Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Back to the Amazon Spheres!

The last time I'd visited the Amazon Spheres was before COVID. In 2019—while writing my book—I was got to visit with Matthew Wood, principal at Site Workshop—the landscape architecture firm who, along with NBBJ Architects, designed the project (I wrote a little about the Spheres in the book). 

It was a happy coincidence that the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival coincided with the Spheres open weekend program (first and third Saturdays) and I scored a spot. 

Their Pseudopanax ferox have grown a lot since I was last there.

This one even has multiple heads and maturing foliage. It must have bloomed?

Look how fantastic their Mahonia 'Soft Caress' look! Mine are sticks.

There was evidence they'd cut them back however. I'm guessing maybe to maintain a lower height and fullness?

Astelia looking fine, not so much for the phormium.
Their Pyrrosia sheareri (and friends) look like winter never happened.

The tree fern fronds (Dicksonia antarctica) are crispy but that's to be expected. 

The plants themselves have been going strong since 2018 (I think that's right) and will be fine once it warms up and they're off and running again.

That Agave parryi isn't looking so good.

But that one is.

Ditto for the Agave ovatifolia.

Same plant, another view—from across the dog play area.

Sinopanax formosanus

Anytime I can catch the Seattle Space Needle and the Spheres in the same photo I'll do it. Such great bookends to the Seattle style.

Edgeworthia some-somthing. I think this is one of Dan Hinkeley's Monrovia plants.

Inside now, and a first look up at their stunning green wall.
This is a much smaller version, but still incredible.

It was wonderful to see so many folks there to look at the plants.

Another green wall shot...

And another...

This smaller framed wall piece is full of carnivorous plants. The young lady on the right was telling visitors about the plants.

This lounge on the top level of the spheres looked like a great place to lie back and let the afternoon float by. But I didn't have the time to do that! I had plants to see, more on Friday...

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  1. Oh, the underside of the leaves of Sinopanax formosanus are super! I like how they've swaddled the tree ferns. Green walls, I never get tired of those. If I were rich, I'd have them installed all over the house.

    1. I'd settle for just one green wall in the house, but boy would it be magnificent! I'm picturing it in the shower...

  2. I do want to see the Amazon Spheres some day! I'm amazed that the tree ferns can recover from that condition but then I've never witnessed impacts like that here. In any case, I expect Amazon has no problem paying to replace plants that fail.

    1. The fronds of many ferns can go crispy over the winter and have the plant remain alive. When these first went in I was very skeptical they would survive, but so far as I can tell these are the same plants (not replacements).

  3. Kudos to the caretakers who have maintained that green wall for such a long time. It's not easy. I've watched one wall after another get put up and then taken down a few years later when, seemingly inevitably, the caretakers can't keep up with the demands. It would be fascinating to learn more about how they put the wall together and what they do for scheduled maintenance. (I mean, more details than what I've already seen online).

    1. I wish I could remember all the details I learned when I met with the crew at the Spheres (including the man responsible for the wall). That was many years ago! I do remember that he has an app on his phone so he can monitor that all the systems are working correctly.

  4. Back when we were first getting the one-two vaccine jabs, mine administered at the Amazon office building downtown. The efficiency of the injection operation was stellar, but the joy of seeing the spheres near by, albeit only from the outside, when most everything in life at that time was very stressful, gave me great pleasure.

    1. I can understand completely. You have been inside since then I hope?

  5. I'd so love to see this in person! I may just have to make a special trip to Seattle....


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