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.

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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.

Soft daffodils_Staats 8674The calendar turns to March, and our wishes turn to spring.  The cold and hardness of winter is still around us, but this is when we yearn for the softness of spring – for color, thawing, and green.  In Minnesota, the only place to find that now is at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park – our very own oasis of spring.  These daffodils represent the hope and promise of spring to me.  The yellow of sunshine, the green of new beginnings, and the softness that starts the season of spring.  Soon……

Magnolia blossoms_Staats 8644_Our weather has been gloomy with days of gray. Our landscape has been transitional; warmer temperatures this past week caused some snow to melt, leaving patches of brown grass and piles of dirty snow.  But one place is an oasis of spring – the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  With a walk into the Sunken Garden, one is surrounded visually by spring.  Colors of pink and yellow, purple and blue – a wonderful sight to the eyes.  With encouragement like this, winter can’t last too much longer and we’ll savor the sights of spring when they arrive.

Fog in the morning McNelly Conservatory 7917_StaatsThe cold and crisp of winter moderated the past two days with temperatures in the 40’s.  With our layer of snow and cold temperatures on the ground we awoke this morning to a beautiful landscape of fog.  The stillness of early morning and the fog’s softening effect made the landscape magical.  Everything stood quietly as the fog moved in and out, becoming thicker and then lessening to a thin veil.  I was at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park this morning, where the thin ice of the Frog Pond allowed the fog to form above it in a narrow band, still leaving the dome of the conservatory visible above.