Monday, June 17, 2024

W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park

As I mentioned in my overview post on June 5th, I was recently up in the Tacoma area for a garden talk and stopped in at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park
The conservatory at Wright Park came about thanks to a generous gift from William W. Seymour, president of the Tacoma Board of Park Commissioners from 1909 to 1911. According to this source it's one of only three public Victorian-style conservatories on the West Coast. I would assume the other two are the Conservatory at Volunteer Park in Seattle and the Conservatory of Flowers in San FranciscoI was last at the Seymour in 2010, so a few things had changed in the intervening 14 years.

Castor bean plants (Ricinus communis) just to the side of the door into the conservatory.

You know as soon as I walked in and saw that ginormous agave, I wanted to run straight to it, but no. I played it cool and slowly worked my way over there. 

Stopping to admire the hanging plants...

And their blooms (hello hoya some something).

And the Strelitzia nicolai (black bird of paradise)...

And it's striking bloom.

Finally, there you are my pretty!

Its companions included this cute little aloe...

And a handsome Mangave 'Purple People Eater'.

Moving on through the main building to the north wing...

Where the tropical plants seem to all be hanging out.






As I was wandering through this part of the conservatory an older fellow (uncle? grandpa?) and a young girl of about 3 or 4 came in. He was trying his best to get her interested in the plants but all she wanted to do was go back to the car and watch Shrek. Poor guy.


I loved this!

The basket reminded me a little of the root basket of the agaves I adopted last December (here), but I think someone took the time to make this one.

The various vertical plant elements in the conservatory had me smiling. They were all so good.





Perhaps the largest nepenthes I've ever seen...

And the biggest and best of all, the green wall in front of the gift shop.


It's basically a smaller version of the green wall at the Amazon Spheres.

Little baby ferns on a woodwardia.

At the base of the wall you can see the material holding the plants, a couple of empty pockets and the drainage system for the water.

I took a few more photos outside the conservatory, where it was obvious winter hit them hard, just like here in my garden. The bananas were just waking up (Musa basjoo I assume) and a palm shows some signs of damage.

Colorful forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) and autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora).

Despite the small visitor who couldn't be bothered to get excited about the plants, I do think conservatories are so very important to the communities they serve. They provide a place for people to go and see plants from other parts of the world, to become interested in the natural world. I'm sad that we don't have anything like this in Portland. Hopefully that will change with the Portland Botanic Gardens movement.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Eight months of Mondays in the garden (Part Three)

Today's post is the third and final of the series. In my introduction (at the top of the first post) I shared why  I decided to take all this photos, and I've shared my thoughts about each photo as we go. There are a couple of other things that occurred to me as I edited down the images to a manageable number. First of all, the prevalence of blue sky, or at least dry conditions with a hint of sun. I tried to always take these photos on a Monday, regardless of the weather, yet there are a surprising number of days where it's dry and the sky is clear—which is not how I think of October thru May in Portland, Oregon. Perhaps it was the fact we were in an El Niño.

I was also a little surprised by how the garden still held visual interest for me throughout the project. I suppose that ties into why I did it (to determine when things ceased to be autumn lovely, and became winter ugly). This had me thinking back to David Culp and his philosophy of looking closer even in the wintertime: "The changing of the seasons gives us so many more reasons to enjoy the garden. If the seasons were all the same, we would have nothing to look forward to, and perhaps no sense of urgency to enjoy them as much." 

Today's post starts looking south across the patio at the shade pavilion, October 9th 2023. It's obvious to me that some containers have already been pulled (for the winter migration), but of course there are still plenty left in place.

October 16th, the shade pavilion is now in greenhouse mode.

October 24th, the shelves inside the greenhouse are filling up, and there's a huge tetrapanx leaf (even bigger than the magnolia leaves) that's fallen on the right of the table.

October 30th, I've left the table and chairs in place so we could eke out every possible outdoor moment.

But by November 6th they've been stored for the winter. The neighbor's maple is colored up and starting to drop it's leaves. It feels like about 80% of them end up in my garden.

November 20th, I am amazed at how long the tetrapanax have held on to their leaves (visible on the right, above the shade pavilion).

December 11th, that's a bare patio.

January 1st, a glowing greenhouse!

January 8th, I've started to pack everything that I can move into the greenhouse.

January 17th, Wednesday. The storm started Friday afternoon (the 12th) and I completely forgot about taking photos on Monday the 15th. By Wednesday things had gotten even icier and there was no way I was going to try and get down onto the patio to take my usual shot. You can see both stock tanks behind the garage were wrapped up, as well as the fern table.

January 22nd, it's above freezing!

February 19th, a few containers have emerged from the greenhouse, ready to go back in if needed.

March 5th, I'm playing with the Leo planters and deciding where they'll live.

March 25th, an order from Little Prince of Oregon has been picked up and plopped down on the patio (on the left, corner). 

April 15th, the neighbor's maple is looking alive and I've got plants everywhere...

April 22nd, the walls came down!

May 13th, the plastic bins under the shade pavilion are because we were away for a long weekend and the temps climbed into the 90's, I put some vulnerable plants in the bins with a bit of water.

May 20th, the furniture is out and most of the containers have migrated—although I see the bromeliad trashcan lids aren't yet on the metal tubes behind the garage and the containers that hang under the shade pavilion aren't all in place.

June 4th, yes! That's the way I like it.

Okay, the final view! Standing on the patio looking back towards the house, October 9th.

October 24th, isn't that fern on the bench amazing? It's Phlebodium aureum and it spent the entire winter outdoors—of course it was in the greenhouse for the week from hell.

November 6th. The leaf clean-up goes on and on around here. I feel like they came and went too fast in these photos. I must have cleaned them up towards the end of the weeks and so the Monday photos didn't reflect all that fall (and blow in).

November 14, agave covers in place and the blue sky certainly shows off the neighbor's tree all a flame.

December 6th, grey day and more plants going dormant.

January 1st, such a beautiful New Year's Day.

January 17th, honestly... I am so glad this is the last time I'll be reliving this winter nightmare via photos.

January 22nd, still a little ice in places.

February 5th, there's a pile of wood on the patio, but I don't think this photo makes it immediately obvious where it came from unless you page up and compare. Do you see it? 

February 19th, the light in this photo illuminates the scene of the tree crime. Yes, we hacked back the Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'. Why? Well part of it (but only the south half) had a bad case of Albizia psyllid (at least that's my ID, I'm certainly no expert). Mid summer sticky honeydew and cotton-like silk strands fell on everything below. It only seemed to affect part of the tree, so we'll see if this drastic cut back solves it, if not then the whole thing will come out. 

March 11th, if you're wondering about the odd branch that it looks like we left behind when we cut the Albizia julibrissin, that's actually my very tall, and very narrow, Embothrium coccineum, the Chilean firebush. You'll see it in bloom in a later photo.

March 18th, the covers are off the in-ground agaves. All of the Agave bracteosa and Agave 'Mateo' along the patio wall lived through winter's destruction.

March 25th, I'll call your attention to the sad looking palm about middle of the photo. both of my Trachycarpus wagnerianus were hit hard by the wind and ice, many fronds were broken at the base. It could have been worse, I've got a few Portland friends who lost their palms, and my Trachycarpus fortunei (shown in Monday's post, the tall one against the orange wall) didn't suffer at all. This was how it looked after I cut off the broken and bent fronds that kept hitting us in the face when we walked by.

April 15th, the Podophyllum pleianthum planted at the base of the magnolia (tree on the right) are up.

April 29th, the containers are free! Well, some of them.

May 20th, Clifford (the big leaf magnolia) has almost achieved maximum leafage and red blooms are starting to show on the Embothrium coccineum at the back of the house.

June 4th—this my friends is the end! I hope you enjoyed this very quick walk around the garden as we raced through the weeks. Summer is ahead! (no, that's not the next series)

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.