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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Fling: The Conservatory of Flowers

 
 
In the evening of the first day of the fling, we gathered at The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, for a delicious catered dinner, raffles, and to pick up gift bags full of treasures given to us by sponsors of the fling. 
 
 
The Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest existing glass and wood Victorian greenhouse in the western hemisphere, is one of the most photographed buildings in the state of California. 

It was prefabricated for local entrepreneur James Lick for his Santa Clara estate but was still in its crates when he died in 1876. A group of San Franciscans bought it and offered it to the city, and it was erected in Golden Gate Park and opened to the public in 1879. (Wikipedia)
The history of the Conservatory and the park  is fascinating so do click on the links above to learn more.


The conservatory was closed to the public for eight years during an extensive restoration and reopened in 2003.

I'll bet that some of those taller palms are from the original planting.

Here we are gathering on the steps for a group picture which can be seen here.

I'd not seen stained glass utilized in a greenhouse before.  The finial atop the dome is 13 feet tall and weighs about 800 pounds.

Looking back from the steps.  Cool bridge, eh?


This is the very top of a massive hundred-year-old philodendron.



 The interior of the building is as fabulous as the exterior. The Conservatory is 12,000 square feet. The central dome is 56 feet in diameter and 55 feet tall. Each arch-shaped wing is 93 feet long.






Even the floor grates are beautiful!


Trevesia palmata.  Love those snowflake-shaped leaves!


Etched glass signage.  Zowie!

Schefflera delavayi with  incised leaves. Major plant lust. 

Alison admiring an amorphophallus and who wouldn't?
 
 
Love this!

And this. 

There was also a butterfly exhibit going on in part of the conservatory.  

You put your proboscis in, you take your proboscis out, you put your proboscis in and you shake it all about.  You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.  That's what it's all about.





I wonder if this turtle's name is Narcissus?   Seems to be staring at his/her own reflection. 
 
 
 

 Hank, The Plant Provocateur and author of Container Gardening chatting with Stefani Bittner and Leslie Bennet, co-founders of Star Apple Edible and Fine Gardening, and whose book, The Beautiful Edible Garden, was given to each of  us by Ten Speed Press.


Get the pitcher? 



 







Barbara Wise, whose book, Container Gardening for All Seasons I was lucky enough to win in one of the raffles,   chatting with a couple of other bloggers near the life sized Victoria amazonica structure.





The dinner was great fun and as we emerged from the event space, we were greeted by this gorgeous evening view of the Conservatory.


One last look back.  Yes, that's a working floral clock in the foreground. 

What an incredible ending to an equally terrific day! 
 

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking me back and I loved every one of your images, but especially the fun post cards. Are these part of a collection of yours or do you find them online?

    (oh and that picture with Scott standing in the shade of a tiny tree with the conservatory beyond is just perfect!!!)

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    1. The fun post cards were for sale at the Conservatory gift shop. Weren't we all searching for any piece of shade we could find?

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  2. All of your photos are wonderful! I really enjoyed this post. That conservatory was magnificent.

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    1. Thanks Alison. I loved visiting this place as it combined my love of plants and Victoriana.

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  3. I still can't believe they almost tore it down to make a parking lot!

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    1. Crazy right? It's fortunate for us that it made it through many trials!

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  4. Just read Scott's reply....unbelievable they almost did that. Stunning glasshouse!

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    1. It's beautiful and was a treat to visit!

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  5. Wow!! beautiful pictures!! what a place!! and what a great post!! I like a lot that Victoria amazonica structure and the hokey pokey song insect version is sooo funny! Adenium obesum over the table in that small container is such a piece of living art!!

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    1. Thanks. I loved so much about this place and it was difficult to choose from the several hundred pictures I took here. I agree, the Adenium obesum is beautiful!

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  6. I've never been to the city when the conservatory was open, so double thanks for this peek inside...and the sunset shots are splendiferous.

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    1. Glad to share it! Hope someday you get to see it in person. Thanks.

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  7. Parking lot??? Good heavens - that is a magical place! So hope to visit some day... Thank you for sharing!

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  8. What a beautiful place! We hope to visit a conservatory in Pittsburgh, of all places, on our upcoming trip.

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    1. I've heard that the Phipps Conservatory is very nice! Is that the one you're thinking about visiting?

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  9. Gorgeous building! What a wonderful day trip. It's like being in a whole other world.

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    1. It was a very special visit. I'm thinking that at 12,000 square feet, there's probably room for a nice bedroom and there is already a kitchen & restrooms so I could move in any time.

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  10. I've been to SF so many times, but I've never been to the conservatory. :( It looks incredible! What an amazing trip. I wish I'd been there.

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    1. I wish you'd been there too! Maybe you'll come to Portland next year?

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  11. I've said this before and I say it again: "You're so lucky to be able to visit such beautiful gardens and places, Peter!" Happy week and gardening!

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    1. You are right! It was a great pleasure to be able to visit this place.

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  12. Looks like a wonderful day spent indulging in history and plants.

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  13. Love this botanic garden! What an amazing flowers!!!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.