I’ve considered two openings for this post. Which do you like better?

If you’re in a house designed to keep everything warm and balmy, but when you came in from the outside you ended up cooler, can you still call it a hothouse?


If we know flowers for their flashy colors, their amorous aromas, and their plethora of shapes and textures, is it fair to classify them as conservative?  If not, why would you find them a conservatory?

To be fair, I’ve never heard of a liberal-tory.  I bet that sort of place would be good for experiments, trying to improve on the status quo.

Mother Nature has been experimenting for eons, and the changes she’s come up with are doozies.  I’m not sure if she’d qualify as a liberal because she’s made such radical changes from where everything started, or a conservative because it took her so damn long.


Before we go down this rathole even further, let’s cut to the chase.

In my last post, we left off at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina.  In part one we roamed the grounds outside, under the hot sun. But there was another section we visited, indoors, in a conservatory – or hothouse.  (That’s a greenhouse, for those are still questioning the terminology.  You know, one of those glass houses where you shouldn’t throw stones?)


This particular hot-vatory had an assortment of goodies, but orchids were front and center.  Orchids are the high fashion models of the flower kingdom: long skinny legs, a variety of looks, lots of colorful make ups, and according to some, finicky to work with.



The truly hoity-toity high fashion models pose in black and white photos.  Far be it for the orchids to miss a beat here.



While the orchids may think they’re the center of the floral universe, there are other types around.  Including a few that don’t like to get their feet dirty.

Air Plants

You may think these airheads (Tillandsia) would be high maintenance.  But no.  All they need is a place to glom onto with their roots (but none of that nasty dirt stuff), and someone they can tell “play misty for me”.  (Extra points for those who recognize that vague reference.)


Ok, ok, so I gave orchids a bad rap. They’re actually air plants themselves, but are more finicky than the Tillandsia.  This is in part because there are so many varieties, and they don’t all march to the same drummer.

Then there are plants that have a really different drummer…


This isn’t the stem of a rose on a massive overdose of plant steroids.  I don’t remember exactly what it is, but research suggests it may be a small Kapok tree.  Or a Ceiba tree. Or a Silk Cotton tree.  Likely all of the above.  Whatever it’s called, it gets really, really tall, and those inch-long thorns give the impression it’d be a bad place for a bear to get a back rub.

At least they impressed this lady.


Or guy, maybe.  It’s not fair to assume only ladies wear funny hats.

The tree wasn’t the only dangerous looking beastie in the hothouse.  This very grown up version of a Venus Fly Trap looks like it would happily eat your arm for lunch.  Feed me, Seymore.  (More points here for recognizing a vague reference.)

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It turned out we visited the gardens during a glass art exhibition. So, not only would this Fly Trap give you it’s best disarming smile, it would leave glass shards behind for good measure.

It wasn’t the only carnivorous critter with a glass jaw in the house.  This guy looks like a cross between an orchid and a pitcher plant, waiting to slurp down some gigantic insect. Frankly, I think I’d rather face off with this than a two-foot wide spider.


Orchid? Carnivorous plant? 50/50? Whatever it is, it was big and impressive, and I have no clue how the glass artist pulled it off.

How about a picture of pitchers?  Although, even if they’re glass pitcher plants, I don’t know if I’d want them on the dinner table. Who’d be hungrier? Who would suffer more from acid indigestion?

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Call it a hothouse, call it a conservatory, call it an orchid house; whatever the name, it was an impressive display of art – both human and natural.

52 thoughts on “Hothouse

    1. It’s kind of fun to take the universe for a spin from time to time, instead of taking it all too seriously. The irony being, many folks who’ve been around me (especially professionally) might describe me as the serious type.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I got both of the oblique references, which amused me nearly as much as your punny jokes. But the real highlights were the plants, particularly those tillandsias. We have two species that are common as dirt around here (Spanish moss and ball moss) but some of these are remarkably attractive.

    I like the glass art, too. I’m a great fan of Chiluly, and hope to see one of his installations someday, but these pieces are quite nice: especially the pitcher plants. As for the tree trunk, it looks like some sort of medieval torture device. Cut one down, split it, and then invite an enemy or an initiate to walk over it: real fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’ve got plenty of moss around here. It tends to take over the lawn every winter and put a green carpet on old cement. But not so much of the hanging stuff.
      I’ve seen a bit of Chiluly’s stuff. Of maybe his designs – he hasn’t actually blown glass for years.


  2. “Little Shop of Horrors,” of course! I didn’t find the reference vague at all, but then again, I’m “of a certain age” as they say. Hollywood is about due for a remake of that film, come to think of it. In fact…

    In January 2020, Full Circle Cinema reported that a remake of the film is in the works, with Taron Egerton in talks to play Seymour Krelborn. It was also reported that Scarlett Johansson has been offered the role of Audrey and Billy Porter would be voicing Audrey II.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I LOVE conservatories! I especially liked them when I lived up north for so many winters; they were the perfect escape. Judging by the glass pieces you showed, it was not a Dale Chihuly show in there. We saw one of his exhibits in a conservatory once, and it blew me away – the flowers and plants and glass pieces looked like they’d been together forever.

    I think my favorite view here today was the arch of air plants; I’ve never seen them growing like that, and getting them all together in a shape really helps overcome the fact that they’re kind of boring on their own!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nope, not Chihuly. The arch was interesting; I had to get closer to it to see what it was all about. I wish we had glasshouse conservatories around here. We have plenty of nice gardens but not so much to see in the winter months.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Feed me, Seymore! Boy weren’t you punny today, Dave. And there is nothing wrong with a hot house being cool. It brings in a younger crowd. Particularly if they are on the hot side. Love your flower shots as always. You seem to have really found your passion. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some folks enjoy the puns, others not so much. I notice WordPress is good at telling us when we get a new follower, but not so much when folks throw up their hands in disgust and unsubscribe. 😉

      I’ve always like flower pictures; they’re easy targets and often easily accessible. Low hanging visual fruit, if you will.


      1. No problem with me, Dave. I like puns!

        There is something about flowers that makes them great subjects. How they just sit there and let you take their photo, unlike a jack rabbit, for example. And they are so darned pretty. My only problem is the breeze that always insists on starting to blow as soon as I focus on a flower. 🙂 –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Not many votes on the opening, but it looks like #1 is the winner. As for the post, I’m sure you know the feeling of trying to write something pithy about a subject that isn’t that earth shaking…


  5. An interesting concept to have a glass art exhibition inside a greenhouse. Those artists could really have gone funky displaying in that environment.

    I visited the National Orchid Garden in Singapore last year – Singapore is an open air greenhouse. They’re beautiful plants but so many “boutique” varieties, it’s mind-numbing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t find those references vague at all, but I guess I am of the age where they would seem familiar. Lots of wonderful orchids. My wife raises a few and like these they are quite beautiful. Those glass pitcher plants are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a mystery to me, Dave. Doesn’t seem that long ago I wondered what it would be like to be married and here we are, nearing our 36th anniversary. I’m more of a cactus guy but Mary Beth loves her orchids. Cacti are harder to kill but I am up to the challenge sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I prefer the second opening!
    This and your previous post have me missing Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia. I was a member and used to visit several times a year. The Western Slope of Colorado has nothing like that. I suppose the botanical garden in Denver would be nice. Well, and photographing the wildflowers isn’t a bad trade-off I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

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