New In The North Garden – An Imperial Bromeliad!

March 9th, 2017

We have a new plant in the North Garden! It is a BIG bromeliad and it has been set in the ground by the baobab tree near the pool. It has been growing it in the greenhouses since it was purchased in June 2010. It has been repotted a few times and is now about 7-8 years old. It has been showing signs of starting to bloom for the last few months. Since mid-December, the center leaves of the plant have been looking more compact and looking like they were getting more of a red coloring.

This type of bromeliad, Alcanterea imperialis, blooms at about 3- 10 years of age. The inflorescence could be 5’ tall! It should have fragrant white flowers very soon. The Imperial Bromeliad can be found on rocky hills in parts of Brazil.

Like a corpse flower, this plant produces an inflorescence—a group of individual flowers that make a flowering structure. This inflorescence could possibly be about 5’ tall when it is in full bloom and consist of many fragrant white flowers on small branches. The Imperial Bromeliad takes about 3-10 years to bloom.

The Imperial Bromeliad will not be in the North Garden long, it will be removed when the inflorescence is finished opening and the plant starts to look tired.

Growth Updates

2/20 49 1/2″ – The inflorescence was flush with the top of the leaves.

2/24 52 1/2″ – 3” taller! The inflorescence has started to push up past the top of the leaves.

2/27 55″ – 3” taller! The inflorescence has started to push up past the top of the leaves.

3/2 58 1/2″ – Another 3 ½ “ to make the inflorescence 9 inches taller than when the pot was put in the North Garden.

3/6 64 1/4″ – The inflorescence is about 14 ¾ “ tall from the top of the leaves.

3/9 68″  – The Inflorescence is 18 1/2″ tall.

3/13 74 1/4″ – The inflorescence grew 6 1/4″ since Thursday! The inflorescence is starting to send out “branches” where the white flowers will eventually appear!

3/16 78 1/2″ – It’s another growing day in the North Garden! The Imperial Bromeliad grew another 4 1/4″ since Monday making the inflorescence 29″ tall. We are hoping that maybe next week the fragrant white flowers start to emerge!

3/20 84.5″ The Imperial Bromeliad has grown another six inches in just four days! The inflorescence is now 36″.

3/23 87.75″ Grew 3.25″ since Monday. Growth has slowed a little as flowers start to open up. The total inflorescence height is 38.25″


Check back for more updates! 



February 28th, 2017

We know that with the weather, Como will be a popular destination for prom photos, but we’d like to remind prom attendees that photo permits are required and photo polices will be enforced. A 30 minute photo permit may be purchased at the Visitors Center Desk for $25.



Enjoy your visit and feel free to take candid photos of the gardens. A permit is required for any posed or commercial photography in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Tropical Encounters and the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden. Video recording is prohibited.  A 30 minute photo permit may be purchased at the Visitors Center Desk for $25. The restrictions of this permit are as follows:

  • Maximum two people per photograph
  • One photographer per permit
  • Tripods or additional photography equipment is prohibited
  • Props and clothing changes are prohibited

The Photo Policy has been established for the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and Tropical Encounters in order to allow free-flowing foot traffic and provide an enjoyable experience for all our guests. We invite you to take photos and videos at many of the other beautiful locations on the Como Campus where a permit is not required. For questions or for the full policy, please visit Visitor Services.

We invite you to rent the gardens before or after public hours for all photography needs.  Contact us at (651) 487-8250 or [email protected] for more information and pricing.

Definition of Posed Photography: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory defines posed photography as any photographer (amateur or professional) that gathers a group together for a photo and/or poses an individual or individuals for wedding, prom, engagement, family or similar type photos.


Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Winter Flower Show Now Open

January 26th, 2017

Big thanks to Belinda Jensen and KARE 11 for covering the Winter Flower Show!


YEP Update #2

September 26th, 2016

Fun is Good, right?  Of course!  And good things can be fun, too!  In September, the Youth Engagement Program took a field trip to visit a couple of fun venues that are doing good things.  CHS Field provided a tour highlighting the sustainable practices that help make the home of the St. Paul Saints the greenest ball park in America.  After the tour, we hopped across the street to take in the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.

As you read this month’s blog, you’ll see the appreciation youth have for the wonderful assets this city has to offer.  As we move through this year of programming, the youth will be charged with utilizing their personal assets, team’s assets, and community assets to address various conservation needs.  Stay tuned!

Youth Blog

Recently, we YEPpers took a trip to CHS Field and the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, and it was so fascinating. We got to go behind the scenes at CHS Field and see some of their amazing sustainability features in action. (Thank you to Tom for the great tour!) Afterwards, we headed into the Farmer’s Market across the street to look for fresh vegetables, fruits, and other food items for a group lunch.

The Farmer’s Market was awesome, and I really enjoyed my time there. There were fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and breads, honey, and more. The atmosphere was welcoming, and I was so impressed by how much good, fresh produce was available for reasonable prices.  This was important for our group, since we were each challenged to buy lunch with just $3. We pooled our money and worked together to find different items we wanted for our meal, and ended up having some money left over. We were all able to eat fresh, locally grown food for not a lot of money – something many people, including myself, don’t always realize.

Usually when we think of organic, ‘healthy’, or locally grown food, we might think that it is more expensive and more of a hassle to buy, but often it is easier than we think. If you’re in St. Paul, the Farmer’s Market is a spot that can’t be passed up.

After we’d eaten, we got back on the bus to Como, and during the ride, I saw beautiful street art on buildings, restaurants and stores and people that showed the diversity of the city, and communities coming together. All these things strengthen and enrich the city and the neighborhoods it includes, and will continue to do so for years to come.

This experience was wonderful, and it led me to realize that being energy conscious, or buying local and fresh produce, was not as difficult or unattainable as I might sometimes think. It helped me see the assets of other communities as well as my own. All in all, it was a great day of learning and getting to see some pretty neat things.


Youth identified street art, festivals and murals as community-building assets downtown.


CHS field is known for hitting it out of the park when it comes to fun.  Did you know the sustainability plan is a home run as well?



The youth enjoy the fruits of their labors after the farmer’s market challenge.  With only $3 each, they pooled their resources to provide fruits, veggies, and even desserts to enjoy at a Union Depot picnic.


Historical Camphor Trees at Como

August 17th, 2016

In 2005, the Nagasaki-Saint Paul Sister City Committee presented Camphor Tree seeds to the City of Saint Paul in honor of the 50-year relationship between the two cities. The seeds came from Camphor/Kusu (Cinnamon camphora) trees located one-half mile from ground zero of the atomic blast in Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. The trees were stripped of bark, burned, and defoliated, but then recovered quickly and provided inspiration to the residents of Nagasaki who were trying to rebuild their lives.

Photo Aug 17, 11 47 19 AM