The Greenhouses of Tower Grove Park

Did you know Tower Grove Park has three greenhouses? The Piper Palm House, the Piper Plant House, and the working greenhouse behind the park office. While two have been converted into venue and office space, the final greenhouse stores and overwinters all the flowers for the Park.

The Piper Palm House

Constructed in 1878 by noted architect George I. Barnett, the Piper Palm House is the oldest standing greenhouse west of the Mississippi River and the most historically significant building in Tower Grove Park. Located in the heart of the Park, this conservatory sits on an open-air plaza that overlooks the historic lily ponds. With its distinctive architecture, including stately windows and soaring ceiling, and towering palm trees, this space is perfect for indoor or outdoor wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, and all special and corporate events. Comparable to the Kensington Orangery in London or the Pavilion du Lac at Parc Buttes-Chaumont in Paris, the Piper Palm House provides an ambiance unlike any in the region. 

The Piper Plant House

To the north of the Piper Palm House stands a second and virtually identical Plant House built in 1885. Over the Park’s history this building has been used as a greenhouse, maintenance building, and is currently the home to the park office. The Piper Plant House and Piper Palm House have a third “sister,” the Linnean House at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The Greenhouse

Have you ever wondered where we store annual flowers in Tower Grove Park? They come from the only working greenhouse in the Park, located north of the park office. The greenhouse is a Lord & Burnham design like the Conservatory at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. Although our greenhouse is not quite as large at a meager 2,200 sq. ft., it houses and overwinters all the annuals planted in the Park, along with tropical display plants. In the greenhouse, our team of horticulturalists grow all the flowers, the water lilies, and the vegetables for the Kitchen Garden.

The greenhouse is a Lord & Burnham design like the Conservatory at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA.

During the year, the greenhouse doubles as an educational facility for school groups and our newest project, The Greenhouse Venture Camp.  We operate it as a propagation station, storage facility, location for Missouri Botanical Garden Master Gardeners to volunteer, and so much more.

Without our greenhouse, we would not be able to properly function as a gardenesque style park. It allows us to operate within a slim budget, providing vibrant display beds and colorful water lilies every year. Our gardens attract thousands of visitors to enjoy a different kind of garden experience in our unique public space.

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Michelle Lawrence