Dale Chihuly: What passion do WE share?

Posted October 16th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Dynamic Glass, Events, General, The Arts
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What passion do WE share with Dale Chihuly?

I’ve often been asked ‘What would I like to do that I haven’t already done?’ and the first thing that comes to mind is that I’d like to build a conservatory or glasshouse and design everything that goes inside it.”

-Dale Chihuly

Who is Dale Chihuly?

World famous for his exclusive style in glass sculpture, Chihuly is well known for his exceptional works of cylinders, baskets, towers, Persians, and several others that captivate his audience. From childhood, he was always fascinated with the natural world. He admires the Great Conservatories of the 19th century, as do we, and EXPANDS HIS BOUNDARIES across multiple historic cultures in glass blowing. His favorite works are from the minds of the premier conservatory designers of the 19th century, Lord & Burnham. Once Chihuly discovered the glass in these historic conservatories were ENTIRELY hand blown, he was hooked. Although this passion began as a child, it was not until 2001 that he EMBRACED HIS PASSION and brought his dream to life!

Chihuly in Glasshouse

The Journey Begins

In early 2001, Chihuly’s Garden Cycle arose. During this cycle, he began SHOWCASING his work at numerous historic conservatories and gardens throughout the world. Places such as the Garfield Park Conservatory, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens, near London gathered thousands to line up to see what new works had evolved from Chihuly’s new exhibit. But in 2012, Chihuly brought something to the world NO ONE expected.

“What would I like to do that I haven’t done already?”

Chihuly Garden&Glass_Glasshouse

In 2012, the birth of Chihuly Garden and Glass arose in Seattle, Washington and living at the center of this exhibition stands a 40-foot tall glass and steel glasshouse! Created from the minds of Dale Chihuly and architects OWEN RICHARDS, and RYAN SMITH, this glasshouse is a symbol of Chihuly’s lifelong appreciation for conservatories. Inside, beautiful blown glass pieces with RIBBED MOLDS dangle over your head as you walk through the exhibit.

Mark Your Calendar!

We are BIG FANS of Chihuly’s work and are proud to SHARE such a strong PASSION. Today, his work has been presented in more than 240 museums and internationally included in more than 200 museum collections. The Bellagio in Las Vegas will be hosting a BOOK SIGNING November 28th to meet Dale Chihuly. DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE to meet this outstanding artist!

The Other Side of Frida Kahlo

Posted October 7th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Events, The Arts, Uncategorized
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What do CONSERVATORIES and FRIDA KAHLO have in common?

We’ll give you a hint.

Known for her self-portraits, realistic style, and signature thick eyebrows, Kahlo was viewed by thousands as an ICON of female creativity. But, there was another side to her that was often overlooked.

What was it?




Elements in several of her works express traditional Hispanic culture with a strong realistic and surrealistic style, but what we often don’t recognize is the other side to Kahlo’s inspiration – the NATURAL WORLD. Kahlo many times sought refuge in her garden, including imagery of foliage, flowers and animals from her garden to stress the close links between animals, humans and the natural land in her work. Her complex use of BOTANICAL IMAGERY celebrates the BEAUTY in plant life and ties to her cultural heritage.

Where’s the connection?


Historically, greenhouses and conservatories were ONE IN THE SAME. During the 19th century, the first conservatories were formerly built to grow plants! They were referred to as “orangeries” due to housing exotic citrus trees in the off-season, but along the way, they began to evolve. Advancing to the 1970’s, conservatories started to become better insulated and serve more as a living space for humans and less for plants.

Just as Frida admired the beauty and value of nature so much that she incorporated its elements in her paintings, we bring out the beauty and value of nature through designing and manufacturing conservatories.


In honor of Kahlo’s beautiful botanical works, the New York Botanical Garden’s Enid Haupt Conservatory is hosting a SIX-MONTH engaging CELEBRATION of Kahlo’s passion for the Natural World! JOIN US and learn about her love, life and artwork through interactive events, music, lectures and more!

Tanglewood Lectures at Rawlings Conservatory

Posted November 10th, 2014 by Bonnie Hall and filed in Events, Greenhouses, Insights, Travels
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A lecture on historic conservatories in an historic conservatory – much like peanut butter and chocolate – the perfect combination and very soul-satisfying.  Alan Stein, founder of Tanglewood Conservatories presented an intriguing look back at the great conservatories of the 19th century and the enduring impact they have had on history, architecture and humanity.

Alan stated at the end of the lecture, ‘In looking back at the designers and builders of the great conservatories of the 19th century; at the amazing buildings they produced and the impact they had on culture, society and industry of the time, we can’t help but be inspired by their passion, ingenuity and creativity.  Few legacies from the past have so much relevance for today’.


Looking Back Shows Us the Future

From the first crude orangeries in the mid-to-late 1600’s that had to be assembled each winter and taken down for spring to the nearly transparent glass houses such as Rawlings, to the modern minimalist movement, conservatories have experienced a marvelous evolution while still inspiring current construction of classic Victorian structures.

Depiction of Orangery from 1600's
Depiction of Orangery from 1600’s

Transparent feel of Rawlings Conservatory

Transparent feel of Rawlings Conservatory

Modern minimalist designed by Philip Johnson

Modern minimalist designed by Philip Johnson


Abundant Benefits

Nature is sometimes difficult to access in large sprawling cities such as Baltimore with blocks and blocks of row houses and office buildings.   Rawlings provides a quiet sanctuary, an oasis in which to connect with the outdoors and discover nature not just of our local region but virtually anywhere.  Public conservatories provide a venue so that we can learn about the natural world – both familiar and strange – local and exotic – and even more exciting, they allow all of us to become explorers just as Bomplad, Poeppig and Schomburgh, who searched the banks of the Amazon in their quest to bring back the giant Amazonian water lily for Queen Victoria in the 1800’s.

Bananas, coffee beans and papayas all grow at Rawlings Conservatory


Kate Blom, Rawlings Conservatory Supervisor states, ‘Kids go through the rainforest house and see bananas on real trees! – and they get it… where bananas come from instead of the supermarket shelf.’  It is at this point that you can have conversations with them about being stewards of our planet and of the environment.

Many may wonder why the conservatories and their preservation so important?  Once again, Kate’s insight is spot on –  ‘You can’t tell the story without the tactile experience of touching the bananas, the papayas and the coffee beans growing right there on the bushes!… and you can’t do that without a conservatory!’

Botanic gardens host a variety of beneficial programs – from lecture series on great conservatories, cultivating unusual plant species to exposing inner city children to the basics of gardening along with an emphasis on the arts such as sketching and photography classes.  Even the most amateur photographers armed with only a camera phone can take some pretty spectacular photos of the lush environment.  The photos below were snapped by Tanglewood team members prior to setting up for the lecture.

2014-11-05 16 23 51 (2)



The conservatory and its impact on us has withstood the test of time.  No matter the venue – private or public – historic or modern – the unique ability to allow us to connect with the outdoors while completely indoors, all while bestowing the magical luminescence of natural light throughout a glass-ensconced room.   The benefits are undeniable and their preservation for future generations must be a priority.  Alan’s remark in the lecture bears repeating lest we forget – ‘Few legacies from the past have provided as much value and relevance for today as have these eloquent glass houses.  The architects and builders from the 19th century have inspired us with their passion, ingenuity and creativity.’  It is up to all of us now to ensure we pass that same wonderment on to our children and their children.


Happy 4th of July

Posted July 2nd, 2014 by Alan Stein and filed in Events
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Happy 4th of July
from Tanglewood Conservatories!

Tanglewood Designs
Wouldn’t it be great to spend some time this long holiday weekend touring conservatories?  Perhaps even uncovering some inspiration for your future conservatory!  Below is a listing of some public conservatories around the U.S.:

*indicates fireworks or special concerts scheduled


Enjoy your visits and Happy Birthday America!
Many thanks to all the military – past, present and future! 


Rawlings Conservatory Summer Solstice Celebration 2014

Posted June 16th, 2014 by Alan Stein and filed in Events
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Join our friends at the Rawlings Conservatory for a Summer Solstice Concert on June 20th, 2014. The event will take place from 6pm-8pm. On June 21st there will be a Summer Solstice Celebration around the lake from 9 until midnight. Here are more details (click image to go to the Rawlings Conservatory site)

Rawlings Summer Solstice

The Charm City Bronze Hand Bells Ring Out in the Rawlings Conservatory

Posted May 20th, 2014 by Alan Stein and filed in Events
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It was named the “Impossible Concert”. The Charm City (nickname for Baltimore by the way) Bronze Handbell Ensemble played in the Palm House at the Rawlings Conservatory last night to an … empty house!

The Ensemble chooses locations for its performances that have unique acoustical qualities. Conservatories, which are geometrically perfect volumes and have lots of sound reflecting surfaces as well as sound absorbing plants, turn out to be among the best! But wait- there was no room for the audience once the bells, orchestra, recording equipment and all moved in. Hence, this was truly an “Impossible Concert” – to be seen and heard only online. As for the sound- it was as expected truly magical. We sat in the adjacent Orchid House and listened to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”, Stravinsky’s “Firebird” and other classics played with bronze handbells, flute and violin.

Many owners of Tanglewood Conservatories report that their rooms are ideal settings for music. Whether a recital, small concert or just listening to their favorite strains. We have attended string quartets, piano and organ concerts in beautiful conservatories and there is always a magical quality to the sound.

Listen to the “Impossible Concert” and when the occasion arises, check our website news page for locations where public performances in any of the many conservatories are to be held.

Spring 2014 Events Calendar

Posted April 21st, 2014 by Alan Stein and filed in Events, General, Greenhouses, Travels
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Rawlings Conservatory, Baltimore MD

April 12 – 27 – Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Woodland Magic – A Faerie Hideaway – Annual Spring Flower Show

April 26 – Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival, a rain or shine event

Also on April 26 – 11th Annual Eco-Fest in Druid Hill Park

June 4 – September 24 -Wednesdays 3:30 – 7:30 P.M. Druid Hill Farmers’ Market

Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL

Spring Flower Display, Through Sunday, May 11

Spring Seedling Sale, Sunday, May 4, Hours: 10:00 am – 11:00 am Members-Only Pre-Sale
11:00 am General Public Sale (until 4:00 pm or until plants are gone)

Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL 

Spring Flower Show, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturdays)

Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, PA

Butterfly Forest, April 26 – Sept. 1

Summer Flower Show, May 10 – Oct. 5

Como Park Conservatory, St. Paul, MN

Spring Flower Show, March 22 through April 27

Summer Flower Show, May 3 through October 5

W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park, Tacoma, WA

Hilltop Artists Return to Conservatory for Symbiotic Exhibit, student-made glass, April 8 – June 16

Wilder Park Conservatory, Elmhurst, IL

Grand Reopening, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the newly restored Wilder Park Conservatory & Greenhouse, April 27, 2014 – 3:00pm to 5:00pm