Friday, February 27, 2009

Repotting a Giant Orchid

This week the Horticulture staff is working on repotting our largest orchid, an Angraecum eburneum. This is an orchid from our collection of almost 1200 orchids. We like to use fresh mix in the orchids every two years. The Angraecum eburneum has been in this pot and soil mix for at least five years. We are concerned the soil mix will start rotting. This is a specimen orchid and we do not want to divide it. The concern we have is lifting this heavy plant without damaging it. We came up with the idea to use the lift that we use to move our soil bags. This has been a very exciting repotting experience.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kapok Tree

This week we had another big event happen in Tropical Encounters. The Forestry Dept. came in to cut down the kapok tree which was touching the top of the glass structure in TE. The room at this point is 45 feet. Kapoks can grow up to 180 feet. Kapoks are a very fast growing tree. In order to cut the tree down the forester needed to climb up the tree, tie a rope to it and knotch the tree so it will fall in the direction he wanted it to. Then he pulled on the rope in a controlled manner from the ground. This routine was repeated several times. We did leave a 12 foot section and this will resprout. Please come and look at the shorter kapok in Tropical Encounters.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We are very excited to see that our Balsa tree in Tropical Encounters is blooming this spring. This is the first time that it has bloomed at the Conservatory. Balsa is a very fast growing tree that is growing in our light gap area. The light gap area in the rain forest is an area where trees have fallen that allows a good amount of light to enter an area of the forest. Because this is a fast growing plant we have to continually prune. Balsa easily becomes to big for our space. Now that we have had the balsa flower we are hoping that we will have our own seed source. If we have our own seed souce we can continually start new plants as we need them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Growth In the Green House

It is now the beginning of February and the Horticulture staff can tell that things are changing in the greenhouses. We can feel that the angle of the sun is getting stronger. The green houses are noticeably getting warmer during the day. We can tell that the days are getting longer. It is no longer dark when we start out our day. And as you can tell from the picture we are beginning to see new growth popping out all over the greenhouses. This picture is of a cycad that is growing in the palm house. Please visit to see all of our new growth.