Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Flower Show Conservatory at Druid Hill Park

The spring display of flowering bulbs inside the Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory ended after a colorful weeks. The Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory is located at 3100 Swann Drive in Druid Hill Park. The theme this year was The Wizard of Oz. Daffodils, hyacinths, Easter lilies and other plants and flowers created a magical spring flower show that enhanced this theme. While the show is now over, the conservatory still has plenty to interest visitors, including more spring flowers in garden beds next to the building. The building is open all through the year.

As visitors entered the show in the North Pavilion of the conservatory, they could see the little white house that fell on the Wicked Witch of the East. Her feet, still clad in ruby slippers, poked out from under the house and into yellow daffodils and white hyacinths. Above the house rose a cleverly constructed tornado made of Spanish moss and air plants. Munchkin figures and Glenda the Good Witch were among the flowers, which included more daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, azaleas, and Easter lilies.

The Mediterranean House, Tropical House, and Desert House all provided a perfect environment for Dorothy’s journey. Patches of yellow bricks led visitors through these areas, which have a wide variety of plants that visitors can see all year long. Mosquito plants, paperflower, and crimson bottlebrush are some of the plants in the Mediterranean House. In the Tropical house, colorful ceramic mushrooms provided by Plow and Hearth complimented the Red Passion vines and the Red Hot Cattail plants. Large cacti of all types are in the Desert house. Flying monkeys and traces of the Wicked Witch of the West carried the theme of the show through these rooms.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the show was at the end, in the South Pavilion. The Wizard of Oz’s throne was flanked by parrot tulips, double daffodils in a wide variety of colors, and lots of hyacinths. Dorothy, returning home in her balloon, floated above a bed of yellow tulips and pink hyacinths. There appeared to be more flowers in this room than in any other.

While the theme was not included in the Palm House display, it is always interesting. This is the oldest part of the conservatory and it was built in 1888. This is a good place to come in winter as the palms and other humidity loving plants create a lush, green atmosphere.