The Conservatory Chronicles

Issue 106
September 2016
Check out the lively happenings at the Conservatory this September:
KristenWelcome Chief Nursery Specialist Kristen Natoli
We are ecstatic to welcome Kristen to a horticulture leadership position that has been vacant for more than 10 years.

Kristen wants to share with you her, "great, great, great love for the Conservatory." 
In many ways, her new position is a homecoming of sorts as Kristen worked as a nursery specialist here from 2004 - 2007 when she "stepped away" to assist our Golden Gate Park neighbor, the California Academy of Science, install and maintain their rainforest exhibit.

Kristen's horticultural career spans more than 25 years. Originally from Massachusetts, Kristen obtained a BS in plant ecology from Cornell and relocated to the Bay Area to begin her career which she describes as largely "under glass".

As Chief Nursery Specialist, Kristen will oversee the existing staff of three nursery specialists who insure the plant collections and presentations in the four permanent and one special exhibit gallery are well maintained and engaging for our guests. She'll also be responsible for coordinating the upkeep of our beloved Conservatory and support greenhouses with the help of  the Recreation & Parks facilities team as well as additional contractors as needed. Kristen will also help to elevate the work of the Conservatory as an international destination that is cherished locally and a leader in Conservation.   Her first priority is to learn from the nursery specialists how to best help maintain the collections as they have been doing an awesome job, and to identify the most immediate needs for her team. 

Although Kristen is reluctant to name a favorite plant or gallery, she will be stewarding the Aquatics Gallery which she acknowledges is her "first love".
Please join us in welcoming Kristen back to "where she wants to be." 

WildBunchLast Weeks with The Wild Bunch

Succulents are wildly popular these days and so is our special exhibit, The Wild Bunch: Succulents, Cacti & Fat Plants. But you better hurry on over to enjoy this spectacular display of easy to grow, drought tolerant delights. 

Enjoy our extended hours to visit this special exhibit through October 16th. An outstanding collection of succulents is available to purchase in our gift shop to take home and design your own wild creation. 

ButterfliesThe Return of the Butterflies & Blooms

We are thrilled to announce that the butterflies are returning! We heard your requests to bring back the amazing butterflies so mark your calendar for 
November 17 and plan to join us in welcoming their return.
We'll have an all new setting with a colorful cottage garden providing nectar for our free-flying friends. New educational elements will engage you with the magical mystery of metamorphosis.  The butterfly bungalow will display chrysalis and emerging young butterflies. Stay tuned as we announce even more exciting news about the butterflies in next month's enews!

MembershipPurchase a new year-long membership to ensure your future spring plans are filled with visits to see the butterflies & blooms!
Butterfly Docents Needed - Come This Way!
Butterflies & Blooms exhibit docents will educate visitors about the plants and butterflies that fill the gallery. In November, the Conservatory will offer training on butterfly pollination, migration, and metamorphosis, so you can help visitors leave the exhibit with an even deeper sense of wonder over these fascinating creatures. 

Volunteers are asked to commit to two shifts per month through the run of the exhibit. Shifts are 10:00-1:00 or 1:00-4:00, Tuesday-Sunday. In return for your time, the Conservatory offers free admission, volunteer-only lectures and social events, and a discount in the gift shop. To join the volunteer program, contact Erika Frank at or (415) 637-4326.

Visit our New Lobby

Welcoming news for our visitors!  For a more natural ticketing experience, our ticket sales have moved into the lobby.
Visitors will be greeted by staff and volunteers as you enter the Conservatory and experience the fabulous vertical garden. 
The former ticketing kiosk will soon be transitioned to a delightful café offering a variety of delicious treats and beverages to be enjoyed on the Palm Terrace. Watch for our grand opening! Follow us on Facebook for up to date news. 
CuriositiesUpcoming Conservatory Curiosities

Friday, September 23 & Saturday, September 24 from 1:00-4:00pm

Origami butterflies and frogs will swarm the Conservatory this weekend only! Join us in creating a community art piece that will be installed in the lobby for a limited time. Paper artist and origami instructor Shirley Tingwill be available to teach you how to create critters to contribute to the swarm. Folding takes place on the Palm Terrace.

Friday, September 30 & 
Saturday, October 1 
from 1:00-4:00pm

In celebration of the final weeks of the Conservatory's Wild Bunch exhibit, Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden will be at the Conservatory to demonstrate how to design mixed pots filled with cacti and succulents. 

Find your inner artist, learn to play with colors and textures, and then watch your creation grow! Plants will be available for purchase so you can take them home and make your own masterpiece.
Check out other events happening at the Conservatory.

These are free events on the Conservatory's Palm Terrace. Admission to the Conservatory not required.
Red Tricycle Presents:
Most Compelling Museum Finalist 

Red Tricycle vote for Us
We're super excited to have been chosen as a San Francisco Finalist for Most Compelling Museum in Red Tricycle's Totally Awesome Awards 2016! And we're even more thrilled by the fact that the nominations came from our community, in the form of RT's team of editors, writers and readers!  

Helping us win is simple -- Just Click Here to vote by September 30, 2016!

If we win, we'll be honored, plus we'll have the opportunity to get the word out even further about the Conservatory and our terrific upcoming exhibit Butterflies & Blooms! Thanks in advance!
ArtistsGlasshouse Artist Bliss
Looking for a crowd-free hour inside the glasshouse? 
We are delighted to offer artists and photographers a special opportunity to set up easels and tripods before or after our normal hours of operation. Enjoy the beautiful Conservatory without the crowds and take your time to get that extraordinary photo or capture a flower on canvas. 

Dates and times available:
9am - 10 am
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
September 27   September 27   
October 11 October 11 
October 25 October 25
Reservations are required, space is limited: $20 for members*; $30 for non-members.  Click here to reserve today.

Fee includes same day admission to the Conservatory. You are welcome to stay after we open at 10 or arrive before we close at 6:30. Use of tripods and easels is restricted to the one hour reserved time.

This time is reserved for individuals. Models, wedding and engagement photos, family portraits or any other professional photography is not allowed. Artists must provide all their own materials and storage containers for the removal of all used water and non-toxic cleaning fluids. No fluids of any type are to be disposed of at the Conservatory. Watercolor or pencil only, no oils or acrylics please.

*Members be sure to look for your discount code in your email!

AdaptationAdaptation: Plant Survivors!
Our popular hands-on docent lead tours for third, fourth and fifth grade students resumed this
 week. Adaptation: Plant Survivors!
introduces st
udents to the unique adaptation strategies plants develop to survive in tropical environments. 

We are so grateful for a recent grant from Subaru of America Foundation, Inc for their support for our educational program. Your support is always appreciated and will directly impact the quality of our Youth Education Program.
Tours are free to school groups with advance reservations. This program earns no revenue, but requires educational materials, staff coordination and volunteer trainings.
To learn more about our educational programs, please visit our website

GiftShopSucculents in the Conservatory Gift Shop
With the farewell of our succulents, cacti and fat plants exhibit advancing; make sure to stop by the Conservatory gift shop to peruse the miraculous assortment of succulents to complete your drought-tolerant garden this autumn.

BloomWhat's in Bloom?
Epindendrum mathewsii
Epidendrum mathewsii 

Location: Highlands Gallery
The red and green flowers of
Epidendrum matthewsii are displaying their waxy blooms on the Highland Tropics Gallery orchid case. The spectacular one inch flowers are protruding from the pendulous, creeping, thick growth of this delightfully diminutive epiphyte. Unlike many Epidendrums,
matthewsii does not have pseudobulbs. Instead, the fleshy leaves act as storage for the plant. A longtime favorite of orchid collectors, it has been seen less in recent years and is well worth a visit to the Conservatory to see its timeless enchanting charm.

Visit the What's in Bloom page to see what else is blooming!