A few days ago I had to travel to Columbus, Ohio. I stayed downtown which was both easy to find and quite convenient for me.
When I travel and have time, I sometimes seek out a local public garden to visit. Since I discovered that Columbus had a fine park, called Franklin Park Conservatory, not far from downtown, I drove over one afternoon.
As I approached the enormous glass conservatory, built in the last century, my memory turned to the Palm House, a glass conservatory in London’s Kew Garden. The size and the spread of the wings of the Franklin Park structure amazed me just as the Palm House did the first time I saw it.
There are several areas to explore in the Conservatory. Right now the Blooms and Butterflies exhibit attracts many visitors. You can have a butterfly land right on your shoulder in this contained area which includes many plants.
What surprised me as I entered a section called the North Conservatory was that I found an old familiar garden plant, the shrub Cotoneaster microphylla.
As I read the description of the plant, I discovered that it was originally from the Himalayan Mountains of China, Tibet, and Burma.
The cotoneaster, a mainstay in our gardens today, is an exotic plant.
According to Donald Wyman’s Shrubs and Vines for American Gardens, it was introduced in 1824, probably first to England.
I have several cotoneaster shrubs in my own garden. They do well. They don’t demand a lot of maintenance, and they look good where they are planted.
This is another example of how certain exotic plants continue to appear in our gardens simply because they have become so much a part of American gardening. The cotoneaster shrub is such a plant. It has adapted well and we like it.