The Conservatory

by Kent Turner

The conservatory is really nothing more than an indoor garden. In temperate climates, a conservatory can be a place of life and greenery in the dead of winter. Most conservatories are nothing more than a "sun room", another room of the house with large windows to let the sun in. Plants are often kept in pots, and aside from this, it is just another room. Some conservatories, however, are very elaborate. They may be built like a greenhouse, with a sloping roof made of glass or plexiglass to allow the sun in, and may not have a typical "floor", but instead have a floor of soil with a path of rock or concrete. Such a conservatory is the perfect place for an indoor pond. Tropical water lillies may be kept year 'round in the protection of the indoors, and tropical fish could replace the usual koi and goldfish if desired. I have seen indoor ponds with large tropical fish such as loricarid catfish and aruana (arrowana), gouramis, or livebearers such as swordtails. I have kept cardinal tetras in my small indoor pond, and it was interesting to watch the silver blue flashes as the fish schooled from one shadow to another. A pond will add substantial humidity to a conservatory, which will help to reduce the problem of dessicated plants. However, be sure that the construction of the room is tolerant of this level of humidity. For ideas for your own conservatory, see if your city or a city nearby has a botanic center with an indoor conservatory. Conservatories are growing in popular interest and many cities are responding by constructing large public conservatories. Here you can get ideas and visualize the possibilities that a conservatory has to offer. Return to Tropic Cove