Welcome to Volunteer Park Conservatory
Located in beautiful, Seattle, Washington
at the north end of Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill.
The conservatory is a Victorian-style greenhouse modeled on London’s Crystal Palace.
The City’s Parks Department staff erected the building, completing the work in 1912.
The conservatory is a registered United States Fish and Wildlife Service repository for confiscated plants. As such, it acquires, quarantines, and later displays restricted orchids, cycads, and other plants seized by USFW agents.
The conservatory built up its specialty plant collections through donations from individuals.
Between its glass ceilings and walls, the conservatory displays thousands of living specimens for public viewing, while thousands of additional specimens are cultivated in the adjacent greenhouses.
Four of the conservatory’s five display houses – bromeliad, fern, palm, and cacti and succulents – feature plants from a single plant primarily along with other accent plants.
A fifth house, the seasonal house, features different plants based on the season.
Volunteer Park Conservatory has 3,426 panes of glass
The oldest plants on display now are probably the Sago Palm and the Jade Tree. Both are over 75 years old.
A chalky paint sprayed on the glass in early summer to protect the plants from excessive sun and heat. In the fall the white wash is removed when days become shorter and darker.
More than 150,000 people visit the Conservatory annually.
There are 3.5 Seattle Park Department gardeners (one works summer only). The Friends of the Conservatory has three paid staff and also provides many volunteers to help with all kinds of tasks.
The name “bromeliad” refers to plants in the Bromeliaceae family. More than 2,400 bromeliad species grow worldwide.
Bromeliads are commonly epiphytes, which grow by attaching themselves to another surface such as a branch or rock.
Members of the spine plant family Cactaceae, native to the Americas, are known as cacti or cactuses.
All cacti are succulents – plants which have adapted to arid climate or soil conditions and store water in their leaves, stems, and/or roots – but not all succulents are cacti.
The conservatory’s collection includes cacti genera such as Opuntia, as well as succulents from other genera such as Pachypodium, Haworthia, Agave, Aloe, and Euphorbia.
Photography by: Samantha Cubillos
Halter Top: Lucid Dreamer Halter Top by SOVI FIT
Location: Volunteer Park Conservatory, Seattle, Washington