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Issue 64
February 2013

The Conservatory Chronicles
A monthly newsletter for our growing community. 



Orchids, violins, and English gardens are on our minds this month, as we look forward to some wonderful upcoming events. From February 22-24, be sure to visit the Conservatory's booth at the 2013 Pacific Orchid Exposition. This year's theme is "East Meets West," and our horticultural staff are excited to display our beautiful orchids against the backdrop of Chinese lanterns and Eastern decor. On Wednesday, February 27, violinist Paul Mercer will show us how different woods used to make fine violins imbue these instruments with their own distinct, audibly discernible personalities. A concert with Mercer and singer/performance artist Jill Tracy will follow Mercer's talk. And on March 13, gardener and author Barbara Paul Robinson will read from her intimate biography of beloved English gardener Rosemary Verey. Verey, whose English-style gardening career took off when she was in her mid-60's, counted The New York Botanical Garden, Prince Charles, Elton John and other celebrities and venerable institutions among her clients. Please see below for more information about these fascinating Conservatory events, and check out "What's in Bloom?" to see examples of the many plants that will dazzle you in our greenhouse this month!

Eric Andersen, Acting Director  

Ryan Anson's bouquet photo
Photo courtesy of Ryan Anson

Looking for a wedding venue?

Valentine's Day Open House for Newly Engaged Couples

Thursday, February 14th, 5-8pm


This Valentine's Day, begin your evening of romance with an intimate stroll through the most extraordinary wedding space in the city.
ring your betrothed for a champagne stroll through our tropical gardens, and receive a discount if you book your wedding with us!
This is NOT a hard sell event (we promise!), just a chance to see the Conservatory in its nighttime glory, and get more info if you wish.


To RSVP, email our Weddings Manager, Annie Abernethy, at with your names, preferred wedding date(s) and any questions you have.


The COF at the Pacific Orchid Exposition

Friday, February 22 through Sunday, February 24
Purchase tickets HERE.
Pacific Orchid Expo 2013


This year's POE at the Fort Mason Center promises to be gorgeous and inspiring as always, and the Conservatory's horticulturalists are hard at work, designing and arranging our display.


Purchase hard-to-find orchids, explore dozens of booths arranged with this year's exotic "East Meets West" theme in mind, and attend daily seminars that are free with the price of admission. We'll be there all weekend, so don't forget to stop by and say hello!



Jill Tracy in concert February 27
After Dark Concert, February 27:
Jill Tracy and Paul Mercer 
Wednesday, February 27, 6pm-10pm
Purchase tickets HERE.
The Whispering in the Wood: Ghosts, Violins, and the Trees that Brought Them to Life 
Award-winning chanteuse and performance artist Jill Tracy hosts another "After Dark" event at the Conservatory, this time with violinist Paul Mercer. 
Mercer spent five years recording improvisational music using woodwind instruments that seemed to have voices of their own. The result is an eerie and beautiful trip through time, as the voices "whispering in the wood" are finally allowed to speak. The evening will include a talk by Paul Mercer, a full concert with Jill Tracy and Mercer, and a rare nocturnal tour of the greenhouse. Experience the magic of the Conservatory after dark!
Book Reading/Signing: "Rosemary Verey: the Life and Lessons of a Legendary Gardener"
Wednesday, March 13, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Purchase Tickets HERE.
Photo courtesy of Mapuranga Photography
Join us on Wednesday, March 13, for a celebration and reading of Barbara Paul Robinson's new book about legendary gardener Rosemary Verey. This event is co-sponsored by The Garden Conservancy.

Garden adviser to the rich and famous, including Prince Charles and Elton John, Verey was also a beloved teacher and lecturer in America, and encouraged her American fans to believe that they were fully capable of creating beautiful English gardens.

Author Barbara Paul Robinson, who briefly worked as a gardener under Verey, will speak about Verey's extraordinary life, her contributions to the field of landscape design, and life "behind the scenes" at Verey's home, Barnsley House. Her book will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

The evening will begin with an open stroll through the Conservatory from 6:00-6:30, followed by Robinson's talk and signing from 6:30-8:00pm.


Coming this Spring...
Butterflies and Blooms!
Thursday, May 8th through Sunday, October 27th, 2013

photo by Jane Scurich
Get eye to eye with a butterfly this May, when the Conservatory of Flowers unleashes its new exhibit, Butterflies and Blooms. 

Watch hundreds of winged beauties flutter about at work and play in our tropical paradise, and learn about the vital symbiotic roles of plants and butterflies in pollination. 

Visitors receive a free butterfly identification booklet, with tips on growing your own butterfly garden, and fascinating insights into these wondrous creatures. This exhibit is not to be missed! 
What's in Bloom? The Bleeding Heart Vine
bleeding heart vine

Here's a Valentine's Day treat for you: hundreds of red and white blooms are currently dripping from our Clerodendrum thomsoniae, better known as the bleeding heart vine, in Potted Plants. 

The red petals of these West African native flowers burst out of white, pillowy sepals, making them look like a line of dangling hearts, each emerging from the other. And hey, if you love it, you can grow it! This plant can be grown in the Bay Area in moist, well-drained soil.


Check out our What's in Bloom page to see what else is blooming!

PayPal is our pal! New payment option on the website
Want to become a member, make a donation, or pick up something fun in the gift shop? The Conservatory of Flowers now accepts PayPal, in addition to credit card purchases! The COF relies on memberships and donations from you to fund our educational programs, keep our doors open six days a week, and maintain the plants and systems that keep our beautiful greenhouses thriving. Check out our revamped membership page and join the Conservatory, or give the gift of membership to a loved one today. Thank you!

Visit Us!

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

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

Admission: $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 SF City and County residents with proof of residency. 
The Conservatory is free to all visitors on the first Tuesday of every month.
RPD logo
Accessibility: 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 JFK Drive in front of the Conservatory. 
Strollers are not allowed in the Conservatory.

Information line: 415-831-2090