The Conservatory Chronicles
Issue 94
September 2015
Our NEW special exhibit opens Thursday, November 12th...

Garden Railway: 1915 Pan-Pacific 


Do you miss the trains? WE KNOW YOU DO! They're coming back this fall, in a new garden railway exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of San Francisco's legendary 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.   


In an enchanting display landscaped with hundreds of dwarf plants and several water features, model trains will wend their way through the festive fairgrounds, zipping past whimsical recreations of the fair's most dazzling monuments and amusements, including the Tower of Jewels, Palace of Fine Arts and more.  


Interpretive signs, memorabilia and interactive activities throughout help visitors to understand the colorful history of the grand fair that signaled San Francisco's recovery from the 1906 earthquake. "All aboard" this fabulous new exhibit starting Thursday, November 12th!  

Keep the great old photos coming!
Send your OLD photos of loved ones at the Conservatory to

Thanks to several readers for answering last month's call for photos of friends and family at the Conservatory. We've received some wonderful images!

Donald and Elise Dwyer, c.1915
Donald and Elise Dwyer, c.1915
Conservatory members James and Priscilla Dwyer hand-delivered the original of the c.1915 print shown at left, of James' father Donald posing with his sister Elise.

Do YOU have a photo to share?

- OLD photos from the 1980's or before only, please

- Photos of PEOPLE, not just of the building or plants  

- Please submit only photos we may use in the enews, on the Conservatory's Facebook, etc.  


Submit your old photos to, and thank you in advance! 

Final month of Stranded! Tropical Island Survival
"Wash ashore" with us before this tiki-licious exhibit ends on October 18!
Stranded graphic square

Learn how to survive an unexpectedly long stay on a deserted island by lashing palm fronds together for shelter, harvesting rainwater from traveller's palms, fashioning a snare from a vine and more!


In 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, you'll discover the best sources of building materials, food and water and see examples of basic structures and tools. Don't miss this wonderful exhibit, which ends on Sunday, October 18!

La Rose des Vents

Sculpture by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel is homage to the "compass rose" 


a Rose des Vents
This eleven foot-tall sculpture by renowned artist Jean-Michel Othoniel is located in Conservatory Valley, directly between the Conservatory's center dome and John F. Kennedy Drive, and will be on display through spring 2016.

The giant structure of gold beads, which rotates freely on its axis as the wind blows it to and fro in the Valley, is an homage to the "compass rose" or "rose of the winds," which is the term for drawings on maps which orient the reader (example below). Stop by soon!
Compass rose
Endless fascination. Join us today!
Kids in Lowland Tropics

Enjoy exclusive membership to a tropical jungle in the middle of the city!  

What's in Bloom

Medinilla scortechinii
The stunning orange inflorescence of the Medinilla stortechinii branches out like coral in our Potted Plants gallery.


Medinilla is a species of evergreen shrub featuring white, pink or orange flowers. The flowers are arranged in a "panicle," or branched cluster that features showy berries when pollinated.   


The leathery leaves on this epiphytic shrub are arranged in a "whorl," meaning they fan out and do not overlap, so each leaf is able to receive sunlight without being blocked by the leaf above it. 


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