Celebrating with the Flowers

How do you know that you love what you do? Many a list and article will give you good answers to that question, and I can offer one sure indicator right now:

I had been cooped up for months making a big push to get this website up and running: shelves stocked, galleries hung, robots ready to assist you. When I finally felt like it was time to cut the ribbon and invite everyone in to come take a look around, I excitedly (nervously?!) hit PUBLISH. After so much work, my first impulse for a celebration was to venture out to the San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers and ... shoot more photos of flowers! (click any image for more info)

First opened in 1879, the Conservatory is one of the oldest conservatories in North America (among many other superlatives) and "offers an intimate up-close experience with rare and endangered plants unlike any other." It is exquisitely beautiful, and one of my favorite places in the city — the air feels different inside (literally), and scents of earth, foliage, flowers, and mist permeate the peaceful atmosphere.

Housed under a 60 ft tall dome and the long, flanking wings of this elaborate Victorian structure are 1,700 plant species arranged in galleries: Lowland Tropics (palms, banana, coffee, and other plants over 100 years old), Highland Tropics (tree ferns, orchids, dracula), Aquatic Plants (pitcher plants, bromeliads, water lilies), Potted Plants, and a Special Exhibition space.

One of my lovely friends needed some Vitamin D as much as I did, and I happily had some company. She fit right in — she has camouflage! : )

I think I lost her a few times because I was knelt down in an odd position with a camera glued to my face for so long, transported into the tiny worlds I visit when getting up close and personal with a new flower — but that's what spacephone walkie-talkies are for!

It still feels exciting every time, no matter how many flowers I meet. The light is different, each bloom is different, even among the same species. The angles, the way two or more flowers overlap each other, the presence of a tiny insect...

I am still surprised sometimes when I see a flower I've met before at HOW TINY they are in reality, because I have been staring at their image made monumental for so long! On the left is an iPhone snap of the Dancing Lady orchid, and on the right is an image I made on a previous trip (prints available here):

Spending time in this beautiful structure, steeped in history and surrounded by lush, vibrant life and robust color is always a soothingly meditative refresher and an easy escape from cement and screen time. It was an perfect celebration for the launch of Collected Works Curios dot com; a sneak peak of one of the images I captured that day:

I'll be adding brand new Botanical images to the shop in the coming weeks — follow Collected Works Curios on Instagram and Facebook for updates on new prints and other curios as they land! In the meantime, a handful of iPhone snaps from the 'party':

Thanks for reading, and make sure to spend some time with the flowers at the Conservatory if you're in town. 10am–4:30pm, closed on Mondays. Admission is $9 adults, $6 for San Francisco residents (discounts for youth & seniors). Click for detailed info. Accessible by SF MUNI bus lines and Golden Gate Park shuttle.

Next Post: the first entry in our Top Five Books category — COLOR!

For new weekly blog posts about all things botanical, anatomical, bookish and vintage, please SUBSCRIBE (click me) to the Collected Works Curios blog! :)

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© Domini Dragoone, 2017

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