Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

The Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, is brimming with a collection of plants from all around the world. Overall, a landscape for learning, complete with a sizable conservatory filled with botanical wonders, the conservatory collections include cacti and succulents, ferns, epiphytes, orchids, fragrant plants, economic crops, carnivorous plants, and other tropical plants.

It may be too soon in Western Massachusetts for an outdoor collection of perennials and herbs to start growing, but inside Smith's Botanic Garden amazing plants are in full blossom.

The seasonal Spring Bulb Show showcases plants that were grown in the earliest European glasshouses (orangeries), such as camellias, citrus, orchids, agapanthus, and rhododendrons. A mass of English ivy cultivars hangs on the wall in the Camellia Corridor.

Camellia japonica 'Monjisu'

The hundred-year-old slate-topped workbenches in the Physiology House are evidence of early plant physiology classes held here. Since the mid-1970s the Fall Mum Show and the Spring Bulb Show have been displayed here; both, Smith traditions dating from the early 1900s.

From the Asian garden

Generally kept quite cool, the Cold Storage House is a greenhouse that serves as a rotating production house, with plants continually changing. From January through March see bulbs and other plant material being forced, and during the summer chrysanthemums are grown and trained for the Fall Mum Show.

Plants from Vietnam

Cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels provide ideal conditions for subtropical plants from four geographic regions: Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Australia/New Zealand. In the Cool Temperate House, look for avocado, tea, eucalyptus, coffee, fig, and olive, as well as a waterfall.

The Smith College campus was designed over 100 years ago as a botanic garden, to be of aesthetic as well as scientific value. Today, the Botanic Garden functions as a living plant museum with changing educational exhibits.

1 comment:

Amy Greeman said...

What a beautiful post; your pictures are so lovely! Next time, call me for a trip around Smith instead of any other wanna-be NoHo-ites.