Photo by Kelli Shedd
Earlier this month I had the pleasure to visit the city of Chicago for the first time. By far the best adventure I had was walking through the beautiful Lincoln Park Conservatory in Lincoln Park. The are four main rooms in the Conservatory: the show room, palm room, fern room and my favorite … the orchid room.
In the 19th Century many cities were constructing conservatories to house a variety of plants, many medicinal, in an attempt to cope with the enduring industrial revolution. The one in Lincoln Park was constructed between the years of 1890 -1895 and originally contained a “tropical room” which is now the orchid room. What I found so fascinating about the orchids was the diversity and amount of blooms clustered into the room. Orchids are growing from the ceiling, out of walls, and every little crack exposed in the conservatory.
While the park was kind enough to provide each species with a name plate with both common and Latin names, it was difficult at times to identify which orchid the plaque was referring to — there are that many orchids! Many of these flowers took on a resemblance of another animal or plant in nature. The “pansy orchid” looks exactly like a pansy, the “blue orchid” is a delicate powder blue, and the “birds nest orchid” forms a pouch which contains the heart of the flower.
If you ever find yourself with time to spare while hanging out in Chicago I highly suggest you stop in at the Conservatory. Open year-round, this free activity will absolutley be the highlight of your day. I can only imagine how wonderful a walk through the orchid room must feel on a blustery Chicago winter day. For more information on the hours of operation visit: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/conservatories-and-greenhouse/