Thursday, July 30, 2009


We have many volunteers helping us (Scott Stanley and Doreen Peterson) with our daily gardening tasks. These volunteers are a valuable asset to the gardeners, as there is never enough time for us to get everything done outside. In front of the Conservatory there are many beautiful flower gardens which need a lot of care, so volunteers are extremely helpful.

Scott and I have up to nine volunteers on a weekly basis. They normally work in the morning hours; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They help out in the Enchanted Garden, Exedra, Frog pond, and Rooftop gardens, and do other miscellaneous tasks. There are always projects to be done. Mainly this time of the year, it is weeding and dead-heading. Dead-heading is important as many plants will re-flower if the dead or spent flowers are removed.

This picture is of three of our Thursday volunteers with the 9 foot weed. Nancy Feinthal, Terri Tacheny and Joan Sorenson spotted this very large weed that was missed in the middle of Enchanted garden. They climbed right into the middle of the garden and yanked it out. I was right there, with my camera and had to get a picture of it. The weed, we found out, is in the mustard family and it is a very aggressive, fast growing weed!

Doreen Peterson
Horticulture Intern

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Victoria Water Platters are blooming!

It isn't only the remarkably huge leaves that make these plants unique. The beautifully delicate flowers of the Victorias are equally amazing. These night-blooming, sweetly-scented flowers reach up to 16 inches in diameter and undergo an unusual color change. On the first night that it opens, the flower is white and gives off a pineapple scent. It will close up during the next day then re-open the following night, this time the petals will have changed to a deep pink hue. Each flower only blooms for two nights but the plant will continue to produce new buds, ensuring a steady display of flowers every night. Dusk and early morning are the best times to view the blooms. Come see these amazing beauties!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


There is a large motionless Albino frog that sits in the middle of the Frog Pond. The Frog Pond is located across the street of the historic entrance of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

This frog was donated to Como Park's Conservatory in 1904 shortly after the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. At this time also, the architect Stchikawa, designed a Japanese Imperial Garden in Como Park. The only remaining vestige is this large granite bull frog.

Most people come looking for the pond with the frogs in it, but in reality, there is only a pond with a stone frog and most likely ducks. Ducks like to live within the safety of the pond after their eggs have hatched. I have watched the mother ducks leading her babies towards the pond, sometimes coming from a few blocks away. When the ducks arrive at the pond the mother duck "tells" them to jump in and soon they are all in the water and out of danger. It is very cute to watch, but sometimes the babies tumble in instead of jumping in. Many times we find the adult ducks sunning themselves on top of the frog’s head, and the ducklings resting on the ledge around the frog.

Doreen Peterson, Gardener Intern

Schiller Statue


At the entrance of Como Park, near Lexington Avenue, stands a large bronze sculpture. This sculpture is a standing figure of a man named Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller. The sculpture was created by the artist Ignatium Taschner in 1905. It was donated to Como Park by the German citizens of St. Paul in 1907 and is in its original location at the junction of Estabrook Drive and Nason Place.

Johann Schiller was a renowned German philosopher, poet, historian and playwrite. He was born November 10th, 1759 in Marbach am Neckar, Germany. He died May 1805 at the age of 45.

The first play he wrote was called, "Die Rauber". It was a story about a group of rebellious students who enter into a Bohemian forest where they become Robin Hood like bandits and conduct other similar schemes. Following the performance of the play, he was arrested and forbidden to publish any further works.

There are many more interesting stories to be found about Johann Schiller in libraries and on the internet. The German Society of St. Paul, has made plans for this summer to restore the statue to its original state. It has oxidized so badly, that it has taken on a green color, and is in danger of deteriorating further.

Doreen Peterson, Gardener Intern