Mid-Atlantic Region

Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery - Morris Arboretum
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary center that integrates art, science and the humanities. Within its 92 public acres, thousands of rare and lovely woody plants, including many of Philadelphia's oldest, rarest, and largest trees, are set in a romantic Victorian landscape garden of winding paths, streams, and special garden areas.

Of particular interest: the newly-restored Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery, an elegant, small glasshouse devoted entirely to ferns. This Victorian gem is unique in North America. Other special gardens and features include a formal rose garden and rock wall garden, and architectural features that reflect the Victorian spirit of its founders, John and Lydia Morris.

The Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery can be seen at Morris Arboretum.

Phipps Conservatory
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This Victorian glasshouse has delighted plant and flower enthusiasts for over 100 years. Phipps Conservatory is considered to be one of the largest and finest in the country: the thirteen glass display rooms feature lush tropical palms, orchids, ferns, and desert plants, as well as seasonal flower exhibitions.

The elegant Victorian Palm Court is the central focus of the Conservatory. The Palm Court covers over 7,000 square feet and rises over 65 feet high. The largest palm trees have been present since Phipps was dedicated in 1893.

Clothed in mist and draped in Spanish moss, the tropical jungle atmosphere of the Orchid Room is a lush and quiet setting for the display of Phipps Conservatory's orchid collection. The new Tropical Fruit and Spice Room, features tropical fruits and spices from around the world, including familiar plants like oranges, lemons, coffee, bananas, plus many others like, papaya, guava, cinnamon, kumquat, mango, and macadamia. Australian Tree Ferns and a Chocolate Tree dominate the permanent plants in the Fern Room. Tropical ferns and rare cycads make up the dense understory. The Stove Room it houses a large part of the permanent tropical plant collection. Children especially enjoy looking for the friendly topiary animals who have taken residence in the hollows of the dense foliage.

The Desert Room houses over 200 different plants from South Africa, Madagascar, Canary Islands, Australia, South America, the United States and more. The Broderie Room exhibits the 17th-century French style of putting plants on display in elaborate patterns, usually geometric. The East Room, Serpentine Room, South Conservatory, Sunken Garden and Exhibition One all feature changing seasonal flower displays.

For more information about the Phipps Conservatory, visit their web site at Phipps Conservatory

United States Botanic Garden Conservatory
Washington, DC

This 41,107 square foot Conservatory was completed in 1933 on the grounds of our nation's capital. It is closed for renovation until Fall, 2000. When it reopens, visitors will find new exhibits that showcase the plant collections and educational mission of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

The focus of exhibits in the west half of the Conservatory will center around plant conservation and endangered species, historic and modern plant discoveries, orchids, and medicinal plants. Case exhibits in the West Gallery will explore how plants have influenced the development of civilization, the therapeutic value of plants, and how plants are represented in the arts. The West Gallery will also serve as a visitor orientation area and entrance to the National Garden, a new facility scheduled to open at the same time.

Exhibits in the east half of the Conservatory will focus on the ecology and evolutionary biology of plants. Themes in the adjoining houses will include representation of primitive plants in a reconstructed Jurassic landscape, an ecological exhibit featuring plant adaptations, an oasis, plant communities of desert regions, case exhibits, larger-than-life models, and interactive stations that explore the biology, structures, ecology, and life histories of plants.

The former Palm House will be recreated as a jungle that represents the reclamation of an abandoned plantation by the surrounding tropical rainforest. The former Subtropical House will become an expanded exhibit of economic plants. Visitors will find a childrenęs garden and a contemplation garden in the enclosed courtyards.

For more information about the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory, visit their web site, US Botanic Garden


For conservatories in other regions, see North American Conservatories.

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