Our second year that the Arboretum’s Spring Show!

UofM Landscape Arboretum’s Spring Flower Show – Passport to Spring, and Conservatory Craftsmen!

In 2018, Conservatory Craftsmen custom-designed an English-style conservatory for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum “Fragrances of Spring” flower show. It was a hit with visitors, and we heard from so many guests who enjoyed seeing the kind of work we do.

This year, we created a European glass garden house as the centerpiece of the 2019 Arboretum spring flower show that runs Feb 1 through March 3, 2019. It will occupy the center of the Great Hall, and be surrounded by showpiece gardens of plants and themes from around the world.

The great country houses of Europe are known for their elegant formal gardens, but they were also hard-working estates that were self-sustaining, growing the herbs, fruit, and vegetables for kitchens that often had to feed many guests as well as the resident family.

To produce herbs for seasoning and for medicinal purposes, as well as shelter tender seedlings early in the growing season, practical workspaces for gardeners were found in glass houses. These practical structures were typically positioned near the kitchen, to make snipping basil and chives easier, and often featured cold frame growing beds attached or nearby, to accommodate more plants.

At the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London, MaryJo and I (Jim Hewitt) were inspired by not only the fantastic floral displays over three acres, but the focus on sustainability and eco-friendly growing techniques. You can read the blog on our trip here for more info. Greenhouses and glass houses offer tremendous potential for the home-owner.

We built this year’s glass house for the Arboretum flower show as a fairly authentic European kitchen garden. If we were to build this for a customer with all the technology we commonly use, the windows would operate on temperature controls, the blinds would fold up or down based on the time of day or amount of sunlight, and there would be automatic supplemental heating and an automatic fan.

To inspire your own kitchen garden, we created an Arboretum flower show takeaway. King Charlemagne famously specified specific plants for healing and herbs for health and cooking, and we’ve listed some of his favorites—you’ll see many of them at the Arboretum!

Come tour our glass house in the Great Hall at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum!

Next year, we are excited to announce that we will again be working with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to create an inspirational and unique glass structure for the garden. Stay tuned to see what develops!

Rooftop Event Center in Rockford IL

Our company is no stranger to large commercial projects, take a look at this rooftop conservatory event center we built.

In the last 10 years adding on valuable square footage to a rooftop has been growing in popularity for entertaining, co-op growing or in this case – an event center / wedding venue in Rockford, IL. The team that was in charge of this building (The Standard) had goals for a destination wedding venue. The construction of this project was to coincide with the building renaissance taking place on the Rockford, IL riverfront. Conservatory Craftsmen was brought on for a the crowing jewel of the three story masterpiece – the rooftop conservatory.

The owners were intent on building the finest rooftop conservatory in the Chicago area. They knew they wanted something that would draw a wedding party out of the Windy city into a nearby venue with more to offer. Their dream was to have a rooftop event center that a couple would dream of being married in, and that also gave them the assurance that no matter what the weather was, the wedding could be ‘outdoors’.

Given the plan by the owners and architects, we called up aluminum extrusions out of Belgium to be the basis of this structure. Able to withstand the 130 mph winds and massive snow loads that torture a structure in this exposure.

The roof top of this 100 year old building was the biggest challenge.

There were walls here and there that had to be used to create connections. Decks weren’t level, and the winter installation on a rooftop was indeed a chilling experience our crews will never forget.

All material was set on the roof by crane to start the project. Our crews worked long days and weekends to set the portal, sub frame, that would be the support basis for the entire structure.

Unique glazing window frames allowed the glass to be set from the inside out, avoiding the problems of setting glass with a crane. Christmas lights from the City below helped maintain a cheery working environment for the crew of 5, even in the cold weather. In all, 6.5 tons of tempered and laminated glass graced this stout roof. A layer of dark tint was added to the outer pane to cut down sun glare, but still allow massive amounts of light. A good balance between heat and light was the goal.

The project was complete in less than a month.

Interior finishes were applied by the local contractor and the first event was held a week after the last piece of glass was set.  We definitely considered that a job well done! And it’s a rooftop conservatory we’re proud to put our name on.

We’ve seen numerous weddings and events at The Standard on the internet since the completion of the project and it appears that the goal was achieved by both the owners, and our conservatory crew.

With the addition of micro breweries and popular restaurants, downtown Rockford is paving the way to make it a fun and successful destination for any event.

Maybe you have a rooftop on your commercial property that could be transformed into a remarkable and useful area, that could be used year-round and in any weather?  Then give us a call at 888-345-7915 and we can discuss it, or you can contact us online too.

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