By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer
WALNUT HILLS - When Michael Frankenhoff worked at the Krohn Conservatory in the late 1990s, he always thought it was a shame the public had to view the Cincinnati landmark's orchid collection through panes of glass.
Saturday, Frankenhoff and more than 500 other people got their first look at the conservatory after a $3 million remodeling job expanded the orchid display and opened it up for visitors to walk through.
Now the display includes trees, rocks and ponds that show off the beautiful flowers in a more natural setting.
"You have to get close to those flowers because there are a lot of subtleties in their petal arrangements, colors and fragrances," said Frankenhoff, who was a horticultural assistant. "Unless you're up close, you can't really appreciate them."
Orchids weren't the only beauty on display during Saturday's public grand re-opening of the 71-year-old conservatory, which features more than 1,000 different species of plants. Visitors also flocked to the 20-foot-tall waterfall at the Palm House rain forest, now complete with a wheelchair access ramp.
But it was the orchids that initially drew in Deb Litzelman with her two sons. Litzelman, from Indianapolis, lived in Clifton for about five years and was a big fan of the conservatory.
She came back to Cincinnati for a visit this weekend. While dazzled by the orchid display, Litzelman said everything at the conservatory seems to have changed for the better.
Minnie Fanning, an 87-year-old Walnut Hills resident, had a problem with the orchid display - she couldn't decide which flower to buy.
"There are so many colors, I just closed my eyes and picked one," she said.
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