April 9, 2014

A Pre-spring Visit to Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale University

by Toni Leland

Yes, it "is" spring – technically. But I know folks in other parts of the country are still suffering the wrath of winter's departure, and here in Connecticut, it's still quite chilly most days. 

So you can imagine what a joy it was to roam through the beautiful greenhouses at the Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale University in New Haven. Four huge greenhouses filled with wondrous things!

Located on the estate of Othniel Charles Marsh, a renowned paleontologist and dinosaur discoverer, the gardens began in earnest in 1922 and flourished greatly during the thirties and early forties. As is so often the case, changes in demographics affected the work forces and slowly caused the gardens to fall into neglect. In the 1990's, the gardens again became the focus of restoration and, from then on, have continued to improve and flourish again. What a treat for anyone lucky enough to make the visit!

To plan your own visit, see the link at the end of this post. Now, enjoy!

We started our tour with the Tropical Collection, a veritable treasure house of luscious colors, textures, shapes, and scents.
Passion Flower
Passion Flower (Passiflora 'Pura Vida Purple')
Canna Lily
Canna Lily (Canna cv 'Ermine')

Golden Shrimp Plant
Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea)

Costa Rican Butterfly Vine
Costa Rican Butterfly Vine (Dalechampia dioscoreifolia)

Protea (Protea)

Huperzia squarrosa
Huperzia squarrosa

In another part of this greenhouse, we saw familiar faces from our own gardens.
Columbine 'Denver Gold'
Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha cv 'Denver Gold')
Snake Plant or Mother-in-law's Tongue
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Also known as Mother-in-law's Tongue
Fern leaf Dill
Who knew Dill could be so pretty?
Fern leaf Dill (Anethum graveleons cv 'Fernleaf')
Indian Mallow
Indian Mallow (Abutilon hybrid)
Outside this particular greenhouse, the staff has constructed an outdoor microclimate corner with a Koi pond and a camilia bush that was just about to bloom. In Connecticut! In March!
Interesting Koi–note the one on the far left that looks like a skeleton.
(photo courtesy Jennifer Carter)
Leaving the Tropical Collection, we proceeded to the interesting and sometimes creepy world of Carnivorous Plants. Some of the shapes and colors were straight out of a modern art class!
Venus Flytrap
Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
Cobra Lily
Cobra Lily (Darlingtonia californica)

After petting Eli, the resident feline (who was the biggest cat I've ever seen!), we moved into the Desert House. 
Succulents & Cacti
Succulents & Cacti need no water
Dozens of different cacti and succulents thrive in this beautifully-designed setting.

The outdoor gardens were, of course, still sleeping. But I will be back when spring really gets here!

Where? Marsh Botanical Gardens
Yale University, New Haven, CT

Marsh Botanical Gardens

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