Our landscape has been white for so very long that a bright burst of yellow is a true signal of spring.  I spent some time at the McNeely Conservatory where it is spring, under glass.  Yellow and red tulips, ranunculus, crocus, and daffodils are wonderful (and needed) reminders of the season of spring.  These yellow tulips were set off by the blue reflection of the sky in the water behind them.  Soon enough we will have spring outside too, and not need to go inside to experience it.

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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!

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.

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.

spring-lilies_narcissus-15634_staatsIn the doldrums of winter, sometimes the best antidote for this cold season is a splash of color.  I was rewarded with just that at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park this morning.  The narcissus and Asiatic lilies were a profusion of bright colors, with an extra bonus of scent and smell.  A few hours amongst the pink azaleas and cyclamen was a wonderful way to reset the dark of winter and look forward to longer and brighter days ahead.

Spring tulips aglow 12770_StaatsIn my longing for the colors of spring, I wandered into the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  My spirits rose as I took in the colors and smells of our long-awaited season of spring – an array of lilies, tulips, ranunculus, and daffodils.  Flowers the colors of the sun — the light of spring that we crave so much after the cold and white of winter.  From underneath these tulips the light from above made them glow and shimmer – an ephemeral hint at their fragility and short-lived life in the transition between winter and summer.

McNeely Conservatory 100th anniversaryYesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park.  I’ve been fortunate to enjoy it in my neighborhood for the past 10 years, and even in that time there have been many changes.  Throughout the seasons the conservatory has welcomed people to its warmth and its plethora of beautiful flowers.  In a state where we have a definitive four seasons, it’s been delightful to have an oasis of green and color during the wintertime when our landscape is reduced to black and white.  This weekend the Conservatory was filled with the music of 1915 including Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Muddy Waters.  The changes I’ve seen in 10 years can’t begin to compare to the changes in a century.  I trust that the conservatory will be around in another 100 years, and that people will continue to marvel at the Victorian glass houses that have attracted visitors for all these years.