Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Raindrops Falling From the Ceiling

"I keep getting drips on my forehead" said an older woman wearing a floppy green fisherman’s hat and blue rain slicker. "I know, yeah" agreed the woman she came with, also outfitted in a rain slicker, cap, and blue jeans. Besides that small comment neither woman seemed phased by the raindrops falling from the ceiling. Both women couldn’t stop staring at the endless rows of flowers surrounding them in the greenhouse at Elizabeth Park, in Hartford.

Despite that the weather outside was rainy, the sky was still bright and natural light lit up the greenhouse. Stepping into the greenhouse was like stepping into another world and suddenly upon entrance the room was filled with a light perfumed scent, similar to honey. The air was warm and damp, quite a change from the cool temperature outside. And of course there were flowers covering every surface, from floor to ceiling.

Walking in, it was hard not to notice the never-ending array of tulips that lined the center table. The tulips outnumbered any other flower and came in almost every color imaginable; groups of yellow, white, pink, purple and white, red, and orange tulips rested on the hip level metal tables. While the tulips were separated by color on the long center table, other flowers lined the perimeter of the room. Besides tulips, other flowers at the greenhouse were rieger begonias, daffodils, violets, hanging plants, and bell-shaped flowers.

Each flower had its own unique scent that spectators couldn’t help but indulge their curiosities in smelling. In between the sounds of adoration, small conversations took place between on lookers. People of all ages came out on this rainy day to admire the flowers on display in the greenhouse. Each year the greenhouse is only open to the public for two weeks in March. At the end of the two weeks there is a flower sale that takes place. Some of the onlookers were prospective buyers, selecting which flowers they would like to take home with them when the sale was to take place on March 21st, others were photographers, and others flower enthusiasts.

Walking towards the back of the hundred year old greenhouse, the light sound of fans became clearer and I could finally see the end of the tulip covered table. Beyond the tulips was an area of tropical-looking trees. These trees are part of the year round collection of plants that flourish in the greenhouse, among them are: palm trees, cacti, a banana tree, a bird of paradise, and a ponderosa lemon tree. The area of trees has an exotic feel with vines and flowers crawling their way towards the ceiling.

Making my way around the rectangular path one last time, I had a hard time letting the tranquil and fresh feeling of spring go. As I parted from the building I felt the crisp, cool air brush against my skin. With each step on the red pebble path back to the parking lot the bright colors began to fade and blend into each other, reminiscent of a Monet painting.

While I was sad to leave, I look forward to visiting the rose garden that thrives at Elizabeth Park each summer. Even if flower lovers were unable to make it to the two week showing at the greenhouse, the rose garden is open to the public all summer long. I walked away knowing I’ll be back again, and I took a little of the spring-like feeling home with me.

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