Conservatory of Flowers

Last Thursday and Friday I had the good fortune to stay up in San Francisco with a friend. After deadlines and other annoyances all summer, this was a most welcome reprieve, and with the weather glorious, everything just fell into place for a very relaxing outing.

My friend's home borders the Presidio, so we could enjoy a walk to Golden Gate Park, where the Conservatory of Flowers is located. Golden Gate Park is always enjoyable to walk through, but when I saw the palms along the street, I knew that exotic delights were awaiting me.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers opened in 1879 and is the oldest glass and wood greenhouse in the United States. The main exhibits include potted plants, lowland tropics (this is the hot house), and highland tropics (an intimate glimps of life in the cloud forest in the tropics). Did you know one of ten flowering plants on earth is an orchid? Well, it is, and the Conservatory has an abundance of astonishing orchids in amazing colors (one was about six feet tall).

My favorite, though, was the aquatic plants section, which included the giant Amazon water lily (don't you love the reflection of the greenhouse roof on the water?).

The aquatics plant section also included a large collection of carniverous plants.

And that segways nicely to the special exhibit, Wicked Plants. Based on the book by Amy Stewart of Garden Rant fame, it was a well designed and informative exhibit with many surprising facts (and I liked the music). Sure, I know carnivorous plants are wicked.

 And I certainly know water hyacinths are truly evil (though I enjoyed the turtle that posed for a photo).

But you'd be surprised which commonly found house plants are quite wicked indeed. But I won't spoil it for those who want to read the book or visit the exhibit, I'm just saying be afraid, be very afraid....

When we'd spent enough time at the Conservatory, we ambled a bit through the surrounding gardens. I was particularly impressed by the Dalia garden.

Photos really don't do it justice. I had no idea so many different colors and shapes of Dalias exist. Sure, it's one of those "Love to visit, wouldn't want them in my own garden" things, I felt very lucky to be able to enjoy their beauty.


Elephant's Eye said…
Town Mouse - Wildflower Wednesday will be on the 28th. You still have time ...

If one in ten is an orchid - that adds up to a humungous number of tiny endemic endangered plants?!