The conservatory greenhouse at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton would be a treat any time of year, with its colorful flowers and exotic plants grown in arrangements as carefully balanced as a painter's canvas. It is a particular pleasure now to find banana trees laden with fruit stretching up to the glass-paneled roof and brightly colored geraniums and azalias blooming below.
Special also is the show by Em Wilkins which runs through February in the conservatory's foyer and library. Wilkin's gentle flower paintings and delicate dried flower creations quietly complement nature's beauty in the greenhouse beyond.
A gardener with her own greenhouse, Wilkins grows her own models year round. Hers is a strictly realistic art, modest in dimension, but permeated, in the best works, by a love of nature and sensitivity to its forms. pMost successful are the dried flower arrangements, which reflect a fine sense of color and shape. Among the watercolors, the simple strength in a picture of paper hyacinths and another of grape hyacinths in the snow particularly catches the eye. Two pictures, one an enlargement of two pansies, the other a magnification of two crocuses, though they do not quite work, point to interesting possibilities for intensification which Wilkins may want to pursue further.
The conservatory and the show are open daily, including weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details call 949-8230.