Since my schedule revolves around Hardy's sleep these days, we go on short outings in-between his naps on my days off of work and on the weekends. We packed up and drove over to the Mitchell Park Conservatory for a couple hours. Did you know construction on the domes started in 1959? No, I had no idea.
Milwaukee's first conservatory and greenhouses were built in the late 1860s, and were attached to the home of Alexander Mitchell. When Mitchell died, his house was sold (now the Wisconsin Club) and a portion of the property was purchased by the Board of Park Commissioners. Some of the land was donated by the Mitchell family, more was purchased from the Burnham estate, and by 1906 Mitchell Park was 62 acres. The conservatory idea didn't fade away, however... In 1898 construction began on the Mitchell Conservatory as designed by Henry Koch. The current domes were built to replace the Milwaukee Conservatory which was in place from 1898-1955. The domes were dedicated in 1965 (by Lady Bird Johnson!), but they opened between 1964-67 (Show in '64, Tropical in '66, and Arid in '67). In 2008 the domes were temporarily closed for improvements to the non-dome areas (I enjoyed this article in the Shepard Express about that). They closed in early 2016 for repairs (concrete falling!) and reopened again in late October; in March 2017 they were designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
That's enough for history, we go to see the PLANTS, right? As a plant lover, visiting the Domes is a really fun experience, romantic, even.
Visiting the Domes is like going to a small museum since you just walk around and look at things. But these are living things just doing their thing: growing. Creating air. Making babies.
I love the unexpected colors and flowers displayed by many of the plants in the arid dome (which is my favorite of the three).
For me, a visit to the domes isn't about talking. It's more about pointing out awesome textures and colors, and ideally enjoying the presence of my Love. So if a picture is worth a thousand words, here are the highlights according to Laura:
In the show dome right now was COLOR. I love the first spring flowers that are starting to pop out of the ground before you even think something could be growing. My tulips and daffodils surprise me every year, and there is already so much life in my roses that I know they will bloom one day and I won't even know when the buds arrived. The process of life creation is really too incredible for my mind to comprehend. And plants really put it all out there, too. "Pollinate me, pleeeeaaase" they seem to beg! (This is relevant! There is a Pollinator Week at The Domes June 19-23.)
The more I read about the Domes, the more I'm excited to go back. This summer the display in the show dome is called Ultra Violet Summer Floral Show; who wouldn't be excited to see what that looks like? EVERYTHING WILL BE PURPLE. See more.
- History of Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Domes 1795-1955. Accessed June 6, 2017. https://milwaukeedomes.org/early-domes-history
- History of Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Domes 1955-2008. Accessed June 6 2017. https://milwaukeedomes.org/late-domes-history
- Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Domes. Accessed June 6, 2017. https://savingplaces.org/places/the-domes#.WTdkOXKZOi4
- Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. Accessed June 6, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Park_Horticultural_Conservatory