Three months ago I wrote about my I-can’t-believe-it’s-still-winter blues, detailing places you could still find signs of spring. So now, seeing as our ground is still white, I thought I’d do a bit of a follow-up. Especially considering an amazing new spot is opening this week—The Ordway Gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory.
The $2.8 million addition to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory will open April 19, allowing visitors to enjoy the Bonsai collection and Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden year-round. The new plant and garden pavilion will do more than just display the conservatory’s Japanese collections—in tune with the intention of traditional Japanese gardens; it will also provide a place to celebrate nature peacefully and subtly during all four seasons. Not to mention this is the only experience of its kind you’ll find in Minnesota.
The addition will extend out from the current parlor, located next to the conservatory’s North Wing. Here the Garden Passage will connect to the conservatory and extend out to the Bonsai Pavilion, where you can see Bonsai trees displayed in a climate controlled space. That then opens to the Huss Foundation Terrace and Huelsmann Foundation Meditative Garden, a tranquil space and gallery displaying horticultural works of art. This garden will extend through the Bonsai Pavilion, providing an outdoor space for displaying Bonsai trees. The realigned Jo and Gordon Bailey Pine Grove Walk will offer a variety of new views, curving around a grove of trees and leading to a traditional Japanese garden gate. And instead of the chain link fence that formally served as the perimeter wall, a new ornamental fence has been installed.
To celebrate, the conservatory is hosting events and performances all weekend, including Bonsai demonstrations, drumming and dancing.