Friday, January 28, 2011

The Conservatory at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

A short trip on the highway and a few peaceful country miles from my home is Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina.  I often drive out here to stroll around -- there is always something interesting to see.

Large golden Chamaecyparis greet you at the entrance to the gardens and long vistas of ponds, grasses and waterbirds invite you further in.   But it isn't what's outside that I drive to see this time of year -- it is the conservatory and the 4th annual Orchid Spectacular exhibit.

Leave winter's shades of gray behind for a little while and step inside.  The sweet scent of thousands of blooming flowers will take you to another world for a while.

Just inside the door, going clockwise around the conservatory, Tillandsia balls hang and  on a trellis and planters overflow with tropical orchids. The sun begins to peek out from behind the clouds.   Do you feel like Dorothy now?

Climbing on the trellis (and in the background of this photo) is the Flaming Glory Bower I posted about  earlier this week. Throughout the conservatory are lush orchid and bromeliad filled containers.  These photos only give you an idea -- they are so extravagant and gorgeous!

Pass under an arch of air plants (Tillandsia spp.) and look back to see Madagascar palm (Pachypodium rutenburgianum).  This tree is not a palm at all -- the leaf arrangement and blooms are like Plumeria, to which it is related.  Madagascar palm stores water in the trunk so it can survive seasonal drought in its native home, Madagascar.  Large thorns all along the trunk and stems help it keep its stored water mostly for itself.

Also in this succulent garden -- Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). The coral-pink flower in the foreground is Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii).

Filling in between the arches is a banyan fig (Ficus benghalensis).

A container full of succulents surround the flapjack plant (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora).  Mother of Thousands plant is just to the right of this display.

Beyond the succulent garden is the dramatic orchid waterfall.

Hanging lobster claw, sweetly scented begonia and croton line the path beyond.

This striped bromeliad with its red and white inflorescence is looking a lot like tropical Christmas to me.  It's one of my favorites.

Tree branches support an array of orchids, air plants, and other bromeliads. Overhead is the Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana).

If you love orchids, the Garden has a collection of over 5,000 and hundreds of them will be on display until March 14th.

A case full of miniature orchids comes into view as we come full circle.  Is there anything more charming than miniatures?

And then, one more lovely display as we near the exit door.

Thank you to Kylee at Our Little Acre for hosting the Conservatory World Tour.  For some great therapy for the winter blues, stop by her site and take the virtual tour for youself.


  1. Oh my GOODNESS! This is GORGEOUS! Those Tillandsia archways... and using orchids in container mixes... I'm so glad you participated in this, Daricia! This conservatory is outstanding!

  2. I have been wanting to visit Daniel Stowe for over a year and each time I planned a trip I had to cancel. I will make it a priority to get there soon. Thanks for the virtual tour!

  3. Thanks for the beautiful tour I especially love the arches. I will try to make a point to visit the Conservatory the next time driving through Charlotte.

  4. What a great idea those Tillandsia arches are, and it is nice to see some color, even if it is indoors.

  5. Beautiful! I love the orchids and the "palms".

  6. Let's long will it take me to get to Daniel Stowe??? Will have to map it out and take a long visit. Just beautiful!

  7. Thanks for the great tour of this conservatory. Wow they have some beautiful things there. Those arches filled with air plants are incredible and someday I would like to have an orchid waterfall in my house. :)

  8. Thanks for the tour. The arches and flowers are just beautiful. This would be a fantastic place to visit.

  9. The latest issue of How to Find Great Plants is here and your nasturtiums post is listed. It's wonderful, I'm so glad you included it! Thanks so much for participating, I hope you will again next month. Here’s the issue:

    These botanical garden photos are absolutely stunning!

  10. What beautiful photos! Last summer our family visited your conservatory. We loved it! We spent the day checking out the outside gardens and did not have time to check out the conservatory itself. We will definitely return when we are in the area again. Thanks for posting the photos and information.

  11. These photos are gorgeous! I have to visit this garden when I'm in Hickory visiting the fam!

  12. It looks like a great place to visit! loved the orchid waterfall

  13. thank so much to all of you for visiting and commenting! i hope you get the chance to see the daniel stowe's well worth your time.