The Art of Bonsai at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

January 4th, 2016

Volunteers Ken Ellis and Mike Porcaro have been attending to the Bonsai collection for decades. Hear their story in the video below courtesy of our friends at WCCO.



The Ordway Gardens To Be Featured in Skills Workshop and Garden Tour

July 30th, 2015

Five Japanese gardens in the Minnesota area will take center stage as the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) goes to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” on August 7 to 8 for its first regional event of the year. “It’s All in the Details” is a two-day skills development workshop and garden education tour featuring the following gardens: Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul MN; Jo-Ryo-En (Garden of Quiet Listening) at Carleton College, Northfield, MN; Normandale Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College, Bloomington, MN; Seisui Tei (Garden of Pure Water) at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN, and a private residential garden in St. Paul, MN attached to a Modernist house designed by American architect Ralph Rapson in the 1960s.


“Attention to detail is perhaps the most important thing in elevating gardens in America to the lofty level of those in Japan,” says NAJGA President Dr. Kendall Brown. “We are pleased to provide an experience that meaningfully connects Minnesota’s most compelling Japanese gardens to each other and to the large audience of Japanese garden lovers across North America.” Skills Development Workshop On August 7, the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden will host a workshop focused on teaching basic skills required of a Japanese gardener in constructing and maintaining a garden. It will also teach participants how to establish specific goals that enhance the presentation of a Japanese garden. Sessions include shearing of karikomi (massed or wave planting), deciduous tree pruning, pine maintenance, layout and installation of tobi-ishi (stepping stones) and nobedan (stone paving), and working with bamboo to create the basic nanako fence that keeps guests on the path, and the yotsume gaki fence used in tea ceremony gardens.


Participants will also be introduced to design theory, construction and maintenance of the Japanese tea garden and teahouse. After the workshop, participants will also have a rare opportunity to visit the private garden attached to the Ralph Rapson-designed house in St. Paul, MN. The house and garden provide a good example of the sukiya living concept where Japanese garden principles are applied in a residential setting and rooms are integrated with the garden. The workshop will be led by Japanese garden expert John Powell, the first Westerner selected to train with the garden staff of the prestigious Adachi Museum of Art, widely acknowledged as having one of the world’s best Japanese gardens. Other garden experts from the region and across North America will assist. Garden Education Tour: Japanese Gardens in the North Star State On August 8, a bus tour will visit the Jo-Ryo-en (Garden of Quiet Listening) at Carleton College, Normandale Japanese Garden, and the Seisui Tei (Garden of Pure Water) at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.


Four distinct styles of Japanese gardens—hill and pond, dry landscape, stroll garden, and pleasure boating garden—will be examined in three Minnesota gardens adapted to the local climate through plant choice and design. Care of Japanese gardens will be covered. Guests will also be introduced to issues of garden care, and how gardens “care” for people when utilized for therapy and meditation. This two-day event is also open to the general public.  For more details and to register, visit the event website HERE.  Or contact NAJGA at [email protected], tel: (503) 222 1194.


Praise for the Edible Garden!

July 22nd, 2015

The Incredible Edible Garden opened in June and has been getting rave reviews from both visitors and the press. IgniteChannel recently praised us for incorporating for producing produce for both the community and for our animals all while serving as an educational guide for our visitors. Thank you to everyone who makes the Edible Garden so successful!

Read the full article HERE:


After 3,500 Hours And 22 Years, Como Zoo Greeter Ready To Retire

June 10th, 2015

Fox-9 stopped by Como yesterday to profile one of Como’s most distinguished volunteers! Gretchen Estes has put in more than 3,500 hours over 22 years of volunteering at Como! A big “Thank You” to Gretchen for her years of service! ‪KMSP-TV


2015 Summer Flower Show!

May 5th, 2015

The Summer Flower Show kicked off last weekend! Kare 11 took some time to explore all of the hard work that goes into making this show so special!