Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Field Trip: W.W. Seymour Conservatory

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
~William Blake (Fragment from "Auguries of Innocence")

Nestled in the north end of the city of Tacoma, Washington USA is the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory.

The community is fortunate beyond measure to have such a treasure in its midst. Listed in the city, state and National Historic Registers, the conservatory was built in 1907 and is one of only 3 on the US West Coast, the others being in Seattle and San Francisco.

On any given day, no matter what the weather outside you can walk into this tropical paradise, bask in its warmth and breathe in the beauty. It is kept at a balmy warm temperature and moderate humidity that makes all the plants thrive. The soft background music slows you down so it is easy to spend an hour taking in all the floral displays, which are changed with the seasons or to reflect holiday cheer. With the first step through the door, life’s stress seems to drop off your shoulders. You are transported to an Eden on this earth.

It is home to dozens of orchids…some rare and some fragrant. You’ll find varieties of palm trees, bird of paradise, papyrus, a lemon tree with huge fruits, a koi pond, flowering treasures from around the world, a gift shop and more.

Do you love orchids?…they have more than 200.
Do you love tropicals?…they have more than 250 plant species.
Do you love live music?…you can hear it there the 2nd Sunday of each month.
Do you love statuary?…they have several that reflect ancient African, Maori and Aztec cultures.

Even if you don’t love to garden but need a little (or a lot) of R&R from time to time, conservatories like this deliver! Wow do they deliver!

Do you have a conservatory nearby in your community? Do tell, I may want to come visit some day.

In Bloom In My Garden Today: English Daisy, Sarcococca, violet primrose

Photos courtesy of Pat Chissus

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Soldier On

"I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January."
~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle  2007

Well my friends I really must apologize to you. In the previous post about the snow that fell last week, I ended it with my usual listing of what’s blooming. I stated ‘no blooms’, but I obviously missed this little one. Check it out…such a trooper!

This is English Daisy (Bellis perennis), native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. This particular one is a horticultural variety I believe. The original species are single flowers, mostly white with a bit of pinkish tinge. It is a meadow plant that needs good soil, moisture, light shade in hot areas and full sun in cooler areas. It is super easy to sow from seed.

Have you ever been to Victoria B.C., to their parliament buildings? The expansive lawns are covered with these guys. So charming. Two springs ago, I ordered a packet of seed from Nichols Garden Nursery.  I sprinkled some of the seed on my mossy path that leads to my compost bin. I just love diminutive plants amongst the pathway, so long as they don’t trip you and they can handle the occasional foot trod. The seed came up so prolifically I had to thin them out. What fun it is to see their cheerful faces. They bloom nearly non stop, even though the catalog says they are spring blooming. Here it is January and several of them are trying to bloom. Not a huge showing but a few flowers none the less, so on my list they go.

I’ll definitely be sowing some of these treasures in my lawn soon!

In Bloom In My Garden Today: bellis perennis, sarcococcoa, viola

Author’s photo

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just A Dusting

There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor's.
~ Clyde Moore

Just a quick post to show you the garden blanketed with last night’s snowfall. This is the perfect kind of snow (in my opinion) here in the lowlands. Here today, gone tomorrow. We got 3-4 inches (7-10cm) in just a few short hours to play in and enjoy but it’ll be all gone by mid-day today. No prolonged freeze to turn it all to ice for days on end, no commuting nightmare, just the fleeting beauty of it. Today’s rain will make short work of it and life will be back to normal. I had to get out before sunrise to snap the pictures before it melted away, it was warming up quickly. The green haze is the glow from our yard light, it doesn’t look that way to us but the camera picked it up.

What’s the weather like in your part of the world?

In Bloom in My Garden Today: no blooms but bulbs are pushing their way up and the Helleborus corsicus and Sarcococca confusa both have buds ready to open.

Authors photos