Are you dreaming of running away to some tropical rainforest to escape the frigid winter in Iowa? How about counting down the days until summer? If you are like me, you are! Noelridge Greenhouse is the perfect place to get away, with several greenhouses containing over 600 varieties of tropical plants from all around the world. It is open year-round and costs nothing to enjoy. Instead of dreaming about tropical plants, come and see them for yourself!
From the entrance to the greenhouse, you can walk through and feel as if you’re in a tropical rainforest surrounded by banana trees and other tropical species. To your right is a wall filled with over 20 varieties of colorful bromeliads including oranges, yellows, purples and red flowers. On your left, the ground floor is covered in ferns and club moss and the wall is filled with English ivy creating a temperate forest appeal. As you turn the corner and look up, you will be met with hundreds of beautiful pink bracts surrounding petite white flowers, known as the Bougainvillea tree, a specimen that has lived here for over fifty years. As you walk under the Bougainvillea canopy, you can follow the multi-colored brick path past the exotic birds of paradise, colorful crotons, and variegated umbrella trees.
When you reach the other end, you will see tables filled with hundreds of varieties of colorful and unique plants from all over the world, displaying countless shapes, sizes, and fragrances. In the center of the greenhouse, hear the calming noises of a small waterfall as you walk by the pond with a collection of vividly colorful Shubunkin fish. As you move through the greenhouse, you will be teleported into the desert filled with over a hundred different varieties of succulents, including members of the agave, aloe, sedum and prickly pear cactus groups. Several cacti that have been living here for 50 years reach all the way to the top of ceiling! Some of the specimens located in the desert bed include the Cinnamon Cactus, Snake Cactus, Jade Plant and Scarlet Paint Brush. When you traverse past the desert section and reach the back of the greenhouse, you will be immersed with a sense of wonder as you gaze upon the Orchid section with over 40 varieties of all different colors including orange, white, red, purple, magenta, black and more.
If you get a chance, you can also check out the plants we are growing in Greenhouse #3. This is where all the plants we will be using in citywide garden projects during 2022 are housed. The plants include over 100 species of native tallgrass prairie plants, and more than 500 varieties of annual flowers and herbs. Come join us at Noelridge Greenhouse located at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We are open to the public Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you’re looking for a tropical escape from winter, look no further!