Monday, March 5, 2012

Olbrich Gardens and the Lung That Wasn't

Yesterday, Spousal Unit and I visited Olbrich Botanical Gardens. They have a year-round tropical greenhouse (a.k.a. the conservatory), full of gorgeous birds and flowers.

When we first arrived,  my camera fogged up from all the warmth and moisture. The birds, a volunteer explained to us, were particularly friendly yesterday, allowing people to come much closer than usual.

Look carefully in this one for the quail's beak and eye. When Spousal Unit and I first saw them, they were darting through the undergrowth, and we thought they were kiwi birds. But no, they were quails. And I don't understand how someone could eat something that adorable.

The coolest birds were definitely the waxbills, who were working on a nest near the orchids, high up in a corner.

We sat while they flew around, building their nest, and they didn't mind our presence at all. They were so cool to watch that I had trouble getting a picture with Spousal Unit.

Obviously, there were also lots of plants in the conservatory, too. Things like the corpse flower...

...which looks like neither a corpse nor a flower. Botanists, what's up with the names?

Now this looks like a flower.

After exploring the conservatory, we ventured out into the cold, snowy grounds which make a verdant kingdom in the spring and summer.

Conversation between me and Spousal Unit:

Me: Is that a turtle? ...or a lung?
Spousal Unit: It's a leaf.
Me: It totally looks like a lung.
Spousal Unit: Why would there be a sculpture of a lung in a garden?
Me: ...
Spousal Unit: It's a leaf.

Silly Spousal Unit. We all know it's a lung.

The best part of the outdoor gardens (which are full of sculptures less confusing than the lung) was the pavillion.

All the pieces were hand-built in Thailand, shipped over, and assembled on-site by the builders. Get this: there are no nails or screws in this thing. None.

As one of my new favorite TV characters is fond of saying, I want to go to there.


  1. Yay Olbrich! We were there yesterday too, in the wee hours of the morning, waiting to book it for our wedding. Success, and hurrah! The conservatory is so nice in the winter, and you got some lovely flower shots!

    On an educational and kind of gross note: I believe that the corpse flower gets its name because the blooms smell like rotting flesh. Seriously. I think it's attractive to flies, which help with pollination...and I also think it's just as well it doesn't flower often, because I do NOT want to go to there :)

  2. ...Ew. Yes, I'm also glad it doesn't flower often. :/

    Congrats on having your location booked! :)


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