Glass flowers by Jason Gamrath at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

Glass flowers by Jason Gamrath at the Volunteer Park Conservatory


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








Cactus room

Cactus room





Passion flower

Passion flower

Bromeliad room

Bromeliad room





Jello mold with rabbit

Jello mold with rabbit

While I was out driving in the country north of Seattle, I stopped by Jello Mold Farm to walk in the flower fields.  The beds are still awaking from winter dormancy.  A few more warm days, and this will be a totally different landscape.  Right now, the farm holds just the promise of blooms.

Here are some photos:

Bundled twine in readiness for planting

Bundled twine in readiness for planting



Yellow against gray -- forsythia

Yellow against gray — forsythia

Pussy willow and catkin

Pussy willow and catkin

“I have a little pussy,
And her coat is silver gray;
She lives in a great wide meadow
And she never runs away.
She always is a pussy,
She’ll never be a cat
Because — she’s a pussy willow!
Now what do you think of that!
— author Unknown

Winter bed

Winter bed

Seed head

Seed head

New buds

New buds

Old seed cases

Old seed cases

Single dangling chestnut

Single dangling chestnut

Fallen chestnuts

Fallen chestnuts

Net over peony beds

Net over peony beds



Last season's hydrangea bed

Last season’s hydrangea bed

Dried hydrangea

Dried hydrangea

Wheelbarrows at rest

Wheelbarrows at rest

















Fallen Japanese maple leaf on hydrangea flowers

“Now the last leaves are down, except for the thick, dark leaves of the oak and ghostly beech leaves that click in the breeze, and we’re reduced to a subtler show of color — brown, gray, and buff, perhaps a little purple in the distance, and the black-green of moss, hemlock, and fir.  To my eyes these hues are more beautiful than the garish early autumn with its orange leaves — orange, the color of madness — and leaves the color of blood.  Let hot life retire, grow still:  November’s colors are those of the soul.”
— Jane Kenyon, “Season of Change and Loss”

“As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint, just before they fall, so the year near its setting.  October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “October, or Autumnal Tints”

These photos show the late November color palette in the Pacific Northwest:

Tree-lined driveway at Maplehurst Farm, Skagit Valley

Rose hips

Stewartia pseudocamellia fruit

Stewartia pseudocamillia

Another fallen Japanese maple leaf on hydrangea plant

Fallen Japanese maple leaves on Atlas cedar trunk

Watercolor sketch of oak and maple leaves


The Flower Market in November

November 12, 2012

“After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. . . ”
Wallace Stevens

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in November

You can see the change of seasons at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  In November, the wild, glorious, rainbow hues of summer blooms have been replaced by the quieter browns and greens of late autumn.  There is an abundance of twigs and branches and dried grasses with seed pods.  And a hint of the holidays in holly sprigs and branches.  The sculptured forms of plants and flowers seem more evident now that your eye is no longer saturated with color.  This has its own beauty.

Holly from J Foss Garden Flowers

Giant balls of dried hydrangea

Buyer with hydrangea

Globe Amaranthus and grasses from Oregon’s Best Specialty Flowers

I love the colors in these dried flowers — don’t know what they are called

Decorating with tree trunks and rounds

Dahlias the size of dinner plates from Jello Mold Farm

This root/bulb looks like an underwater sea creature amidst the orange pumpkins

Lining up purchases on the loading dock, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Interior, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, in November

Broken sprig of holly on the loading dock

Back in July, I posted a mini-series called “Walking the Color Wheel.”  As I walked around Seattle, I paid special attention to the colors of summer — reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and purples.  With this post, I’ll take you around the color wheel again to share my enjoyment of the colors of autumn.

Red is the color of maple leaves.

Red globe amaranthus

Orange pumpkin

Orange-colored dahlia

Yellow hypericum

Fall foliage in yellows near Manson, WA

Hairy green chestnut burrs

Pelargonium leaves

(Occasional) blue skies

Late, fading hydrangea

Purplish hydrangea

Purple dahlia





















“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
–Alice Walker

Pale purple gladiolus

A purple trio of geranium flowers

Purple pansies all in a row

Purple poppies

Lovely magenta poppies


Somewhere between purple and red, knautica macedonica

Plum-colored hydrangea


Clematis vine

Late season lavender

Fuchsia-colored foxglove, purplish pink

Purplish-pinks and blues of sweet peas

Plums, Pike Place Market

Bing cherries, Pike Place Market

This concludes our walks along the color wheel.  Hope you enjoyed the rambles!

The blue-ribbon days of summer!

Hydrangeas in blues and purples

A bush of blue hydrangeas

Garden art: blue plate in a garden gate

I love the blue stems of sea holly


Nothing but blue skies (Just kidding — this is Seattle, after all!)

Chihuly Garden and Glass sculpture brings this quote to life: “There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

Blue window trim, Post Alley


Sweet blueberries, just picked

Sandra Cintro’s Encontro das Aguas (Encounters with Water) at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

More Dried Hydrangeas

March 5, 2012

Dried hydrangea

Dried hydrangeas

Watercolor sketch of dried hydrangeas


Limelight hydrangea in a winter garden

One of the glories of Jello Mold Farm in winter is the hydrangea bed.  I loved seeing how the hydrangeas dried naturally on the stalk.  The Limelight variety had particularly dense clusters of dried flowers on its conical heads.  The dried petals are paper-thin and translucent — lovely in the morning light.

Hydrangea bed at Jello Mold Farm

Limelight hydrangea -- a study in browns

Pink Diamond hydrangea in a winter garden

The light shines through the thin petals of this dried hydrangea


Dried Hydrangea

February 4, 2012

Watercolor sketch of dried hydrangea

This dried hydrangea head makes an interesting model for my Winter nature sketches.

Dried hydrangea blooms

Dried hydrangea flower