Thursday, February 18, 2010
There is nothing like walking into a glasshouse on a wet and gray wintery day in the Pacific NW. It's a shame that there aren't more conservatories, even if they are difficult to keep up and care for no matter where they are in the world, since they can be such a joy to behold.
This Sinningia welcomed us when we entered into the Seymour Botanical Conservatory located in Tacoma, WA, but it was truly the whole setting that really drew us in to admire the place's charms. There were amateur photographers in a wide variety of positions attempting to capture the best close-ups possible. There were so many flowers everywhere that it was full of a kind of plant energy that only a conservatory can give off. It's intoxicating whether or not you're an asthmatic like me. (Yes, this is true and a drawback to my love of greenhouses in general.)
The sculpture is one of several staged throughout the structure. They were made by the former conservator Clarence Deming. These add such a great deal to the feeling at the location. Otherwise, without them, the conservatory could somehow be seen simply as a collection of large, overgrown houseplants. The little sculptures throughout add some context, and even perspective.
The Seymour Conservatory is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. And as far as I know, it is one of only a handful of historic public conservatories on the West Coast. Built in 1907, the entire structure holds about 3,500 panes of glass, and the collection there currently contains about 550 plant species. In addition, the floral display in the image above is part of their ongoing program to always have a blooming display year-round.
Friday, February 5, 2010
My husband and I were more than happy to attend the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle this year. Somehow, this has accidentally become an annual vacation for us and as always, we were not disappointed by both the show, and by what Seattle had to offer us in terms of both delicious food and entertainment.
This year the display gardens interested me more than last year's, but the display created by the Seattle Urban Farm Company entitled "Crops for Clunkers" was a huge hit with both old and young alike. I was a huge fan myself. Our other favorite was the gently retouched natural installation by Elandan Gardens, out of Bremerton. The Seattle area has always pushed that NW style element we somehow inherited from Japanese design of the natural being only lightly touched by the hand of man. It was so graceful and fun to see the woods in the exhibition hall with us.
Instead of just sticking with the show this year, or simply visiting just the public gardens, we expanded our horizons a bit again and went shopping on a sunny and crisp day. For some reason I was really interested in finding more houseplants and odd vintage garden items. We found plenty of both, as well as amazing Japanese food not far from our hotel in Old Town.