Monday, January 21, 2013

Update on Garfield Park Conservatory Rebuilding 2013

What is going on with rebuilding Garfield Park Conservatory you ask?  I provided to updates on the status of Garfield Park Conservatory Hail Storm Damage in July 2011 and the subsequent capital campaign.  So where do things stand now. 

DISPLAY HOUSE STATUS AS ON 1/21/2013 - temporary panes in place and all rooms open to the public.  The photos here were taken from a tour on 1/20/2013. (Take the tour people, it's awesome!)

All the broken glass was removed, and the panes of glass damaged in the display houses were replaced  with temporary poly-carbonate sheeting.  This temporary roof is able to keep the plants protected from cold/rain and keep the environment inside the rooms steady. A great place to observe this is at the entrance to the Show House. Stand in the entryway from the Palm house and look up at the roof in the Show House and at the roof in the Palm House - you will see the difference.  The temporary poly-carbonate pane has lines in it, glass is clear (or dirty!).  Once you notice this difference, check out the roof in the Desert House. Here not all the panes of glass were broken and you can spot all the temporary ones one you know this trick. 

The light coming in through the poly-carbonate is not as high as that through the glass.  So winter pruning (done every year because of reduced sun) seems even sharper this year.  

Fern Room, Garfield Park Conservatory
Jan 2013
Sugar From The Sun Exhibit,
Cavendish Banana; Jan 2013

Extensive construction to recreate the permanent roofs in the public display houses should start this year (2013).  This will have to take place after the danger of frost in spring and fall. Global warming yes, but not enough to leave the collection at the Conservatory open to Chicago weather!  Most likely the Fern room, Aroid House, Show House, and Desert House will all be closed during the construction. The website will hopefully have a schedule and notice of what rooms as open when. 

Garfield Park Conservatory, Propagation
Greenhouse, Jan 2013
BACK OF HOUSE STATUS AS OF 1/21/2013 - back up and running.

While most people visit the 2.5 acres of display houses at the Conservatory, there are more acres under glass in the back-of-house. These are the propagation greenhouses which support research and development of the collection as well as plants for display. 

The damaged propagation greenhouses were repaired during the summer of 2012.  Here is a photo of the cactus propagation house with many of the plants which were recently sold. 

Volunteers will shortly begin growing plants and seedlings for sale in Spring 2013, and other plants for sale in the gift shop all year round. 

The conservatory continues to solicit donations for the One-Pane-At-A-Time capital campaign.  Also consider becoming a member (more events are member only, or member early, I love the reciprocal membership at other botanic gardens and parks), or just pitching a few bucks into the box when you visit. Everything appreciated. 

Singing the Watersong...

Teresa Marie


  1. Thanks for the update! I've been meaning to get to Garfield Park conservatory again, I have not been there since the storm. Now I'm more determined to do so.

  2. I also appreciate the update. I especially feel the need to be surrounded by green with the recent cold snap!