Within their first four years of existence, Sweden's the Flower Kings released four albums, one of them a 2-CD set, all on leader Roine Stolt's label Foxtrot Music and available only as import. As the band was ready to make its first appearance in the United States, it seemed a good idea to put together a compilation album to introduce American audiences to the fast-growing catalog. Scanning the Greenhouse (named after a song from the band's first album) is a model compilation. The band's homogenous sound in the course of its first four years helped in producing a CD that can very well stand on its own (with beautiful artwork by David Palermo) and remains the best door for entering the Flower Kings' world. Each track is a must and remained concert favorites for some time, except for the short instrumental "Pipes of Peace." "Compassion," which, if it does provide a nice conclusion to the set, is nonetheless a questionable choice. The Flower King, Back to the World of Adventures, Retropolis, and Stardust We Are are all represented. For the occasion, the 1994 "The Flower King" was re-recorded in a slightly different (and more powerful) arrangement. "Stardust We Are (Part 3)" is also a new recording of the last ten minutes of the 25-minute epic, this version reflecting the way the band performed the piece live. A Japanese version of Scanning the Greenhouse was released on Avalon Records with a slightly different track list: In place of "Compassion" is "The Cinema Show," the band's very original contribution to the Genesis tribute album The Fox Lies Down.
AllMusic Review by François Couture