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The Smith College Greenhouses. January 31, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: , , ,

This time of year in Massachusetts can be pretty bleak.  We have days on end when the sun doesn’t actually make it through the clouds and the weather, and the palette is nothing but gray.

So it’s really cool that there are places like the Smith College greenhouses.  At this time of year they’re preparing for their spring “Bulb Show,” a lillie-fest that’s hard to beat.

But right now, their perennial collection goes on, and some of it is flowering as we speak.

Here are a few of the blossoms I passed as I wandered the 18 or so rooms of this beautiful subtropical oasis in a New England winter:

It’s a feast of primary colors, that one yellow, this one red:

And a blue one which I used to know the name of:

These were taken in the late afternoon, and as it was dependably gray, the light was pretty low and the (hand-held) exposures were long.  The resulting “softness” of these shots might be deemed poor technique, but if you think of them as “flower porn,” you’ll appreciate the softening of the harsh reality of this dehumanizing trade.

Ahem.  Just making fun of myself there.

And there were some more complicated flowers there too, both in form and in palette, like the orchids:

…some soft and gentle, others more assertive:

Pardon my anthropomorphism, but this is the most sexually explicit plant I have ever seen.  It has a scrotum, a vagina, lots of pink bits, some short black hairs, and just when you were starting to think it was hot,  a phalanx of warts of indeterminate origin.

Thankfully, the Greenhouse Credo constrains us to “Look, but don’t touch.”

Expect more photos from these greenhouses in the future; there’s a lot going on there, and it changes weekly.


1. Laurie B - January 31, 2010

Thanks, I used to work on campus and would scoot over to the jungle room for lunchtimes. They finally put a bench in so I wouldn’t have to sit on a rock everyday.

Is the Spring show the first full week of Feb or March?

NIce photos, thanks for the optimism and color!

2. kkryno - January 31, 2010

OMG; how beautiful is that?!! Thanks for some much needed hope towards Spring. 🙂

3. TheCunningRunt - February 1, 2010

Laurie, Vikki, good to hear from you.

I’m hoping to get back there tomorrow, early enough to set up a tripod and try for some keepers (they don’t allow tripods during busy times like shows,) so I’ll check the bulb show dates. I seem to recall that it’s in March, but I’ll find out for sure.

Also, the Amherst Orchid Show is coming up soon, I’ll check on that too.

4. Tengrain - February 1, 2010

That’s very pretty. Aren’t greenhouses and university collections a marvel?



5. pagan sphinx - February 2, 2010

It’s nice that you got over there. I wanted to go there this past weekend as well. Like you, I was looking for a sultry environment and some color. I was a total recluse all weekend long, instead; nursing my hurt shoulder with a heating pad.

Glad you got out.

6. cd nelsen - February 28, 2010

Thanks so much. Loved the closeups of all the beauties. Can’t wait for the spring bulb show.

7. Emily - April 11, 2011

I really like the blue flowers 🙂 Mind telling me what kind they are?? I’m not very familiar with my types of flowers… (Which is really weird considering my middle name is Rose…)

8. littlebangtheory - April 11, 2011

Hi Emily Rose,

Sorry, I used to know but now I don’t recall – I’m terrible with names, including flowers!

There are some similar ones on our local Bridge of Flowers, and I’ll try to include their name if I see them later in the season.

And thanks for stopping by! 🙂

9. Rita Perry - LaChance - May 27, 2013

Im in that same place of wanting to know the name of the blue flowers. I would like to include them in the Memorial Garden I am putting together for my sons Marine Brothers that were killed in the line of duty. Missing each of them today especially makes it a tough day.

littlebangtheory - May 27, 2013

Rita, it’s wonderful getting a comment on a post that’s over two years old! I’m sorry that I still don’t know the name of these flowers, but feel free to do a “screen capture” of the image and shop it around to greenhouses and flower shops, I’m sure you’ll get a name.

My heart goes out to the Marines and their other-service counterparts who have paid the ultimate price to serve our country, and my appreciation goes out to you for honoring their memory.

Peace to you on this day of remembrance.

10. Scott - June 9, 2013

The little blue flower is called Cineraria.

littlebangtheory - June 9, 2013

Thanks, Scott, and welcome! 🙂

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