The Conservatory Chronicles
Issue 97
December 2015
Dear  ,

Happy Holidays!

The recent storms and cooler weather are great reminders that a warm tropical jungle is just waiting to welcome you! The holidays are a perfect time to visit the Conservatory of Flowers. Our Special Exhibit is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit. G-gauge trains travel through a miniature Pan-Pacific Exposition (PPIE) filled with favorite pavilions including the Palace of Fine Arts, the Palace of Horticulture and the famed Tower of Jewels in a lushly landscaped garden. Sound engineered by local specialist, Andrew Roth, brings to life music and telephone conversations from the 1915 World's Fair. History, whimsy and the love of railway gardens all comes together in this spectacular salute to the PPIE centennial.

As this year comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who has helped support the Conservatory throughout 2015. I appreciate our many visitors, loyal members, supportive donors, dedicated volunteers and staff who help keep this amazing 136-year-old Victorian greenhouse filled with lush tropical gardens.

We'll be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day but open every day except Mondays throughout the holiday season. I hope you will visit and bring your friends and family to the iconic jewel on the hill in Golden Gate Park.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a very happy new year!

Best regards,


Eric Andersen
Director, Conservatory of Flowers
Explore the Darwin Orchid  
A new orchid sculpture was recently installed as part of the orchid pollination exhibit in the Highlands Gallery. The Angraecum sesquipedale is also known as the Darwin orchid. Only A. sesquipedale has this common name. The other 200
Angraecum species are often called comet orchids. Symbiosis is a unique relationship between two species co-evolving alongside one another. This relationship is often beneficial for both species. It is not uncommon that the plant's pollination is aided in the process. This is the case with the
Angraecum sesquipedale. In 1862 Charles Darwin theorized that this orchid must have a symbiotic relationship with a moth pollinator whose proboscis was long enough to reach the nectar at the bottom of the flower's long spur. While feasting on the nectar reward, the pollinator would remove the pollinia and carry it from flower to flower. In 1903, after his death, Darwin's theory was confirmed thus earning Angraecum sesquipedale the common name of Darwin's orchid. Sesquipedale comes from the Latin sesquipedalis, meaning "one and a half feet", in reference to the long flower spur.

We would like to thank the David B. Gold Foundation for funding this educational exhibit. We are so very grateful to The Gold Foundation that has been supporting the Conservatory since the restoration project started in 1998. As they close their doors this year, we want to say thank you for your generosity!
Oh What a Night!
Accolades continue to flow for the After-Hours concert on Friday, December 4. DJ Don't Tell Mom filled the greenhouse with carefully curated sounds while guests enjoyed a magical after dark experience. Local favorites Heron Oblivion and Extra Classic performed to a sold-out crowd in the plant filled Orchid Pavilion. Looking to join us for the next After-Hours event? Follow us on Facebook for announcements about future concerts.

Please Donate Now

The season of giving is upon us. Your donation of any size will help keep the historic Conservatory of Flowers flourishing.

We ask you to consider the Conservatory's tremendous significance to the city of San Francisco, and make a gift to help insure our Victorian greenhouse remains a vibrant example of our past and an important guardian of our natural heritage well into the future.

What's in Bloom?

Look around the Conservatory through the holiday season and you'll find lots of colorful poinsettias.

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is native to Mexico and Central America and therefore grows quite well in the Conservatory's warm, humid galleries. Poinsettias are known for their colorful bracts, which are often mistaken for flowers. Bracts are leaf-like structures that protect flower buds or draw a pollinator's attention to open flowers. Poinsettias require months of dark nights followed by bright sunny days to develop colored bracts.


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