Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This cool Minnesota weather has slowed and held back many of the outside plantings. The tulips are still beautiful in the Butterfly Garden in the front of the Conservatory. The Birdyard wall, with the orange tulips in full bloom, is a wonderful accent for the flamingo's as they wade in the pool. The Blooming Butterflies Exhibit is starting to look like an exhibit! A shipment of tropical plants arrived yesterday and included pentas, palms and other butterfly friendly plants. These plants will be installed soon---the weather needs to warm a bit and the remaining flooring and planting bed edges need to be finished.

The bananas are heading out of the greenhouse tomorrow. These were started from seed about 18 months ago. The nights need to stay above 50 degrees before these huge plants can be set outside to acclimate. These plants are headed for the east side of the Primate House on Zoo grounds. They are too large to fit in the Zoo pots this year!

The Sunken Garden is blooming and a number of plants have already been replaced as they have reached their prime. Many lilies are filling the air with their perfume and the level of maintenance in the room has increased for the volunteer groomers as well as for the staff.

The Children's Gallery is full of children and adults most days. The plants in the replica conservatory are growing well under the new grow lights. Just as with every other area in the Conservatory, Staff are checking this area daily to see how the plant material is adjusting to this new location.

The Bonsai are on exhibit! It is great to have part of the collection on display at this time of year. Staff are assisted each week by volunteers from the Bonsai Society of Minnesota, assuring that the plants are always well cared for and maintained at exceptional levels.

The North Garden Pool is back to normal. The pool was filled, the dye was added and the fish were returned this past week. We could not repaint the entire pool this year so hopefully that might happen next year.

And the Victoria Water Platters are growing very rapidly! The plants that were started from seed in late February are already filling the inside and outside tanks!

The pool in front of the Visitor Center on the side closest to the Carousel is being heated as of today. There are heating lines in the pool bottom that maintain a pool temp in the low 80's. The Victorias need lots of warm water to grow and thrive. Watch for these giants as June approaches!

And then there is BOB.... the Amorphophallus titanum has withered to almost nothing at this point. Staff are watering the soil occasionally to keep it moist and hoping that the leaf stage will soon appear. Soon, all that could remain visible is the large empty looking pot! It will be interesting to see what happens next!

It has been another busy week here at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory as we ready for the Memorial Day weekend!