardinal's Guard is amazing!

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  18. Escape to such a winter place, it's fantastic. There are beautiful flowers, it is colorful and certainly warm. Orchids, and not only, captivated me. Regards.

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    1. Hi Giga: Just thinking about it is warming me up. I need to go to a conservatory again soon. ;-) I'm tired of being cold. I love orchids, too.

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  19. So many gorgeous orchids! And some were fragrant too! I know the vanilla orchid is fragrant but didn't realize others were too.

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    1. Yeah, I wish I had noted the fragrances. I was too busy getting the photos, and there were other folks viewing them, too. I'll have to note the fragrances next time I visit The Domes. :)

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  20. It's always fun to visit the tropics! I love the image of the Earth Stars surrounded by Variegated Creeping Ficus. We get a taste of tropical humidity every summer, and I agree it can be a shock to the system! I suppose if I lived where such lush plants grow year round, I could get accustomed to it. Having visited the desert, however, I don't think I could as easily adapt to the dry heat of that climate.

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    1. Hi Deb: Actually, I don't mind the hot, humid climes and conditions. (I know, you'd be surprised, based on where I live.) Actually, we get some pretty hot, humid days during the summer here in S. Wisconsin, too. I'm glad I started out in the tropical dome and moved to the desert dome. When I ducked back in to the tropics after being in the desert, the humidity was uncomfortable. So, the hard part was going from dry to humid. I think I could handle either one, ultimately. It would just be a matter of getting used to it. I really don't like to be cold, so I wear many layers during our cold winters. LOL.

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  21. Beth - What a fabulous post. And how lucky you are to have such Domes near by. We are fortunate to have (smaller) conservatories near by at Smith and Mt Holyoke Colleges. It is wonderful to visit when the weather is dreary and frigid.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Yes, we are both lucky to have these facilities nearby. I felt so cold today, so I think I need to make another trip soon. ;-)

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  22. What a sweet retreat to escape the cold for a bit. Those amethyst stars are divine! Give me all the purple!

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    1. I agree--the Amethyst Stars were special, and the arrangements and designs were tastefully done. I love the purples, too!

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  23. The earth stars look like sea creatures, and all those orchids are fascinating - they're such sensual plants.

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