Some of the orchids from the orchid display. Photo by Catherine Wolfe.

[Note: Hometown City Girl is a diary of sorts; a collection of my stories, experiences, and trials of growing up in a small town in Southeast Ohio along the river dreaming of living in the city and then moving there and realizing I don’t quite fit in either place. Parts of me are a little too “country” for Columbus, and parts of me are a little too “city” for the people I know down home. It’s an interesting balance but it makes every experience interesting trying to figure out what role I fit into.]

I’ve always been a lover of wildlife, especially plants and flowers. Living in the city there aren’t quite as many opportunities to have them or see them as there are down home. It’s a little difficult to get much to grow inside a small apartment with minimal natural lighting that’s still safe to have around my cats, so needless to say my plant keeping recently has been cut down to a single bamboo stalk.

This lack of plant life in my daily surroundings is something that really brings me down sometimes, especially now in the winter when you can’t even step outside to see anything green. So this past weekend was the first Saturday I’ve had off in a while and I immediately knew what I wanted to do – visit the conservatory. I’ve been to other conservatories in the past but had not yet visited my local conservatory since moving. To top it off their current feature is orchids which is my favorite flower.

Some of the miniature breeds of orchids. Photo by Catherine Wolfe.

As I was walking through the conservatory I was reminded of the gardens my grandpa had. When I was younger I used to help him with his gardens almost daily. I loved learning from him, planning out where each plant would go, and helping maintain them. He had such a big garden that he had different sections divided up with fence and archways and we named each section. My favorite part was the section for pollinators where plants the specifically drew in honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds were.

One of the plants that most reminded me of my grandpa’s garden were these elephant ear plants. We grew some large ones, but none quite as big as what I saw at the conservatory. Photo by Catherine Wolfe.

It really is an interesting perspective to see what is considered natural beauty in different areas. While there was a large amount of planning that went into the placement of certain plants in his garden once they were in the ground most of them were allowed to grow however they liked, that’s also just the theme of plants and flowers in the scenery down home. In the city though it’s calculated, contained beauty when it comes to plants. They have their little spot sectioned out and they need to stay there is typically the thought when it comes to planning out where plants up here go. Don’t get me wrong this makes for some very beautiful plant displays in parks, housing areas, the conservatory, and other places but when I see them it makes me miss the wildness of home.

A view of the pond in the conservatory, you can see some of the koi fish in the water. Photo by Catherine Wolfe.

I grew up on a huge amount of, for the most part, untamed land. I would wander off into the woods around and explore and really grew to appreciate the plant life growing freely around me. I really do love the beautiful plants and flowers I saw in the conservatory but growing up where I did I think there will always be a part of me that identifies with the untamed wilderness growing as it pleases unhindered by man’s touch. This honestly has been one of the most difficult adjustments for me living in the city and is also something I really look forward to on my visits home. I love being around any plant displays, but there’s definitely something to be said for a scenery that contains more plants than people.

~ An ambition too big for home; a heart too big for the city

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