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Conservatory Chronicles
 Issue #42                                                                                                        
April, 2011
In This Issue
Happy Mother's Day
Community Calendar
What's In Bloom?
Youth Program Survey
Member Preview Evening
Goldman Environmental Prize
Spring Events at the Conservatory

Conservatory Chronicles


Morgan Davis 
Content Contributors:
Annie Abernethy, Morgan Davis, Michelle Manzer
Photograph Contributors: 
Annie Abernethy, Morgan Davis, Matt Laws, Michelle Manzer, Greg Maximov 

Beware of what lurks in your garden... 

Wicked Plants banner
Visit if you dare!

Visit Us
Tuesday - Sunday

10am - 4:30pm (last entry is at 4:00pm)

The Conservatory is closed on Mondays.


Please note that on Sundays and all major holidays, Golden Gate Park closes many of its roads to all vehicle traffic.

Information line:


$7.00 for Adults

$5.00 for Youth 12-17, Seniors age 65 & over, and College Students with ID

$2.00 for Children 5-11

Free for Children 4 and under


Discounts available to all San Francisco City and County residents with proof of residency
The Conservatory is free to all visitors on the first Tuesday of every month.


The Conservatory Of Flowers is wheelchair accessible for both motorized and non motorized chairs. Handicap permit parking is located at the east side of the building and also on John F. Kennedy Drive in front of the Conservatory. Strollers are not allowed in the Conservatory.





We will be open Mother's Day from 10 am to 4 pm.


Why not give Mom the gift of Membership?  


Purchase a gift membership online today so that you can include a Jungle Pass in your Mother's Day bouquet! 


 Arrangement in Vestibule

April Showers Bring May Flowers 

Purple orchid photo by Todd Worley

 Your donation will help ensure the continued growth and success of this unique educational and historic living museum.

This spring we encourage you to participate in our donation downpour, and bring necessary items to the Conservatory's many elements.

Items include:

MeeFog Misting System

Cool Growing Orchids

Victoria Amazonicas

School Supplies 

Click here to view the online registry for our no-show shower. Make a donation through our secure online form.  




May 5 - May 8  

Filoli Flower Show  

"Hat's Off to Mother Nature" Woodside, CA  


May 6   

National Public Gardens Day   


May 12  

Bike to Work Day! 


May 15

100th Annual Bay to Breakers



Ryan Anson's bouquet photo

Weddings, Corporate Luncheons, Office Holiday Parties... See how our event spaces will work for your private party. Visit the website for more information or contact Events Manager Morgan Davis at

Ceremony Photo Maparunga Photography

Photo Credits: Top, Ryan Anson Photography, Bottom, Morgan Davis
Help us Grow...
Upload Photos and Share your Experiences! 
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Alison and Nathan

One of the 2010 COF weddings was the marriage of two creative and crafty minds. Their big day was recently featured in 7x7's wedding blog.


Read the full article online:


 Tech Geek Wedding at Conservatory of Flowers

Photo Credits: Mapurunga Photography


"A Royal Shower"


Everyone loves a royal wedding! As the world's attention will be on the Royal Wedding in Great Britain later this month, the Conservatory of Flowers, also known as a beautiful place for ceremonial nuptials, will be celebrating our Victorian Grand Lady through a special "shower." This Spring, shower our 1879 Conservatory with an outpouring of gifts to help her spring back to vibrancy and unbridled service.  As William and Kate exchange their vows, your generous donation can join those of other Conservatory supporters and members to help make significant improvements for all to enjoy.

This beauty does not need a new china setting, or a Cuisinart. What needs has our aging beauty? Simply visit her online registry,, to view her wish list for spring.   


The Conservatory Spring Shower Registry is a fun way to give something of specific importance to meet one of the many needs our facility and programs require. 

Thank you so very much for your ongoing support!


Happy Mother's Day!

Brent's signature 

Brent Dennis


 What's in Bloom

The lush Aquatics Gallery is bursting with color; water lilies grace the surface of the pond and colorful Nepenthes add a wicked element to the peaceful gallery. On the North end of the pond, directly east of the open viewing area, the Medinilla magnifica bursts into life. This plant is in the Melastomataceae family, native to the Phillipinnes. A broadleaf evergreen, the plant grows between two to six feet tall. The specimen in the Aquatics Gallery has two blooms occurring; one is already opening to reveal the incredibly delicate purple and yellow whisps, and the other is slowly unfolding, providing guests an opportunity to experience the different stages of bloom. Come see this statuesque flower for yourself, and see why it is referred to as the 'Pink Lantern.'


We are always looking for new ways to engage youngsters and their families. This survey will ask a few questions about ways we can better serve you and your family, and gives you an opportunity to provide feedback on events you've attended.


Please take a moment to complete this survey, which will aid us as we expand our program and events calendar! Thank you!
Father son train frosting! Frosting

On April 6, we welcomed 200 Conservatory Members and guests for a special preview of Wicked Plants. Author Amy Stewart was in attendance, autographing copies of her best-selling books, and answering questions about the deviant plants profiled in the exhibit.  

Amy Stewart and Brent Dennis
Author Amy Stewart and Conservatory Director Brent Dennis
Seymour and Audrey perform a song from Little Shop of Horrors
Seymour and Audrey from Boxcar Theatre

Members admire plants in Aquatics Gallery.
Members discover wicked plants in the Aquatics Gallery.

 Tremendous performances by cast members of the Boxcar Theatre's upcoming show, Little Shop of Horrors set the mood for the thrills and chills of the exhibit and cautioned all of us: "Don't Feed the Plants!" Special thanks to Speakeasy Ales and Lagers and Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, and to Conservatory Member Zo Guthrie from Fox & Moon Tea.  

Check out our album on Find us on Facebookacebook to see more photos, and add your own. Not a member? Renew or join today, and we will make sure you're provided with invitations to all upcoming member events. 

Photos by Conservatory Member Matt Laws.


2011 Goldman Environmental Prize

Without the generosity and leadership of Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the Conservatory would not be restored to its current state. On April 11, the

Goldman Environmental Prize 

celebrated its 22nd year, with a ceremony in the Opera House, followed by a reception for the award winners, hosted by the Goldman family in City Hall.

The awards stand, along with the Conservatory, as a testament to the legacy and vision of the Goldmans.


The evening had an air of celebration, with undertones of anger and struggle. John Goldman spoke of his father's commitment to the environment, and of the political mayhem being wrought against the environmental Reception at City Hallpolicy progress of the past twenty years. He acknowledged that in a progressive city such as ours, he was preaching to the choir, and urged the attendees to be environmental evangelists to their families and friends in other areas. Each recipient spoke after a film of their work was shown, and then received the Ouroboros, an award symbolizing nature's power of renewal. Each had advice for the audience, much aimed at the young environmentalists invited by the Goldmans.


Francisco Pineda and daughter.Francisco Pineda is a sustainable farmer, a father, and a global hero.He lives in El Salvador, where the country's rapidly depleting supply of water is 90% contaminated. His efforts to stop the contamination of the Rio Lempa, which serves 4 million people, endanger his life; three of his colleagues were assassinated due to their aid. He implored the audience to use their democratic voice, and to pay attention to their countries' free trade agreements.   


Dmitry LisitsynDmitry Lisitsyn has saved the whales in Russia, amongst other species of flora and fauna. His devotion to nature has materialized into wildlife refuges, cancellations of oil pipelines, and the creation of sustainable partnerships and responsible state agencies. He urged consumers to make sustainable choices, noting the quick step of looking for the Marine Stewardship Council certification when purchasing fish for meals.  

Raoul du ToitThe crowd cringed and uttered group gasps of shock when film clips of the horrible rhino poaching in Zimbabwe were shown. Award recipient Raoul du Toit, who coordinated efforts that stabilized the black rhino population in the region, acknowledges poaching cannot be stopped, but has a goal to reduce. To educate youth, and halt ideas of poaching, he has created an incentive program where schools receive aid when new rhinos are born.This innovative incentive program could translate globally! How can we apply this to programs in America? What sustainable behaviors can we reward, and eventually normalize?


Ursula SladekThe European Ouroboros went to Ursula Sladek, whose persistence against nuclear energy has made her co-op owned sustainably-produced energy company a model for how grassroots solutions can rise against climate change and energy security. She reaffirmed the belief that the US has the resources, and could be the clean energy leader. From Ursula we learn: take matters into your own hands.  


Prigi Arisandi speaks at Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony.Prigi Arisandi's acceptance speech reminded the audience that it is our human responsibility to teach the next generation to live in harmony with nature. His prize acknowledged the tremendous educational and political work he has done surrounding the Surabya River in is home town that has been spoiled by industry. The program notes that 96% of Surabaya's drinking water comes from the river, but that its concentration of mercury is 100 times the World Health Organization's tolerable limit. Film clips showed industry waste dumped into the river, and massive amounts of debris on its banks, while children brush their teeth and bathe in the filthy water.  


Hilton KelleyHilton Kelley, North American prize winner for his work with 'fence communities' that share backyards with polluting industries, reiterated that it just takes one person to spark the idea. Funding, resources and the other necessary materials find their way to you, if you share your vision for change.


The ceremony very much echoed the words of Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." To the six environmentalists awarded the prize, and to the Goldman Family, whose stewardship of the prize has inspired individuals around the globe, thank you for showing that Mead's statement remains as true today as ever.


By Morgan Davis. Recipient photos courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize; Reception photo credit: Greg Maximov
Mark your calendars for upcoming engagements at the Conservatory. You can always visit the website for more upcoming programming and ticket information. 
Location: Conservatory of Flowers Orchid Gallery

Mischief and Mayhem in the Garden

May 4, 2011 |6:00 - 7:30 pm  

Slugfest by Rosemary HarrisLecture and book-signing with Rosemary Harris, author of the Dirty Business Mystery series, president of Mystery Writers of America's NY Chapter, and a master gardener in Connecticut. Harris walks us through the history of the garden using the lens of mischief and mayhem, beginning with Adam and Eve, and leading to her modern day Dirty Business Mystery sleuths. She'll also discuss the dirty business of writing, and what led her into the garden to find her stories.   


View our videos on YouTube Watch the preview for Dead Head, available this May!  

Fee: $5 admission general public at the door/Free to Conservatory members, includes admission to Conservatory from 5:30 - 6:00 pm | Books will be available for purchase in advance at the Gift Shop and that evening.  

RSVP: Purchase tickets or reserve your seat online.   


Wicked Plants: An Evening with Amy Stewart

June 1, 2011| 6:30 - 8:00 pm  

Author Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart, award winning author of five books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, takes on over 200 of Mother Nature's menacing plants, that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend in her American Horticultural Society award winning and New York Times Bestseller Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities. In this slide show and lecture, Ms. Stewart will discuss the dark side of the plant world.


Location: Conservatory of Flowers Orchid Gallery

Fee: $10 admission general public/$7 for COF members, includes admission to Conservatory from 6:30 - 7:00 pm. Books will be available for purchase and signing.  

RSVP: Space is limited. Tickets available online now.     

For more event info, visit the website or email Special Events & Programs Manager Morgan Davis. We look forward to meeting you there!


 Amy Stewart author photo credit: KC Kratt.


7x7 blogs about the sinister exhibit, and offers Christopher Walken as an unlikely spokesperson.

Sunset's Fresh Dirt blog admits its our turn to dig into Amy Stewart's novel and the fun it delivers, and dares visitors to experience it themselves.

Exhibits Director Lau Hodges introduces many of the 'killer plants' featured in Wicked Plants in a behind the scenes exhibit tour on KTVU.

ABC7 News interviews Amy Stewart and Lau Hodges in the exhibit, and discovers which plants was ironically deemed to dangerous to display in the park.
The San Francisco Chronicle deems Amy Stewart a "garden rock star" in its feature on Wicked Plants.

The Richmond Blog warns you to watch your back, and shares a number of photos of the exhibit. 

Micheal Leaverton of SFWeekly introduces some of the less appealing side effects of the "plants that rack up body counts."          

Brooch available in Gift Shop

Adorn your mum with real orchid jewelry this Mother's Day, May 9th. Each brightly-colored Dendrobium orchid was selected at its peak of beauty, preserved with lacquer and dipped in gold. Stop by the gift shop to see our array of necklaces and brooches, all packaged in a beautiful gift box.


Wicked Plants TattoosAre you as wicked as a wicked plant? Inspired by the best-selling book by Amy Stewart, the Conservatory's Gift Shop brings you Wicked Plants Temporary Tattoos! Show 'em who's boss with these wicked temporary tats! Stick 'em any where there's skin. It only takes 30 seconds and water! Tattoos last about 1 week from application.   



Amy Stewart Book Collage 

You can also purchase Wicked Plants, three of Amy Stewart's other award winning books online, and the Dirty Business mystery novels of Rosemary Harris through our digital Gift Shop.


Visit our online store. Happy Reading!

Book art images courtesy of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.



NPGD logo

Friday, May 6 is National Public Gardens Day! As a member of the American Public Gardens Assocation, the Conservatory of Flowers is proud to participate, and will be honoring passes from

Better Homes and Gardens for free admission to two guests. Visit for a voucher.


Little Shop of Horrors: A black comedy favorite re-imagined specifically for the Boxcar Theatre Playhouse. Step outside (literally) onto "skid row" on 6th Street as Seymour, a poor, lonely flower shopkeeper, dreams of a better life and a place that's green to share with the woman he pines for, Audrey. When a rare and exotic plant mysteriously appears, he finds the fame and fortune he was looking for, and a whole lot more. This carnivoBoxcar Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors postcardrous plant has a thirst for human blood, and Seymour is just the schmuck to get it. With newly designed puppets representing the man-eating plant from outer space, this fast paced musical keeps you on your feet and your heart pounding.


Get 20% off tickets when you use the discount code COF to purchase tickets in advance!  For tickets and info visit:

Conservatory Chronicles 5

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