Volunteer Park Conservatory (Seattle): Part Three, The Palm House

Walking from the Cactus House, back through the Seasonal Display House, you arrive where I originally entered at the middle of the building. It is the Palm House and you can see it through the door below. You know, the lovely one framed by the pair of Ficus.
At the actual entrance to the building, you will find a variegated Ficus on one side of the front door, and surprise! surprise!—at the other side too.
The ferns that drape beneath the plants really act as such an amazing barrier but I have to admit that it is very difficult to achieve this kind of look in a home. The humidity necessary can be seen if you look closely at the windows. I struggle and toil with my poor ferns here at home and so often I really wonder why I bother. I think it has something to do with the fact I simply love plants.
I do not know a lot about the Strelitzia (commonly known as the Bird of Paradise flower) except to say that their leaves are really interesting to look at from down below. I know some folks like to grow them as houseplants, but it’s one of those plants that just never seems happy indoors.
This does not look like your average houseplant version though.
Oh, and did I mention the orchids? In true Victorian fashion, they have those too. What makes them even more wonderful is that they are displayed like art. Isn’t if funny how these odd plants fascinate us so much?
The Conservatory’s orchid collection was started in 1921when they were given to the garden by Ms. Anna H. Clise. Staff appear to keep the collection going in the greenhouses behind the conservatory. Only the best ones are put on display. (I am so jealous we don’t have something like this in Portland!)
These always remind me of ribbons on little gift boxes.
Mounted up high on the wall is the true trophy: a Staghorn or Elkhorn Fern. Although these are ferns, they are truly epiphytic. This is a magnificent example of how amazing their form is when they are cared for properly.
The whole Palm House is truly very palm filled and lush.
This last picture is of a really great groundcovering palm relative I’ve never heard of: Palm Grass aka Curculigo capitulata. It reminded me so much of my Panama Hat Palm but after close examination they are very different!

Two more stops to make before I wrap this up! I simply enjoy this place far too much to rush this visit.

4 thoughts on “Volunteer Park Conservatory (Seattle): Part Three, The Palm House

  1. I am loving these posts at the Conservatory! Looking forward to the next installment, but also don't want you to rush it, cause then it will be over.

    Those orchids are beautiful, but the Bird of Paradise is just amazing!


  2. Something that has surprised me is the number of botanical illustrations that exist of strelitzia. It seems I'm constantly running across one I haven't seen before.

    Your tour has been such a treat. With your photos, I can even smell that unique hothouse scent of growing media and growing things. Thank you, Ann.


  3. I think all homes should come with a built-on mini-conservatory so we can grow [albeit on a smaller scale] lush plants like these. If I were in Congress I'd make it a law. Love the combination of ferns and orchids. Great photos!


  4. Alison, Thanks for the patience. I currently have a bone chip in a finger on my right hand and I just have to take my time no matter what my mind may be saying.

    Patricia, I cannot tell you how badly I want to be able to create botanical illustrations. My drawing skills are probably a bit above average, but at least I know that with practice I can improve. I just need to get there and do it. Maybe next winter…

    Grace, I couldn't agree with you more! As someone withe horrible pain and health problems I also wish that all hospitals, convalescent centers, and hospices would add these too. My love of plants has healed me so much more than any medication.


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