Garfield Park Conservatory: breathing in fresh air and saying farewell to old friends

alt text By Maya J. Horton, Criminal Justice Reporter, The Real Chi

This week, the historic Scheelea Palm tree, a staple in the Garfield Park Conservatory since 1926, is being removed. The Scheelea has outgrown its glassy home and will be uprooted, along with two other palm trees.

In a recent Chicago Park District press release concerning the palms, Director of Conservatories Mary Eysenbach said the staff is “saddened by the loss of the palms,” but are looking forward to the new growth that is sure to come once the large-leafed trees are replaced and more sunlight can filter down to other plants. GPC assures visitors that the historic trees will be repurposed for creative purposes and garden displays.

Although the palms were a beautiful reminder of sunnier days, the West Side greenhouse has a new exhibit for Chicagoans during the final days of winter that shows promise of growth.


“Understory: Layers of Light” is offering a chance to “breath in the oxygen, smell the flowers, and transport yourself,” GPC floriculturist Jason Toth said, ensuring Chicago residents still have a beautiful place to escape the winter climate and embrace the refreshing change of weather that is soon to come.

The woodland display highlights spring flowers, shrubs and mushrooms that typically thrive beneath secluded saplings and above the rich soils of forest floors.

The showcase will run through Mother’s Day, May 12, and admission to the conservatory is free.