Como Park


Last week I celebrated what now seems to have been a colorful flourish to the end of summer.  I sent some time at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park.  The sunken garden was filled with its summer flowers, scents, and  colors.  Since that day our weather has been gray, cloudy, rainy, and much cooler — anything but summer-like.  How lucky I was to have soaked up the last bright colors of summer!

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Easter and April mean spring.  Spring means warmth and colors.  Except when Mother Nature decides to put a white icing over the landscape.  I spent some time at the McNeely Conservatory yesterday morning photographing the spring flowers.  Outside the weather was cold and windy and snowing, but the conservatory was the perfect antidote to the weather.  I was surrounded by the smells of tulips and daffodils, hyacinths and magnolias.  In the bonsai section I found this lovely azalea.  Its diminutive structure seemed to mirror the snow-covered tree outside, while its brilliant colors were the opposite of the landscape beyond the window.

Wherever this Christmas holiday finds you, whomever you’re with this Christmas, and however you choose to celebrate it – welcome the spirit, the joy, and the love that makes this season so very special.  It is all around us.  Merry Christmas!

One of my favorite places at Como Park is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and one of my favorite rooms in the conservatory is the palm room.  The central, tallest room has a 64′ tall dome that’s visible throughout the park.  Within the room are palms of all types, some nearly 100 years old.  Below the peak of the dome is a bronze sculpture titled “Crest of the Wave,”  created by Harriet Frishmuth in 1925.  Its grace and upward motion leads your eyes up to the very top of the dome, celebrating the spaciousness and the beauty of the glass surrounding the room.  Whether daytime or nighttime, the view is wonderful!

Delicate and light, constantly in motion, mesmerizing and beautiful –  these are the words that come to my mind in describing the Blooming Butterfly exhibit at Como Park.  Yesterday morning’s gray and cool weather provided the perfect conditions for a photographer’s visit to the exhibit.  The  lack of sunshine and temps in the low 60’s allowed the butterflies to rest and not be as active as when the sun is bright and the air is warm.  The exhibit is filled with butterflies from Asia, Africa, North and South America, although only one of these can be found native to Minnesota.  Some are bright with multi colors, others are one or two colors, but beautiful just this same.  This Paper Kite butterfly settled among the bright flowers and rested, as if posing for this photograph.

I was at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park the other day and found myself mesmerized by the palms.  They’re towering and huge but this day the sun was filtering through the dome and creating some imaginative shadow and light plays.  Part of it reminded me of puppet shows we used to create when we were children.   I found myself trying to make up stories as to what was going on.  This image seemed to be of a flock of birds at the bottom; others weren’t as abstract as this.  Either way, the lines, the colors, the shadows, and the light all came together amongst the palms.

As our temperatures rushed into summer highs yesterday, people were resorting to the tried and true ways of staying cool.  Mid 90’s and high humidity cause some Minnesotans to shelter in air conditioning, while the majority choose to embrace the weather but cool off by a lake.  Whatever wind that’s blowing across the lake surface cools and becomes a delightful and welcome breeze.  People were out at Lake Como canoeing, kayaking, walking, relaxing and savoring the warmth of summer; winter’s cold seemed a long way away!

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