Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Desert House

Here we are once again at the Garfield Park Conservatory, celebrating 100 years on Chicago's west side this month.

This time, I'll show you a few of the interesting specimens displayed in the Desert House. Almost all of these are native to South Africa. The shrub Aeonium comes from the Canary Islands. Aren't these just the coolest plants?

Necklace Vine

Pie Plant

Orange Button Plant

Baby Toes

Wandering Star

Shrub Aeonium

Desert Geranium

Splitrock plant


  1. Very exotic and unusual!

  2. I love those, have planted an outdoor hypertufa pot with an assortment that includes a couple of the ones you show. Annuals here of course, but should like the heat of summer. That orange flower was in the David garden at Spring Fling, glad to know at least the common name, thanks.
    Frances at Faire Garden

  3. Does the split rock plant have a sticky liquid inside to lure insects? I wonder why else it would leave itself open like that?

  4. Nancy, the desert house isn't as dramatic and colorful as the show house, but I really enjoyed those unusual plants.

    Frances, I haven't grown desert plants, but I find many of them just fascinating.

    Walk2write, I don't think it's an insect-eating plant. I think the splitting has something to do with how it reproduces. I found some of the desert plants to be quite mysterious. I know so little about them. I think it's amazing how they've adapted themselves to their hot, dry, sandy environments!

  5. Amazing plants, especially the "splitrock plant". I've never seen anything like it.

  6. Those are really cool plants. Our local state college has a greenhouse with a desert area and I love to just walk and look at everything. I haven't been there in a few years so you have me thinking it's time to get back there.

  7. Wow, those baby toes are just amazing. I love exotic plants, but am not that efficient in keeping them for too long lol. Especially when it comes to seeds I have just germinated and transplanting the young seedlings. If they survive that stage, then it's all fine afterwards. But only a few do. I've ran into some weird Euphorbia succulent seeds just the other week on eBay, and they were actually quality seeds as I've managed to germinate all 25 of them. I wonder how many will there be in a month or so. How lovely it is to visit such a place and admire all the plants that you usually cannot grow at home. Always a pleasure going on a trip with garden girl.

  8. I am always amazed by the variety of plants across the world. The baby toes are certainly different (and cute), and I thought you were putting us on with the splitrock plant. But it really is a plant? How unusual!

  9. Amy, I loved the desert house. I don't remember now whose garden blog I saw it on, but someone did a post on some plants similar to the split rock, and may have even included the split rock. As I recall, she said plants of that type aren't easy to grow.

    Melanie, that's one thing I do enjoy about life near the big city. There are so many interesting places to visit, including conservatories, botanical gardens, and arboretums. I'm resolved to take better advantage of them than I have in the past several years.

    Violet, aren't they cute? I can see how they got their name! I haven't tried my hand at exotics, but I do love looking at them.

    Rose, it's real! I spent quite a bit of time looking at it, had to google it when I got home, as I found it hard to believe myself, and I saw it in person. They're very small, I read they don't get much bigger than about 6" in diameter. The ones they had at the conservatory were smaller than that.

  10. Very interesting post! Very exotic and unusual plants. The splitrock plant was cool.

    Have a nice day :)

  11. you have some nice succulents growing in there, I have some cacti & succulents but I just grow them outdoor. We don't have frosty winters here so they'll survive..

  12. what unusual plants you show :) I saw for the first time desert geranium :)
    I love aeoniums :)

  13. Marie, Garden Gnome, Ewa, I loved each of the conservatory's themed displays. Being so unfamiliar with these exotic desert species, I found the desert house the most fascinating of all.


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