Friday, August 2, 2013

Fling 2013 - The Conservatory of Flowers

Conservatory Header copy
At the end of our first day of the Fling, we all gathered at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park for an evening meal.

outside conservatory
Built in 1868, it's the oldest wood and glass conservatory in North America. Over the years, it fell into disrepair, and believe it or not, in the 1990's was slated for demolition to make way for (wait for it) a parking lot!

Conservatory garden copy
Luckily, it was placed on the 100 most Endangered World Monuments list and eventually, with the help of a massive fundraising campaign, has been brought back to its original splendor.

Conservatory saxonConservatory agapanthus an copy
Ok, enough with the history lesson, back to the Fling! We were lucky enough to have Saxon Holt take our group portrait on the steps leading up to the conservatory.

Conservatory agapanthus peekaboo
There were Agapanthus everywhere...I can think of several Portlanders who would have been swooning.

Conservatory ceiling copy
The interior of the conservatory is gorgeous...frosted glass ceilings soar overhead.

Conservatory crazy fruit 2
All manner of crazy tropical plants thrive in the warm, humid air.

White Flowers
Some are quite elegant.

Conservatory photo op copy
The wine flowed and camera shutters clicked.

Conservatory fruitsConservatory nepenthes
People clamored to view the exotic plants around them.

Conservatory curling leaf copy
Looks like the hose might have missed a spot!

Conservatory frond
Lush jungle-ness everywhere.

The conservatory itself was what captured my imagination, however...such attention to details!

Conservatory hairy stem
I wanted to reach out and touch this plant...but resisted.

Conservatory orchidConservatory stained trunk
There was an orchid display in one of the many rooms...and I was intrigued by how the light from the stained glass panels overhead painted the plants with playful patches of light.

conservatory moth orchid
Orchids...clinging to seemingly every surface!

Conservatory trunk
What texture!

Conservatory waterlily wide
My favorite part of the conservatory was this huge, elevated pond. It was amazing to be able to look right across the edge of the water...without getting on my stomach!

Conservatory building dusk
It was a relief to emerge from the warm, wet interior into a fresh bay breeze. The building is so photogenic, don't you think?

Conservatory white flower 1
I leave you with another shot from along the pond's edge, I hope you enjoyed this foray into the Conservatory of Flowers. This marks the end of our first day on the Fling...up next, we have an early-morning photo lesson with Saxon Holt!

conservatory evening


  1. I loved that elevated pond too. I bet every single one of us got a shot at water level. Thanks for posting yours, you got some really lovely pictures.

  2. Although the Conservatory was severely damaged by a freak storm in the 1990's, I never heard or read about demolition plans for such a beloved treasure.
    A possible urban myth?
    There was controversy surrounding the de Young Museum underground parking lot nearby, but that was a few years later.

  3. Gorgeous!
    Oh, how I'd LOVE to see that conservatory in person. WOW!

  4. Gorgeous pictures as always, Scott! Your post took me back to that special night in that incredible treasure of a conservatory! Yowza! that's some gorgeous place!

  5. Holy f%^&#g crap! Parking lot??? People are sick..... Those lilies are wonderful, and I hope Saxon Holt was able to learn some of your photography tricks! ;)

  6. Fabulous pictures, Scott. You do an amazing job capturing the light, inside and out.

  7. Splendid , splendid photos Scott; I was so disappointed by my camera malfunction here-what fabulous photo ops, as you have clearly demonstrated .

  8. What a gorgeous place! I'm so glad it was preserved - it looks like a phenomenal place to visit and enjoy.

  9. You and your camera must have been very happy there.

  10. A frog's eye view of the pond, great! I enjoyed the orchids there. I noticed the Nepenthes pods, I had one that succeeded a few years, but finally bit the dust. They are wonderful, they don't have to overwinter outdoors.

    1. Hey Scott,
      Thanks for sharing with the gift of your photographic skill. From your images it appears to rival what I saw at the Crystal Palace greenhouse at Kew. Love the architecture images but the stain glass reflecting on the trunk brought a big smile to my face. Well done.

  11. thanks for sharing your insight into this beautiful building.

  12. You are right there Scott, the building itself is so photogenic!

  13. What a wonderful to story about our fabulous night! Love your pictures and perspectives. And the history, too!

  14. I want to live in the conservatory.

  15. Your pictures, as always capture the essence of the experience. Drinks, dinner and a conservatory full of garden bloggers. What a fantastic evening that must have been!

  16. Thanks for taking us on this tour of such a magnificent place. What a tragedy it would have been if this place had been demolished for a parking lot!

  17. Great photos, but I find when the wine flows, my idea of what is going to be a great shot is different the next day. I was at Longwood last week and got down on my belly to take waterlily photos, I would have appreciated that elevated pond.