Have you ever wanted to visit ancient Egypt? The jungles of the Amazon, maybe? How about the Netherlands or even just heading south of the border to explore more Americana? Well I can tell you that I sure have.
As a primarily visual artist, I’m inspired by the world around me.
The challenge of course is that it costs an arm and sometimes a leg too to travel the world we live in. What’s an Edmontonian to do, dear readers? Well luckily, for my local readers, I happen to have a solution nestled right in the heart of the river valley.
Something which both shapes our landscape and is separate from it – The Muttart Conservatory.
Discover the Pyramids
The last time I visited the Muttart Conservatory was back in August of 2013.
A good time was had by all of our group. It was a visit with a purpose though. We were there for wedding photos for one of my oldest and bestest friends forever, Nicholas. My friend Nicholas (often known as Nick) and his wife Coral had their hearts set on getting photos in each of the different rooms of the Conservatory. When the day of the wedding finally arrived, and after the beautiful ceremony of course, we rolled up our sleeves, got in our vehicles and headed to the downtown core for city from The Oasis Centre on the west end. As the group entered each of the rooms, our photographer gave us direction, setting each of us up in turn to get the wedding shots needed. I’ll admit, I had not been to the conservatory in ages and so it was an eye-opening experience for me.
But I felt rushed. I wonder why?
PLUS we eventually found a way onto the roof, so no big deal. Well, except for the security breach.
All in all, it was a good day.
Then a few years later I visited once more with my girlfriend-at-the-time. Under less then auspicious conditions, and mostly to see the roof and outsmart the dinosaur, I convinced my partner-in-crime to attend a nighttime scholarly debate on the conservatory rooftop. This time I did get the better of the situation by outsmarting the dino cop, but unfortunately for you dear readers, that story is for a different post.
The Law of Conservation
The Muttart Conservatory really is a gem of Edmonton.
It offers a year round escape into an active garden, curated with plants from around the world. It has been around since 1976, which means that for over forty years, we’ve been able to enjoy the four garden displays on hand.
When I went to visit with my girlfriend Mysticque last Sunday, we made sure to visit the Arid, Temperate, Feature, and Tropical pyramids with equal measures of attention.
As a lover of succulents and cacti, the Arid room was easily my favourite of the four pyramids, with the Temperate and Feature rooms following closely behind. Of particular significance was the exhibit set up in the Feature room.
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of confederation, the Muttart has put on a Netherlands inspired displayed of Tulips. The reason for this being that each year since hosting the exhiled Dutch Royal Family during WWII, the Canadian government has been presented with thousands of bulbs as a show of gratitude. This year is no different, but additionally, thousands of tulip bulbs have been planted from coast to coast in celebration of Canada 150.
Not only does the Feature display rotate in this way five to seven times a year, The Muttart also hosts regular tours for visitors, and special programming for both children and adults in plant care and creativity with plants.
The Conservatory is located at 9626 96 A Street. Accessible via Scona Road, Connors Road, and 98th avenue, this building is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas. Plus it is open between 10am-5pm each day, and until 9pm on Thursdays. If you want to know more about the cost to visit, you should go here.
I highly recommend it, as there are hundreds of plants to see, and an excellent source of still life for all us creative types who are inspired by the world around them. At least, that’s my theory.