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Conservatory Chronicles
  Issue #55                                                                                                    
  May 2012
In This Issue
OPEN Memorial Day
Father's Day Jungle Pass Gift
Upcoming Events
Fragrance in Highlands
Volunteer at Events
Poetry Workshop & Summer Concert - onsale
Grant from SF Garden Club
In the Gift Shop
DinoNite Extended Thursdays
Enews Archives
New on Instagram

Conservatory Chronicles


Morgan Davis

Annie Abernethy 
Tommy Lau Photography, Vanessa Farjardo  

Visit Us
Tuesday - Sunday

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



For the run of Plantosaurus Rex, the Conservatory of Flowers will be open until 7:00 pm!  

Last entry is at 6:30 pm.  


We will be open on  

Monday, May 28 for Memorial Day! 


Please note that on Sundays and 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.


Donate Now!
 Your donation will help ensure the continued growth and success of this unique educational and historic living museum. 
Click here to make a donation through our secure online form.  
Father's Day is Sunday, June 17. Come spend it with our Tricera-Pops!
Plantosaurus Rex
The Conservatory will be open 10 am to 4pm. Get Dad a Jungle Pass Membership and make plans to spend quality time together all year.


COF Dome
We have a team ready to help you plan your wedding or private event at the Conservatory of Flowers. Visit the website, download images and pricing info, or email for information about how to get started.

With an exciting, constantly changing program of special exhibitions and seasonal delights,
the Conservatory of Flowers is a great place to bring the whole family more than once a year.
Amy Stewart in the Conservatory

Visit our website to learn about the various tiered benefits for membership levels, and to join!

 All membership levels include the following benefits:

* Year-round free admission   

 *10% discount in the Conservatory Gift Shop and selected merchants  

including Flora Grubb Gardens and The Urban Farmer Store

 * Invitation to exclusive members-only events and discounts for select special events

* Monthly 'Conservatory Chronicles' enews subscription annual print newsletter

* Knowledge that you are an important steward of the historic Conservatory of Flowers

* Reciprocal privileges at more than 250 horticultural organizations in North America through the AHS.


Photo of Amy Stewart's Wicked Plants lecture by Advisory Council Member Saxon Holt.
COLE HARDWARE IS GIVING the Conservatory of Flowers 10% OF YOUR PURCHASES!

MOLLIE STONE'S is giving us 5% of your grocery bill! Download this PDF to register.

Donate directly to us to support our programs, building and initiatives.


"Of Mesozoic Proportions"

For me it's quite the déjà vu, seeing our Plantosaurus Rex popping his head through the ceiling glass of the Conservatory's west wing exhibition gallery. It was 20 years ago when I was the Executive Director of the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio that we created a prehistoric plant exhibit exploring a similar age within that 1895 Victorian era conservatory. This exhibit takes all visitors, not just me, back in time. It traces a path through the evolution of plants from 250 million years ago, to a mere 65 million years back. But it also reminds us of the joy of discovery that we had as students learning about the dinosaurs for the first time, unearthing a new language of fossils and archeology, and it unlocks the imagination we all used to create schema of these prehistoric creatures, from bones and books.


I am thrilled by the depth of ancient plant stories that are told within our newly opened blockbuster exhibit here in glorious Golden Gate Park. My hat is off to the creative leadership of Lau Hodges, the Conservatory of Flowers' exhibition director and her support team of artisans, horticulturists, carpenters and sculptors, whose excellent imaginations ran wild with this exhibit. Through October 21st, visitors to the Conservatory will have ample time to amble through our own Jurassic Park while learning about the many fascinating facts about the development of plants and flowers over time. 


I hope you will be able to visit us often during the coming months...and don't miss our impressive array of fine items in the gift shop!  Thanks for your continued interest and support of all we do at the Conservatory of Flowers.


 Brent's signature 


Events Calendar 

Visit for ongoing updates on programs and special events at the Conservatory.
Here's a sneak preview of the spring and summer calendar:     


May 31 | Dino Nite: The Orchid Whisperer edition Did you know that when flowering plants emerged 140 million years ago, orchids were among the first species? From prehistory to your kitchen windowsill, these plants are mysterious in many ways. Bruce Rogers, author and orchid growing guru, explains how to grow happy orchids in very clear language and beautiful photographs in his new book, The Orchid Whisperer: Expert Secrets for Growing Beautiful Orchids. Join us in celebrating its Chronicle Books release on Thursday, May 31. Pick up your own essential copy of The Orchid Whisperer at the event, and watch your orchids thrive.

Time: 5:00 - 8:00 pm | Fee: Event is free with Conservatory admission; The Orchid Whisperer $19.95 

Drinks: $5, must show valid ID to drink.

Chronicle Books logo  

Watch The Orchid Whisperer trailer here. If you can't attend, click here to order the book through the Conservatory's Amazon Associates program.


June 9 | Haiku Workshop for Youth Our goal is to program events that inspire, and this has resulted in learning how each visitor experiences the Conservatory in a unique way. What plant catches your eye? How does the changing climate from one gallery to the next make you feel? With this workshop, we hope to encourage our younger visitors to think and reflect as they experience the Conservatory. Then members of the band Rose & the Nightingale will teach them how to turn those observations into art. Ages 8-18. Parental supervision required for ages 11 & under. Time: 2-4 pm | Fee: $15 Click here for tickets and more info, or help us spread the word on facebook.   


June 9 | Spirit of the Garden New York City-based jazz quartet Rose & the Nightingale premiere Spirit of the Garden in San Francisco at the Conservatory of Flowers, featuring local guests. A mix of world music, folk, harmony vocals and jazz

Samavehsa Community Sponsor logo 
Thanks to our community sponsor! 

improvisation inspired by nature, they'll premiere several exciting new song compositions, set to lyrics about the Conservatory by San Francisco poets Evan Karp and Silvi Alcivar. Come early to enjoy the gardens before the performance and stay after for an artist Q&A. Time: 8-10 pm |Fee: $30 Public; $25 Members. Click here for tickets and more info.   

July 25
| Bollywood Nights, a spicy evening exploring the culture and horticulture of India, through film, dance and food. Sponsored by the Wipro San Francisco Marathon.

August 6 | Quiet Lightning returns for a summer reading series in the greenhouse. 

What's In Bloom?

How do I smell? Scent is one of the most powerful sensations humans experience. The role it plays in triggering memories, attraction and pleasure or discomfort is undeniable. As you walk through the Conservatory, the fragrances can influence your experience as much as the color, textures and sounds. This week, when you enter the Highlands Gallery, you'll notice a cacophony of scents. "The plants use fragrance to attract pollinators," explains Nursery Specialist Eric Imperiale, who cares for the blooming orchids in the Highlands Gallery. "The timing of the release of pheromones is key in maximizing the use of energy and ensuring pollination."Smelly Orchid This means that the fragrances will wax and wane throughout the day, in a plants attempt to attract the pollinator. Flowers are not necessarily an indicator of fragrance. Some plants have to be open awhile before becoming fertile, so the fragrance may occur after a week or so of blooming, again preserving the plants energy. The variety of scents coming from the currently  fragrant orchids in Highlands goes from perfumelike (Bifrenaria) to Anguloa virginalismusky (Masdevallia Civilis), spicy (Lycaste) to fruity (Maxillaria) - and this probably is relevant to the pollinator they're attempting to woo. Their various shapes and colors all work together with scent to attract the right Lycaste Orchidbug to bring the food they need for fertilization. Just like the human counterparts: it's all about chemistry! Pay us a visit to see how these fragrances attract you - and what other sensations you observe at the Conservatory.

We Can't Do it Without You! 

Party Guests at P-Rex Opening Looking for a way to get involved at the Conservatory, but don't have a green thumb? Event volunteers greet guests, serve food and beverages, and assist with set-up and clean-up. This is a great opportunity for students to build their resume and for the working volunteer who prefers to donate their time in the evenings. On most evenings, volunteers are encouraged to arrive before their shift to enjoy the galleries or to stay after to enjoy the party or lecture. Contact Erika Frank, Director of Volunteer Services, if you are interested in becoming an event volunteer. (415) 637-4326 or   Photo by Tommy Lau 

Tickets Available for Spirit of the Garden

Jody Redhage photographed by Tommy Lau

Cellist Jody Redhage joined us for the opening night of Plantosaurus Rex, to preview some of the garden-inspired songs she's written for Spirit of the Garden.


 Click here to read an interview with Jody on the road.  For tickets, information and more, visit or our facebook page.  Photo by Tommy Lau  

Conservatory Receives Garden Club Grant

SF Garden Club LogoA big thank you to the San Francisco Garden Club for their grant to expand our youth education! The Conservatory offers educational materials for 3rd through 12th grade, but through the support of the SFGC, we can now offer a fun way for 2nd grade and below to engage with our collection and mission. The $2000 grant provides funding to print mad-libs style postcards, and to provide boxes of crayons for young children to color the postcard. Signage throughout the Conservatory gives the children the words they need on their educational adventure through the jungle - Coloring Postcards one to write home about! A child can walk through with their family, and marvel at the towering trees and colorful flowers, but by writing, coloring, and discussing the postcard with their parents or teachers, their experience will be enriched and their interest in plants will grow. Children can mail the postcard to tell their family about the giant water lily or the bug-eating plants they saw, or the postcard can go on the family refrigerator to remind them of their visit. Look for the materials as you enter the building, distributed by Conservatory volunteer greeters! Read on to learn more about our youth education programs and how to support them.  


What's In Store?
P-Rex TeesLet the modern world know you walked among the dinosaurs: wear a Plantosaurus Rex t-shirt! Choose from 2 designs: green T-Rex or pink Stegosaurus. Available in kids ($20.95) and men's crew cuts or women's V-neck ($22.95).Waterbottles P-Rex


Stay hydrated on your journey through the Mesozoic with our refillable Plantosaurus Rex water bottle ($16.50).


All merchandise including posters ($3.00) and magnets ($6.50) are available online, but you'll have to stop by the store for our array of prehistoric gifts and toys.  


 The days are longer, and we know you want to be in the park after work! For the run of Plantosaurus Rex, we'll be open until 7 pm every Thursday evening.
ks to everyone who joined us for the Opening DinoNite! It was a blast in the past to mingle with the exhibit artists, engineers, carpenters and staff! We hope you'll join us again soon for more fun. Click for more of Tommy Lau's opening night photos.  

Conservatory Chronicles 5

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