Dahlia at Volunteer Park

Dahlia at Volunteer Park

“For dahlias give a jewel-like glow to the heart of the autumn garden, they are, in a mass, so resplendent.”
— Susan Hill, The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year

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Volunteer Park Conservatory

Volunteer Park Conservatory

I spent a wonderful hour on Sunday wandering around Volunteer Park with my camera.  It was a beautiful, sunny fall day — resplendent — and people were out and about enjoying time with family and friends.  The dahlia garden was an outdoor showcase, but I enjoyed the various plants inside the conservatory, too.

Cacti

Cacti

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Foliage

Foliage

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The Gage Academy of Art was hosting a Drawing Jam in the park, and this time I just looked over the shoulders of the participants rather than taking up sketching myself.  A lost opportunity, really, but I was happy this time just photographing.

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Sometimes you just can’t beat a Sunday in the park in Seattle.

Glass flowers by Jason Gamrath at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

Glass flowers by Jason Gamrath at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

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The Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle is currently displaying some glass flowers by artist Jason Gamrath amidst their collection of exotic and not-so-exotic plants.  We went there expressly to see the glass art, but quite frankly, the glass flowers couldn’t hold a candle to Nature’s offerings.  The conservatory has done some remodeling since my last visit.  The seasonal room seemed less crowded and more open, making for a less chaotic experience.  The orchids are no longer behind glass.  Here’s a virtual tour:

Seasonal room, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Seasonal room, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas

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Cactus room

Cactus room

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Orchid

Orchid

Passion flower

Passion flower

Bromeliad room

Bromeliad room

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Thorned Glory

January 5, 2010

Thorns arranged like a sunburst

Detail of cactus, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Thorns, like buttons down the seam of a cactus

Detail of cactus, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Thorned cactus

I was totally captivated by the structured symmetry of the plants in the Cactus Room at the Volunteer Park Conservatory.  There is so much beauty in the rhythmic patterns of thorns on the various cacti.

Lately I’ve been watching the first seasons of Project Runway on DVD, and while I was busy photographing these unusual cacti, I couldn’t help but imagine how fashion designers could find inspiration by visiting this room at the Volunteer Park Conservatory.