ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Baltimore Public Garden - Druid Hill Park's Victorian Conservatory

Updated on August 5, 2017
Dolores Monet profile image

A lifelong resident of Baltimore, Dolores shares her interest in the historic spots of her beautiful and quirky home town.

Baltimore's Botanic Conservatory at Druid Hill Park

Source

Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory

The beautiful glass palace at the south western edge of Druid Hill Park is the second longest surviving glass botanic conservatory in the United States. Designed by George Aloysius Frederick, the designer of Baltimore City Hall and Cylburn Mansion, the main part of the complex was opened in August of 1888. Additional greenhouses were added in the early part of the 20th century. Renovations between 1999 and 2004 added new buildings and included lead paint abatement, soil improvements, and renovations of heating, watering, and drainage systems.

The older part of the conservatory at Druid Hill Park contains the Palm House and Orchid Room. Greenhouses contain a Mediterranean Room, Desert Room, and Tropical Room.

Surrounding flower beds burst into bloom in Spring and continue into Fall. The conservatory offers educational workshops for adults and children, special events, flower shows, and a Farmer's Market during the local growing season. But my favorite time to visit is in the depths of winter. Last February, my husband and I spent several hours there while recovering from the flu. The exotic plants, the scent of herbs, and the sight of orchids in bloom seemed to aid in our recovery.

The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory is free to the public with a suggested $5.00 donation. Plants are offered for sale in the front lobby.

An Orangery

A typical orangery. This one is on the grounds of Ruulo Castle in the Netherlands
A typical orangery. This one is on the grounds of Ruulo Castle in the Netherlands | Source

A Short History of Greenhouses and Botanic Conservatories

The Roman Emperor Tiberius kept an early form of a greenhouse to shelter tender plants. Portable plant beds on wheels could be hauled out into the sunshine, then wheeled indoors during the evening or on cool winter days. Thin sheets of mica allowed for transparent walls that let the sun shine in. It has been said that Tiberius never went a day without consuming snake melons, a type of melon that resembles a cucumber, grown in his own "green house."

The construction of specialized buildings to house tender plants gained popularity in 16th century Europe. Brick walled buildings featured large south facing windows for the cultivation of citrus trees. Called orangeries, these buildings were often heated with stoves during the winter.

In 1737 Andrew Fanevil built America's first greenhouse at his some on Tremont Street in Boston.

You can still see an early American orangery at George Washington's home in Mount Vernon that was inspired by Margaret Carroll's orangery at Mount Clare in Baltimore.

The Wye Orangery, built in 1785 in Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore is thought to be the only remaining 18th century orangery in the United States.

By the mid 1800s homes of the elite often featured an addition based on the orangery. These conservatories housed plants raised in beds as opposed to greenhouses which contain potted plants. A conservatory originally described a glassed room that was attached to a home or building.

Palm House at Kew Gardens

Source

Victorian Botanic Conservatories

The Victorians were immensely fond of gardens and greenhouses. Botany became a passion in the 19th century, a time when people not only kept home gardens but also enjoyed the study of botany. Plant collections became so popular that even teenage girls approached the subject with fanatic interest. Victorian adventurers brought plant specimens from abroad. Middle class housewives filled their homes with house plants, and exotic species were cultivated by many.

The Crystal Palace, the largest of its kind, was built in 1851 out of cast iron and glass for the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in London. It was destroyed by fire in 1936.

The plant craze began in Europe but soon spread across the Atlantic to the United States. The Baltimore Conservatory's design resembles both the Vienna Palm House in Austria and contains elements of the Kew Gardens Palm House (1848) at The Royal Botanic Gardens in London.

By the mid 1800s new technologies allowed for a greater use of glass. Instead of brick walls interspersed with glass, the new conservatories featured large sheets of glass supported by thin frames. Frames made of cast iron, steel, or wood supported large sheets of cast plate glass. New production methods created inexpensive yet strong sheets of plate glass that allowed more light inside buildings.

At one time Baltimore City was home to four botanic conservatories: The Druid Hill Park Conservatory, one at Lake Clifton, one at Carrol Park, and one at Patterson Park (pictured below).

Three of the four fell into disrepair and were demolished. The conservatory at Patterson Park was built in 1876 with a wooden frame. The wood frame began to deteriorate in the early 20th century and was torn down in 1948.

Conservatory at Patterson Park Baltimore Maryland

Source

The Palm House



The Palm House is the original building at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory complex in Baltimore. The height of the roof allows for the growth of tall palm trees with are underplanted with low growing plants.

Palm Tree

Source

The orchid room displays a fantastic array of blooming orchids.

Source

The Mediterranean Room


The Mediterranean Room duplicates a Mediterranean climate. Usually found on the western side of a continent near an ocean or sea, a Mediterranean climate offers hot, dry summers and mild winters. The winters feature foggy or rainy days with some mild, sunny days.

The Mediterranean House contains olive and citrus trees, scented geraniums, rosemary, and bay. In the photograph, you can see large rosemary specimens in bloom. (The scent is heavenly)

Mediterranean Room at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory

Source

The Tropical Room



The Tropical Room keeps the plants at warm temperatures and high humidity. Twelve hours of daylight duplicate tropical lighting conditions.

Here you can see banana plants, papaya, tree philodendron, bird-of-paradise, plumeria, ginger, and gardinia.

Banana Musa

Source

The Desert Room


The desert Room offers warm temperatures in an arid 20 - 30% humidity. Desert plants include sugaro, agave, yucca, several types of aloe, jade, and a wide variety of cacti and succulents.

Agave Plant

Source

Sources Consulted


Personal Visit and Phone Calls

Glass House of Dreams, by Margaret Haviland Stansbury; Palm House Studios, Inc. 2010

Baltimore's Historic Parks and Gardens by Eden Unger Bowditch; Arcadia Publishing; 2004

Article: "Finding Inspiration in the Conservatory," Dennis Hockman, Baltimore Sun; March 18, 2011

Article: "Druid Hill Park Conservatory Greenhouse is a Whimsical Collection of Glass, Curved Steel, and Light," by Frederick N. Rasmussen; Baltimore Sun; Nov. 19, 2010.

Article: "What the Roman Emperor Tiberius Grew in His Greenhouse," by H S Paris and J Janck; Ancient History Encyclopedia; Sept. 17, 2012

A
Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory Druid Hill Park Baltimore Maryland:
Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD, USA

get directions

© 2014 Dolores Monet

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)