The Conservatory Chronicles
Issue 89
February 2015
The Conservatory of Flowers proudly presents...

Gala Under Glass

Thursday, May 7, 2015 


Gala Under Glass 2015 logo

You are cordially invited to join us for a magical evening of cocktails, live music, and exquisite food and decor, all to benefit our beloved wood-and glass Victorian greenhouse.  


Guests at Gala Under Glass, the Conservatory's seventh annual Gala, will begin the evening with a "sneak preview" of our brand new special exhibit, Stranded! Tropical Island Survival, on the night before it opens to the public!  


Enjoy open bar service throughout the evening, and indulge in delicious treats at our many food and drink stations. Dance to live music with the Dick Bright Orchestra, bid on jewelry, vacation rentals, floral arrangements and more at our silent auction, and mingle with friends old and new in our elaborately decorated Orchid Pavillion. Gala Under Glass will be a dazzling and elegant night to remember! Cocktail attire is encouraged, and feel free to add a tropical touch to your outfit if you wish. Reserve your tickets today; this fabulous occasion won't be the same without YOU!  

Stranded! Tropical Island Survival
"Wash ashore" with us in our NEW special exhibit...opens Friday, May 8th!
Stranded! Tropical Island Survival
Photo by John Caddell


When that three-hour boat tour goes horribly wrong on your island vacation in paradise, a plant might just save your life. Many an island castaway has survived an unexpectedly long stay on a deserted island by lashing palm fronds together to build shelter, harvesting rainwater from the stems of a traveller's palm, fashioning a snare from a vine and more. 


In the Conservatory's new exhibition, Stranded! Tropical Island Survival, visitors "wash up" on an uncharted tropical shore to learn the ins and outs of island survival.

Strolling through a living jungle of life-saving plants, they discover the best sources of building materials, food and water and see examples of basic structures and tools. Fun survival facts fill the gallery, including tips for climbing coconut trees and more. Don't miss this wonderful exhibition, all about tropical plants and their uses!
FREE Tropical & Palm Tree Tour
Sunday, February 22, 10am-noon

Join Conservatory volunteer and Flora Grubbs Gardens horticulturalist Jason Dewees for a free walking tour of rare palms and subtropical trees in the northeast Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. 

Friends of the Urban Forest logo  
Click HERE to RSVP. This tour is sponsored by Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit dedicated to the "greening" of San Francisco's urban neighborhoods. Start the tour at the streetside plantings at Wisconsin & 20th streets atop Potrero Hill. Move on to Project Artaud at 17th & Florida streets, where Benjy Young's rare palms have been growing since the 1980's. Finally, take a spin around the unusual flowering trees at 17th & Bryant, an experimental planting done by the Friends of the Urban Forest. RSVP today for this fascinating and illuminating tour!

"Nickles for Nonprofits" benefits the COF  

When you shop at the Stanyan Street Whole Foods now through April 12, Whole Foods donates a nickel to the Conservatory on your behalf!

Grab your eco-friendly tote bag and head to Whole Foods in the Haight!

Nickels for Nonprofits logo   
Whole Foods' "Nickels for Nonprofits" program lets customers who bring reusable bags choose to have 5 cents donated on their behalf to a local non-profit. The Whole Foods at Haight & Stanyan has selected the Conservatory to be their lucky "nickels" recipient through April 12. Those nickels really add up if we all participate. Do the environment AND the Conservatory a favor: bring a bag, give a nickel!
POE: This weekend at Fort Mason Center
Be sure to visit the Conservatory's lush and flower-filled display!
Pacific Orchid Exposition 2015

Don't miss the Victorian-era botanist/explorer who "gave his all" in his quest to discover new and beautiful orchids. It's all part of the Conservatory's display at this weekend's Pacific Orchid Exposition! 


POE is a wonderful celebration of orchids and those who love them, and the Conservatory is always proud to be a part of it, and to create an homage to the event's annual theme. This year's POE them is "The Thrill of Discovery." Come prepared to see gorgeous displays, and to purchase your own cut or potted orchids, pottery, and more!
NEW special exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California: Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact
Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact
"Bees" runs through September 20 at the OMCA

Take a closer look at the wildly diverse and intricate world of one of the most important creatures to human agriculture, and the natural environment. Through family-friendly interactive experiences and hands-on activities,
Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact touches on topics of honeybees and Bay Area beekeeping, the diversity of California native bee species, citizen science projects, and the similarities between bees and humans. Discover real bee specimens under a microscope, crawl through a human-sized beehive, and try on a beekeeper suit. Come and explore the world of bees!
What's in Bloom
Yes! We have plenty of bananas. Just look UP in Potted and Lowlands!

Banana plant - Musa
The Conservatory has two 
Musa plants, commonly known as banana plants, one in Lowland Tropics and one in Potted Plants. Look up to find them!

In horticulture, parthenocarpy (which literally means "virgin fruit") is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. The fruit is therefore seedless. Seedlessness is seen as a desirable trait in edible fruit with hard seeds such as watermelon, clementines, grapes, and grapefruit.


Bananas are another example of parthenocarpy, which explains how the Conservatory's plantains and banana plants can bear fruit without a pollinator being present. 

 The common banana is triploid, meaning it has three sets of chromosomes. Triploids cannot produce a functional seed, but they still develop good fruit through parthenocarpy. After the stalk has flowered and borne fruit, it dies. So how does a banana plant reproduce? There are side shoots or suckers at the base of the main stalk, which can be removed and replanted.


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