Nearly a year in the making, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show is finally in bloom
Since her arrival last year, Dr. Lisa Philander, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s new horticultural curator, has been digging in to every corner of Como’s horticultural operations, from climbing ladders to prune the fig trees in the North Garden, to drawing up the design for this season’s Spring Flower Show.
Starting back in July 2022, Dr. Philander selected the flowers, bulbs and plants she wanted to see this season in the Sunken Garden. “That’s why there are so many hyacinth, because I just love hyacinth,” she says.
She also knew she wanted to incorporate several topiaries donated by her friend and master gardener Marge Hols, the long-time Pioneer Press gardening columnist, who passed away last summer. Hols was also a past president of the St. Paul Garden Club, whose members have been generous donors and volunteers of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory over the years. “I love that we have her topiaries in the show, in her honor,” Dr. Philander says.
With a vibrant palette of chartreuse green, purple, pink and yellow, Dr. Philander also mixed grasses and giant allium around the beds surrounding the pool to resemble “a springtime meadow with bulbs popping up,” she says. “We’re just trying it out, but the hope is that they’ll bloom in succession, so there will be something new for visitors to see every day.”
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show is free to the public and open every day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through April 30. Made possible, in part, by your contributions to Como Friends, the Spring Flower Show is the most anticipated and well-attended display of the year.
“Conserving resources is part of our mission at Como Friends, so we’re happy to support the beautiful flowers people will see this spring in the Sunken Garden, and to provide shoppers the opportunity to reuse the bulbs and make their gardens look great,” says Jackie Sticha, president of Como Friends.
Each year, Como grows about three times as many tulips as will fill the Sunken Garden, so that as each bloom peaks and fades, horticulturists can swap in a fresh flower. Once they’ve made their debut in the Sunken Garden, hundreds of bulbs are then recycled and sold each year at Como Friends’ Garden Safari Gifts for replanting in garden beds and backyards all over the Twin Cities. “Conserving resources is part of our mission at Como Friends, so we’re happy to support the beautiful flowers people will see this spring in the Sunken Garden, and to provide shoppers the opportunity to reuse the bulbs and make their gardens look great,” says Jackie Sticha, president of Como Friends. Be sure to follow Como Friends’ Facebook page for announcements about this frequent sell-out event.