The University Record, February 11, 1997

Matthaei conservatory to be revamped

Collections in the conservatory's doors will grow to include plants from China and Japan and a bog garden that features insectivorous plants. Benches and informative displays will explain the plantings and their relationship to the environment.


By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services


The conservatory at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, a microcosm of the world's flora for study and enjoyment, is changing.

After nearly 31 years as a successful tool for University students, a laboratory for research, and a delightful respite for those who want to enjoy flora from various climates of the world, changes planned for the plant collections of the 10,800-square-foot conservatory will give visitors a better understanding of the relationships between people, the plants and the environment.

Plants from China and Japan will be added to the collections in the Warm Temperate House, and a bog garden featuring insectivorous plants such as Venus' flytrap is planned. More benches will be added for the expected 50,000 visitors a year, and interpretive displays will explain the plantings and their interactions with the environment and people.

Changes also are planned for the conservatory structure, but are only the first phase of a multi-year plan to establish Matthaei Botanical Gardens as what assistant curator David Michener calls "a modern university garden for the 21st century." To meet that goal, some wetlands and wooded areas in the 350-acre facility that have been closed will be open to the public.