A Tropical Urban Oasis

W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

Seymour Conservatory, Wright Park, Tacoma, Washington, USA. Built in 1908.

They call it a hidden gem. It certainly is a gem, but it’s not so hidden. The conservatory is at the edge of Wright just off South “G” Street. Wright Park isn’t exactly hidden, either. It’s on top of a hill high above downtown Tacoma.

Seymour Conservatory is one of my favorite places in the city. When I used to work downtown, I was lucky enough to have a one-hour lunch break. I’d frequently take my coffee break late, have lunch then and use my meal break to walk up the hill to the conservatory. Wandering around the greenhouse was like taking a miniature tropical vacation. The warm, humid air is very relaxing, just the thing when I needed to get away from my stressful job for a little while.

These are photos of plants the I found intriguing or just plain beautiful.

The Ponderosa lemon.

The pretty lemon tree is located right inside the front door. It fruit are almost the size of a man’s head. Who’d have though this huge hybrid is a native of Maryland? I’d have thought maybe Brazil or Argentina. I wonder how many lemon meringue pies could be made out of one lemon?

I took this photo to show the relative size of the lemon to the man’s head.
I like this wrought iron arch.
I was fascinated by the white patches on this tree’s bark.

This is a tree philodendron. The white patches are scars that are left when the leaves come off. This is a native of Brazil. The trunk reached high above my head.

Is it any wonder these huge leaves leave such big scars when they come off the tree?

Another plant whose trunk fascinated me.

It’s hard to tell from this photo whether the fronds are attached to the trunk. They probably are. A visual internet search was of no help in identifying this palm.

Spanish moss. Shades of Tara and Gone Wit the Wind

Spanish moss grows on trees, but it is not parasitic. It’s an epiphyte, an air plant, which gets water and nutrients from the air.

Agave or century plant

This guy’s a “pup” that was taken from the mother plant, which also lived at Seymour. The older plant bloomed in 1988. The flowering stalk was thirty feet (9.14m) tall. To accommodate its height, they had to remover several of the glass panels. The leaves are about 3-5′ (.9 – 1.5m) long. Even though it’s called a century plant, it only lives about ten to thirty years. It’s a native of the southwest United States and Mexico.

African Milk Tree

Is a native of tropical West Africa. It may look like a cactus, but it’s actually a succulent. They grow six to eight feet (1.8 to 2.4m) tall. All parts of the plant are poisonous if eaten. I can’t imagine who would want to. The milky sap can cause skin irritation.

Entrance to the next wing

Yes, there are flowers at Seymour Conservatory. I have so many pictures that I’ll have to save them for the next time. I got so engrossed in finding photos in my collection, editing them, doing research, and writing captions and descriptions that haven’t noticed how much time has passed. I’ve also forgotten to eat.

My photos, not Seymour’s.

4 thoughts on “A Tropical Urban Oasis”

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