Few things can cure a case of cabin fever quite like a trip to Como’s Sunken Garden. But if a face-to-face encounter with Minnesota’s most beautiful room isn’t possible this season, you can still see the exceptional show Marjorie McNeely Conservatory horticulturists have created by tuning in to Como’s Facebook page on January 24 at 1:30 pm.
“Como LIVE has been a great way for people to experience what’s happening in the Sunken Garden and all around Como throughout the pandemic,” says Kelsey Raffel, Como’s Public Engagement Coordinator (pictured above), who hosts many of the segments. “For snowbirds who leave Minnesota during the winter, or for families who are studying at home, we’ve created lots of content on our Facebook page to show people what’s happening behind the scenes every day with our animals and plants.”
While Chloe the sloth continues to be the biggest draw for audiences, live tours through the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s gardens and growing ranges have also been very popular with Como’s Facebook followers. Since the program started in April 2020, more than 1.9 million Facebook users have clicked and connected with Como’s programs, while several thousand have become regular viewers. Tours of Como’s spring and winter flower shows last year both engaged more than 20,000 viewers.
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“If you miss one of our five annual flower shows, getting to see them on Como LIVE is a great substitute,” says horticulturist Ariel Dressler (pictured below), who designed this winter’s flower show. “I’m thinking of it as a kind of woodland fairy garden,” Dressler says about the show’s theme, which features a number of woody plants of varied heights and surprising colors including foxglove, cyclamen, azaleas, cineraria, pansies, viola, and lilies. “A lot of our shows feature herbaceous plants that are showy and tender, but there are more bones to this show,” she says. “I also want to call your attention to an interesting plant that we are currently displaying in the elevator boxes in the Sunken Garden. The Smithsonian is posting about the same shrub. It is named the paperbush (pictured below) and has clusters of fragrant yellow flowers beginning to open. We received ours through a grant from the Saint Paul Garden Club two years ago. Last year they were too small to display so this is the very first time we are showing them off. Don’t delay getting over to admire them, the blooms likely will only last a week or two.”
Dressler predicts visitors and viewers will be delighted by one of the show’s featured players, a new blue cineraria, a low mounding plant with daisy-like flowers. “Having true blue flowers in the plant world is rare, and the cineraria visitors will see in the Winter Flower Show has really achieved that.”
As always, admission to the Winter Flower Show is free, but reservations are required on Como’s website. And if you miss the Como Live stream on the 24th, you can watch the tour later on Como’s Facebook page whenever it’s convenient for you.
Thank you for all you do to support Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.
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