After a string of unseasonably warm days, 40-degree temperatures startled Columbia from its placid December sleep and drove me to the streaked panes of Tucker Greenhouse, one of Mizzou’s many green spaces.
Once inside, I watched white and orange koi dart across a pond’s dark waters in the 71-degree tropical room adjacent the desert environment. The contrast was stark. As I walked through the various rooms, the wind snarled and beat against the glass panes above me but the sights below quickly recaptured my attention.
Leaves from the windless environment thoughtfully padded the walking paths and delicately crunched as I made my way around the oval brick path.
Hundreds of plant species lined dozens of benches and shelves. The diversity and complexity of each room was dizzying. Almost every specimen bore a plastic or metal tag identifying its scientific name and, where relevant, instructions for watering.
Tucker is celebrating this year its 40th anniversary this year, thanks partly to David Dunn, who began teaching at MU in 1967 and helped design the greenhouse prior to its 1975 construction.
It’s a tucked-away treasure that never fails to provide peaceful respite. When you tire of the barren trees and never-ending cold, stop by Tucker for a taste of eternal spring.