Imagine sitting on a wooden bench, the slosh from your boots puddling the tile floor as you loosen the ties of your hooded jacket. Imagine the humid air scented with sweet olive trees and jasmine trees, wisps of clouds winking at the sun through the glass ceiling. Imagine banks of camellia shrubs and trees with glossy leaves and blossoms showing off their whites, pinks, reds, and yellows like debutantes their designer gowns before musicians opened the ball. Imagine the trickle of a fountain salving the silence and evoking rustic woodlands.

Yes, you’re in a greenhouse, but not an ordinary one. This one was built in 1882 to winterover potted orange trees lest they perish in the cold of St. Louis, Missouri. Their owner was Henry Shaw, British-American businessman, philanthropist, and amateur botanist. His greenhouse, Linnean House, is the oldest continuously operated greenhouse west of the Mississippi.

For many winters, I had tracked that tile floor and relished the sensual bouquet that pampered my psyche—before having to endure winter’s after-bite—and it did bite.

Should you be searching for an oasis of psychic care, try the Linnean House, located on the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Enjoy!