Wandering through Seattle’s Volunteer Park Conservatory keeps me sane in winter months. It can’t compare to the Enid Haupt Conservatory that I used to visit in New York, but like so many places in Seattle, it has a charm of its own.

The holiday season means pretty lights and a room full of poinsettias – not my favorite plant, but oh well – with a model train running through it. When the holiday cuteness irritates my aesthetic sense the Cactus House, with its quiet gray-green colors and interesting shapes, satisfies. There’s also the Bromiliad House, and a Palm House set with orchids tucked into glass cases surrounded by Maidenhair ferns, so really, what better place on a gray winter day?

Here is an admittedly eccentric group of images from a visit last week:



  1. We agree on poinsettias! The shot before the cactus looks like Q-tips. My favorite is the orange flowers that I can’t remember a name for. The first orchid (also can’t remember the name) is like one I was given that bloomed for 14 solid months. Amazing. Altogether a nice collection of images.

    • I think they’re called Moth Orchids – Phalaenopsis – they do stay on for a good long time. Isn’t it amazing how they’ve taken off and are in every Trader Joe’s and supermarket now? Thanks for your thoughts Gunta! (Yes, absolutely, it’s gotta be a Q-tip flower!)

  2. Lynn,
    You have such a fabulous eye! These are all wonderful, but my favorites are the delicate yellow cactus blooms in the foreground and the lights in the background as well as that wonderful bird’s eye view of the round cacti with their wheels of spikes. Now I want to get my Nikon down to the Denver Botanical Gardens! Happy New Year!

    • I’m really glad you noticed that one – it was such a cool juxtaposition of flowers and lights with similar shapes & colors. And cacti are such easy, willing subjects! ;-) Yes, go, because I know you’ll do some great work there. I forgot you’re in Denver – or near there

  3. What an enjoyable way to spend some time out of the wintry chill BB …. how long were you there by the way ;-)
    Love those cool sophisticated greys and pale lemons .

  4. A conservatory is a great place to spend a cold winter’s day. We visited the u.s. Botanic garden conservatory right before Christmas and we had model trains there too! As always, your photos are amazing!

  5. A lovely post Lynn – hope your weather isn’t as awful as some of the rest of the US. The photos are all terrific but for some odd reason I’m most drawn to the first shot of the conservatory. Something about the glass panels I think. Anyway, Happy New YEar to you!

  6. Wow. These images are gorgeous. I just melted when you said that you visited the cactus house and the bromeliad house and the palm house! Orchids too! Now, if I die and go anywhere, I hope it’s straight into a conservatory like this one! I enjoyed these images so very much! Thank you.

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