ISSUE 49  |  Haute Holiday

Meet Me in Seattle: A Hothouse to Visit on a Cold Day

December 04, 2012 11:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Modeled on England’s Crystal Palace, the 100-year-old sparkly glass house in Seattle’s Volunteer Park has 3,426 window panes, five display houses of exotic plants, and a tropics-worthy level of humidity that will make you forget it’s winter on the other side of the glass:


Above: All the plants in the Volunteer Park Conservatory are grown on-site, most of them from cuttings, according to the Seattle Times. Photograph by Sftrajan via Flickr.


Above: The conservatory has five separate houses, for different kinds of plants, including: cacti, succulents, bromeliads, ferns, and palms. Photograph by Robert Drozda via Flickr.


Above: Agave. Photograph by Robert Drozda via Flickr.


Above: The conservatory is home to a 96-year-old jade plant, grown from a cutting that dates to 1916. Photograph by Daniel McConnell via Flickr.


Above: Nearly a century old and native to South Africa, the Crassula argentea has grown into a jade tree in Seattle. Photograph by J Dong via Flickr.


Above: Built with funds from a $2 million bond issue approved by voters in 1910, the conservatory deteriorated–with rotted wood and rusted ironwork–by the late 1970s and was forced to closed for nearly eight years. Reopened in the mid 1980s, the conservatory has been completely restored. Photograph by Robert Drozda via Flickr.


Above: Staghorn fern. Photograph by Jingqun Luo via Flickr.


Above: Agave closeup. Photograph by Robert Drozda via Flickr. The conservatory is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, see Seattle Volunteer Park Conservatory.

For more winter gardens to visit, see “Baby, It’s Warm Inside: The Phipps Conservatory” and “Modern Vertical Gardens for a Victorian Glass Palace.”