Friday, April 18, 2014

My Favorite Greenhouse




My Favorite Greenhouse

Aren't there times when you just want to escape from the every day world?  One of my favorite places to go, to escape, is Ott's Exotic Greenhouse in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, USA.  It is about 10 miles from home (an estimated distance) and is exactly the kind of place to refresh the mind and soul.  They call themselves an "Exotic Greenhouse", and indeed they are in many ways.  They have rooms of flowers, a waterfall, little pond with fish and even a turtle.  I discovered the turtle sunning one day - never knew there was a turtle in there:>).  The greenhouse cats like to saunter along the edges of the water, hoping for a dumb fish to venture too close. I'll give you more information on Ott's at the end in case you find yourself wanting to visit.

Ott's dome as seen from Route 29
Here is the entrance and where the adventure begins.
When you first walk in the front entrance you are met with specialty plants, generally pertinent to the season, and some permanent residents like the giant fern planters.  They are sometimes moved around a bit, but they remain in areas where they capture interest.

Crotons, Hydrangeas, and other beautiful plants in the entry way.
This is the mini-waterfall in the entryway - always lovely!
It's hard to give you a sense of perspective for these fern planters,
but I can bet they are a couple hundred pounds heavy and about five feet across.
Staghorn Fern and Friends
A different view of the Staghorn Fern
There were a number of these in the entryway close to Christmas - gorgeous plants!
Maybe YOU can tell ME what they are - LOL

If you look straight ahead through the central rotary where you enter, you'll see the store which is filled with goodies like seeds, tiny plants, pots, juice, and this is where people bring their purchases to pay for them.  I've always found the people who work at Ott's to be exceptionally friendly and helpful.  I asked about taking pictures and they said, "SURE!"  People are always taking pictures:>)  You can tell the folks love their work and enjoy their customers.

I found these fan-like bracket fungi growing on a stump in the entry foyer area.

Growing on a display stump

If you bear to the left as you come in, you'll see a teeny weeny pond and a door into what I call the orchid room.  Here there are always orchids, African Violets, and spathe-flowered plants like anthuriums, a nice variety of kinds and colors.  Other choices are mixed in and changed regularly, but I go there for the orchids. I used to check in on the GIANT Jade Tree, but it is now somewhere else, somewhere I haven't discovered.  That wonderful plant had to have been six feet tall.  

These are the roots of the Jade Tree.

All the orchid pictures I've taken come from this room in Ott's.

White Moth Orchid - Phalaenopsis

This orchid had no tag and I have no idea what it is except to say it is gorgeous!

Pink Moth Orchid - Phalaenopsis

Yellow Moth Orchid - Phalaenopsis

Bear to the right when you first come through the doors and you'll go to a room that has ferns, Zebra Plants, transcandia, bromeliads, and other current choices.  

Bromeliad in Bloom

When you pass through this room you are in a fairyland I call the Waterfall Room.  It's my favorite; well, maybe along with a lot of other places in Ott's.

The plants in the waterfall room are mostly permanent and  tropical and include a huge banana tree, ferns, mosses, bird of paradise plants, and other marvelous, green, growing things that smell like earth and damp.  The little walkway next to the pond has branches for railings.  There is a tunnel to pass through to other rooms, and a path that goes up a hill at the back of the waterfall, over the top and down the other side.

Waterfall Pond
Here is the waterfall pond - today the water wasn't running but it's still lovely!
Waterfall and Railings

It's a delight to stand quietly, hear the gentle splash of the waterfall, breathe the air of growing things, and be soothed by all that green.

This is behind the falls - to the left you can see part of the walkway that goes to the top of the waterfall.
At the far side of the waterfall room you can often find an extraordinary Hibiscus or fantastic Bird Of Paradise.  Some plants are changed out periodically, but most are planted as part of the tropical scenery have become old friends.

Red Hibiscus

Budding Hibiscus
At the far side of the waterfall room, after you go past the pond and under the tunnel, this pathway leads to the BIG growing room filled with plants for purchase.

Inside The Hibiscus Flower

Bird Of Paradise Flower

Another View - Bird Of Paradise Flower
Go through the waterfall room, under the tunnel, and bear slightly right and you'll find a room with bougainvillea, clivia lilies, and a few other varieties of large, exotic plants types.

Orange Clivia Lilies.

Yellow Clivia (Kafir) Lilies

Clivia Lily

Pink Bougainvillea

Pink Bougainvillea
White Bougainvillea

Pink & White Bougainvillea

Purple Bougainvillea

Come back out into the waterfall room and bear right.  This will take you into a large, open greenhouse area filled with all kinds of floral goodies!  These are mainly seasonal offerings, including impossibly beautiful tulips and other bulbs in an ancillary cold room, but there are some plants that are grown for display and are always there to ohhh and ahhh at. There are tiny and huge cacti, hibiscus, hanging baskets, impatiens in spring, poinsettias in winter - you name it! 
Elephant Ears aka Caladium



This is a view of the main room where the most choices of seasonal plants can be found.
It's always a treat, filled with color and the scent of flowers and earth.

In the cold room
In the cold room

In the cold room

The cold room offers both bulbs and arrangements.
The room is seasonal and sometimes closed, but it is open near Mother's Day:>)
It is located off the main display floor.

These tulips shown above are only a few of the many varieties
offered last year around Mother's Day.
Check out the cold room:>)

On the main floor you will find plants on tables, plants on the floor, plants hanging.  There are big plants, little plants, flowering plants, greenery.

An abundance of cacti


Purple Oxalis - Shamrock
Yellow Oxalis - Shamrock

I believe these are Anthurium.

Yellow Calla Lily

Then there are the CATS - I love the cats!!!!  Most times they hang out in this room because of the warm sunshine and comfy tables.  The petite, calico female is a love, always beseeching me to pat her:>)

There is just as much fun to be had outside Ott's at almost any time of year.  There are seasons when the hill is planted with pansies (Spring) or chrysanthemums (Autumn).

Springtime on Ott's Hill

Autumn on Ott's Hill

This is way out back behind the hill - it's where the real work goes on.

There are magnificent roses, lilies, pansies, decorative kale/cabbage, chrysanthemums;  large spreads laid out in front of the hill for people to browse through.  I'd be keeping you here forever if I posted all the pictures - they will slip in on later occasions.  The outside of the greenhouse building, itself, is used for displays just like the inside.

A harvest display outside the store doors.

Summertime window garden of Sweet Potato vines

If you are ever in the area and want to pay Ott's Exotic Greenhouse a visit, here is some information.

Have a wonderful weekend!  See you next Friday:>)