Little House of Exotica on the Prairies

With the wind howling and a blizzard settling in this afternoon, I sat happily ensconced in our city’s little-known plant conservatory. My watercolour teacher decided it was the perfect place to hold a painting workshop this weekend.

Why I have never discovered the City of Regina’s Plant Conservatory is beyond me. This is certainly one sure-fire way of beating back the winter blues with the added bonus of hydrating my skin.

The Conservatory has an incredible collection of Orchids, Palm trees, Succulents and other flowering plants. Today there were numerous massive Amaryllises in bloom.

Then I discovered a Scarlet Sage and suddenly all was perfect with the world. (pic above)

Our class is small and fit into the Conservatory’s atmosphere perfectly. While we were there, a kindergarten class arrived for a tour, story-time and planting seeds. Before they started their tour, the kids all gathered around our teacher and were mesmerised watching her paint.

The class had just left, when suddenly we heard the words, “Will you marry me?” We all turned to see a young guy on one knee proposing to a woman. Would she or wouldn’t she? We watched as she burst into tears and yelled, “Yes, finally”.

Whew … we went back to our paintings and were soon lost in mixing our paints and working on our watercolour washes.

I took lots of photographs and am pretty certain these are the two Orchids (pictured above) I will work on tomorrow.

It was a good day – starting with my weekly fiddle lesson. I’m wanting to learn more tunes by ear and rely less on music. My teacher gave me some good tips which will help. I am also wanting to get more fiddling and painting in and spend less time on the computer.

One of these days, perhaps I’ll be able to figure out a way to play my fiddle among the incredible plant specimens at the Conservatory. In any event, I know with certainty, that I will be making frequent forays back to this ‘little house of exotica on the prairies’.

66 thoughts on “Little House of Exotica on the Prairies

  1. jodi says:

    Exquisite plants, Kate…I can see you playing your fiddle in the conservatory, no problem at all. I’m glad you’re having fun with painting and fiddling (and knitting?). Lucky you for having an instructor to paint with–that would kickstart me, but I can’t seem to motivate by myself.

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    What a great day, Kate. Music, drama, art, cute little kids, beautiful flowers. What more could anyone ask for? Or we, in a post?

  3. Curtis says:

    Winter blues, what winter blues? The conservatory looks like a warm and fragrant place to be on a snow packed day. Here’s hoping you can someday play fiddle to the plants in the conservatory.

  4. jodi says:

    Me again. Your feed just popped up on Blotanical now, at about 0130 Nova Scotia time…which is…uh…1030 Sask time? And I don’t know WHAT time Blotanical is on, but probably Western Australia time. But I read your post some hours ago. How weird is that?

  5. VP says:

    Hi Kate,Thanks for stopping by and Commenting on my blog.Your new found haven from the winter blues looks and sounds wonderful 🙂

  6. gintoino says:

    Beautiful flowers kate! That conservatory seems to be a wonderful place. I’m sure you will visit more often and forget everything is still white and cold outside.

  7. Frances says:

    You sound like the most incredible person, gardener, painter, musician, writer, a jill of many talents. The conservatory will give you many photo ops too, forgot to mention photographer there. Wonderful post.Frances at Faire Garden

  8. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    It’s such a pleasure reading your blog – your description of your day made me feel like I was almost there, and your pictures are…great!Have a good wekend!/Katarina (Sweden)

  9. Threadspider says:

    What a colourful treat for a blizzard filled day. It sounds like you found the perfect remedy for winter blues.

  10. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    Kate, you are such a creative person. I could just feel all of the creativity just bursting in this post. What a fascinating day you had with marriage proposals, little children planting seeds, beautiful color, painting. I hope that although you will do more fiddling and painting, you won’t quit posting on your blog. I enjoy it so much.~~Dee

  11. Chris says:

    It is wonderful to see such vivid colours at this time of year! Everything has been soft here, asleep, but I am amazed how much life is beginning to stir. Spring is coming 🙂

  12. teeni says:

    Oh, that is awesome! I love that you found a conservatory – that sounds like the perfect little slice of heaven in the middle of winter. And how cool that you got to witness a marriage proposal with a happy response! Woo-hoo! This post made me so happy!

  13. No Rain says:

    I didn’t know you played the fiddle! I don’t remember your mentioning it before. The flower photos are lovely, and the Conservatory day must have really added a needed break in the long winter. I’m also trying to stay away from the computer. I have 2 projects with deadlines, and it’s always a dilemma as to which I need (or want) to do!Aiyana

  14. Kat says:

    I love watercolour! I’d like to be better at it. Maybe when the kids are a little older I could find more time to hone my skills. My uncle was excellent with watercolour. Since he’s passed I’ve been wanting to carry on his passion. Pencils, charcoal and pastels are my comfort zone. Please share some of your flowers when they are done!

  15. Jardineira aprendiz says:

    There will surely be lovely paintings! Maybe we can see some of them? :)I am also spending more time playing my guitar in my free time and less on the net – it is healthier that way. (But I always take a look on my favorite blogs!)We already have spring weather and some spring flowers in here, I hope you can have it soon also, although for us your snow landscape seems so beautiful. Have a nice weekend!

  16. Brenda Kula says:

    Your blog is beautiful. The colors, the photography. I have it on my Favorites list!

  17. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh Kate what a fine treasure you found in the conservatory. Your day was so exciting!! Painting sounds like so much fun. I have been lax this winter with painting and playing. I be they wouldlove for you to play your fiddle at the conservatory. That would be fun venue for an impromptu concert.

  18. Sparkling Red says:

    Thank you for brightening my day with these lovely photos!There is a public greenhouse in Toronto that sounds very similar to your conservatory. It’s called Allen Gardens. The only problem there is that it’s not a well-kept secret. It’s sometimes difficult to enjoy the flowers because there’s always a wedding party trying to get you out of the way so that they can take wedding photographs.

  19. Mary says:

    Kate, you have so much to keep you warm. Watercolors, fiddles, flowers… And to witness a marriage proposal and watch kindergartners was a bonus.Life is good, ey?

  20. nikkipolani says:

    Kate, Kate! What a wonderful combination of seeing beautiful blooms and playing with colours – in the midst of a white winter.

  21. Annie in Austin says:

    The “Fiddle-Playing Gardener” label cracks me up, Kate…it will be interesting if someone comes here on a search for that term ;-]When Philo & I were in college we’d also escape the dry cold winter air by visiting a nearby conservatory to breathe and walk on paths with orchids and palms everywhere. How romantic to be a witness to the proposal! Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  22. Mad Man Bamboo says:

    Kate,Great photos. That must have been a great sight among the dull winter day. Thanks for sharing.Sean

  23. Tracy says:

    I think it would be fun for the people I “blog” with to tell others what they find are the most important objects . I believe we could all learn some pretty neat things.I am going to tag a couple people and hope they return to my blog to share with me and others what they use the most when it comes to your houseplant hobby.

  24. A wildlife gardener says:

    I think a conservatory would be the perfect place to play your fiddle, Kate 🙂 I look forward to seeing your watercolour painting as I love to paint flowers too 🙂

  25. grannyfiddler says:

    wow! gorgeous day. maybe the conservatory would like some live music occasionally…. and maybe you could find a friend or two who’d enjoy playing with you there. sounds like a good cure for the winter blues. will you show us some of your finished paintings?

  26. Karine says:

    But if you spend less time on the computer, does that mean we will have less of these wonderful forays into your life??? A shame.

  27. Marie says:

    What a great post! It seems like you had a perfect day at the Conservatory. Lovely photos!

  28. Abby Creek Art says:

    Wow, those are the most amazing photos. The orchids are beautiful. Flowers are little abstract paintings all in themselves. Thanks for the visual treat, Kate! xox

  29. GardenAuthor says:

    Kate – Vivid photos and vivid descriptions… just the right tonic for our winter blahs. And what fine ambitions you pursue. (Clever post title!)On a lighter note, Chuck says, “Hey!” Then he mumbled something like, “Wake me when yon succulent shoots of April hath covered the banks of Lily Pond with the most tender shade of green.” Yep – quite a poet, that Chuck!

  30. Meems says:

    Kate- how nice for you that you have found this perfect place of color and design to inspire your painting AND your fiddling… AND to save you from your winter blizzard woes. Beautiful photos of the orchids and they will make great specimens to watercolor.

  31. Diana says:

    Thanks for sharing all that, Kate. I felt like I was there — and I’d love to be there. The conservatory sounds amazing and your photos were beautiful. Will you post your paintings of the orchids for us? We’d love to see them!

  32. Alyssa says:

    What a fantastic time you must have had. It sounds almost magical. Being amoung blooming and thriving plants really helps the soul. Your photos reflect your favorite colors and are beautiful. Yes, try to play your fiddle in the Conservatory – plants respond to music.

  33. Weeping Sore says:

    Kate, you are a woman of many talents. Thanks for leaving a link to a new blog on mine. I’ve checked back several times and enjoy reading it almost as much as I enjoy reading yours.I think I have the same red salvia in your first picture and somebody told me it’s called “Lipstick” sage. A bit gaudy for my personal taste in lipstick, but lovely in the garden

  34. Rosehaven Cottage says:

    The orchids are just breathtaking! I can’t even imagine what they must have looked like in person. WOW! You know, I have a Pineapple Sage that has blossoms just like the one you photographed. When I crush a leaf it smells just like pineapple. I wonder if the Scarlet Sage at the conservatory is like that. Maybe you’ll have to find out. ;)Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  35. Naturegirl says:

    Kate what better surroundings than a conservatory filled with beauty and color on a cold winters day! Loved the walk with you and your dog! I love your new dew in your profile photo! hugs NG

  36. Kylee says:

    I hope you’ll post photos of your watercolors when they’re finished, Kate. It’s my favorite medium.

  37. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    Isn’t it great that however long you may live somewhere there is always something new to discover? This time you’ve discovered the Regina’s Conservatory and what a great place it is. Love that scarlet sage and the orchids are wonderful too. I particularly like the second one, such wonderful colours and markings.Of course you would love to play your fiddle amongst these gorgeous flowers, I would too if I could play a fiddle. No such luck I’m afraid! ;-)The conservatory wasn’t only a hit with you, was it? It looks like the perfect place for little kiddies and for popping the question too. How very versatile! :-)Keep on knitting!

  38. GardenAuthor says:

    Kate – Welcome back from Denmark and thanks for the encouragement, camera-wise. When sufficient funds have accrued and my technical sagacity has reached a moderate level, there’s a Cannon camera with my name on it, at my local Apple store (where I take classes on all things Mac)… Deb

  39. Pam says:

    What a magical place to find in the middle of winter, wouldn’t I love to spend a day there! BTW, the orchid photographs are exquisite.

  40. Pam says:

    It sounds like a great place for a winter watercolours class – and to play the fiddle! Now that would be fun.

  41. Susan says:

    I’m in search of that scarlet sage for my yard. It is a beauty. The last flower on your post (purple & white) is absolutely striking. It would be difficult not to paint something beautiful at the Conservatory.

  42. Endment says:

    What wonderful color to warm a gray dayI may even have to come back again to bask in these rich colors

  43. priya says:

    oh gorgeous!the delicacy of the scarlet sage, the complexity of the orchids, and all so beautiful.sigh!

  44. Anonymous says:

    Every city should have a conservatory where you can just sit and find solace in all the colour and beauty. That was quite an eventful visit you had there!

  45. Kerri says:

    What wonderful color to brighten your day Kate! The conservatory sounds like the perfect place to push the winter weather into the back of your mind.How sweet to be a witness to the proposal, and the children are such fun to watch, always.I love the photos of your walk to the park with Lytton too :)More snow for us here tomorrow!!I love that Scarlet Sage..and the other gorgeous blooms too. Thanks!

  46. Weeping Sore says:

    Kate,Thanks for your recent comments on my blog. I didn’t recognize your new picture. I’ve been meaning to ask you about your early retirement from disability, and now I learn you went to law school too. You’re full of surprises.

  47. Sarah Laurence Blog says:

    Lovely flower photos, Kate! Also like your dog in the snow. Those 2 blogs back to back are such a contrast. Canada reminds me of Maine.

  48. GardenAuthor says:

    Kate – Glad you enjoyed Holland and Germany, well at least the German spiral chimney. I understand those ‘mini’ pavers are about 4″ long x 2″ wide – now that would be my size walkway or patio project.I’m happy to revisit this particular post, with it’s luscious blooms… we’ve had nothing but snow, sleet, and pounding rain all day. My chihuahua-mix, Lucy, was up to her poor little knees in water, on the way to her yard – next time I carry her, much to her great chagrin (she hates being carried – it’s too undignified, evidently).Until next time….. Deb

  49. Crayons says:

    Oh my! These colors are almost blinding after so many months of deep snow. Thanks for sharing this visit.

  50. chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful jaunt to the Conservatory.Do you take this class once a week?How long have you been painting?What kind of water color paint to you use?I use to love to paint.

  51. Ki says:

    I came upon a process for transforming ink jet printed photos into a watercolor like painting. I thought it was a process for printing the photo onto paper or cloth after soaking the print with water but you just add water to the print using a brush which makes the ink run in a controlled fashion and makes the photo look like a watercolor. A cheaters way to produce great watercolors.Here’s the link. Let me know what you think.http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Turn-a-Digital-Photo-Print-into-a-Beautiful/

  52. Tracey says:

    Fiddle lessons, watercolour classes, greenhouses and a conservatory?Absolutely lovely . . . Tracey

  53. this is my patch says:

    The scarlet sage is gorgeous, I must look out for one of those, I really love red plants in the garden in summertime. x

  54. Diane says:

    Kate, what a great image that evokes: you sitting or standing in the conservatory playing your fiddle. What magnificent orchids those are … so glad you discovered that little bit of heaven so close to home!Diane

  55. Gotta Garden says:

    What delight to come over here! Your photos are wonderful, the writing superb…and the person, herself…well, the best! What a grand day! I had to laugh at the “yes, finally”! Finally! hehe!Yes, go spend more time there and enjoy the magic of flowers blooming when there’s snow and cold outside!

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