Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter Show Opens

Today January 29th we are very excited to open the 2009 Winter Show. We worked very hard this week planting in the Sunken Garden. The featured plants we have in the show are azaleas, velthemia, cyclamen, cineraria, oriental lillies, amaryllis, pansy, and primula. This was an extremely hard show change because we had to dig out and then replace all of the soil in the sunken garden. We are thankful to the extra volunteers that came in to help with that process. Please come to enjoy our new show.

We will now be preparing for the next show which is the spring show featuring spring bulbs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a dirty job...

This has been a very busy week for us between preparing for the upcoming Winter Carnival Orchid Show and undergoing a major show change in the Sunken Garden. This show change has been a bit more complicated than most because we are also replacing the hydronic heat system that warms the soil beds throughout the room. This involved digging out all 7,500 pounds of soil to remove the old heat pipes below. It was quite an undertaking for our staff but luckily we had help from a large number of volunteers. The installation of the new heat system is now almost complete. Tomorrow we will begin filling soil back into the beds and preparing them for planting. It will take most of next week to install the new show which will open Friday Jan. 30th. Although there is an absence of blooming plants in the Sunken Garden for now, the public can get their fill of flowers this weekend at the Orchid Show Jan 24 & 25. Hundreds of orchids from private collections as well as specimens from the Conservatory’s extensive collection will be on display throughout the Conservatory. Admission is $5.00 for Adults, $3.00 for Children 3-12, Under 3 FREE. Save $1.00 with Winter Carnival Button.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Orchid Show Preparation

The St. Paul Winter Carnival is fast approaching and the horticulture staff has been preparing our orchid entries for the Winter Carnival Orchid Show on January 24 & 25. A joint effort between the Conservatory and the Orchid Society of Minnesota, the Orchid Show is an incredible exhibition of hundreds of orchids from the private collections of Orchid Society members as well as specimens from the Conservatory’s extensive collection. Several vendors will also be on site with an array of orchids available to purchase. Judges from the American Orchid Society will be awarding the best entries in a number of different categories. The orchids will be judged on criteria such as plant health, number of blossoms and quality of blossoms. Keeping with the theme of the Winter Carnival many of the awards are named in honor of the carnival’s mythological characters. The Queen of the Snows Trophy is given to the best white flowered plant in the show. The Vulcanus Rex Trophy recognizes the best red-flowered orchid. The King Boreas Trophy is given to the best specimen plant and the Princes of the West (Zephyrus) and East (Euros) Wind Trophies recognize the best new-world and old world species respectively. Come enjoy this unique event January 24th an 25th at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Upcoming Sunken Garden Show Change

The Horticulture staff is busy getting plants ready for the next Sunken Garden Show which will open on Jan. 30th. Before that date alot has to happen for us to have the show ready. The evening of Jan. 19th we will be pulling out the plants currently in the Sunken Garden, mostly pointsettias. On Jan. 20th we need to do two things that are unusual to most show changes. The first is to remove the carousel horses that we borrowed for our holiday show. We will return them to the carousel. We need to be careful not to damage the horses in this process.

The other unusual part that has to happen is that we need to remove all of the soil currently in the Sunken Garden. We are going to have work done on the heating system we have within our garden beds. This will be a fun and exciting process. If you are interested in soil removal please contact our volunteer services department.

We are busy growing cyclamen, veltheimia, oriental lilies, azaleas, and digitalis. We are excited about new azalea varieties that we are growing this year. The new varieties that we have for the beginning of the show are Aquarell, Luntra, Inga, and Hulsten. In the later half of the show we will feature Jacinth, Super Nova, Victoria, Dewales, Rosalie, Jean, and Terra Nova. We keep the azealeas year round. Five weeks before we put them on display we move them from a cooler temperature of 40 degrees to a warmer temerature of 60 degrees.

We hope that you can come to visit our Winter Show.