Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Forestry at work

The City's Forestry Department is a great help to us here at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. They have the skills and equipment to deal with plants and trees that are out of our range; in the photo to the left a Kapok tree is being pruned to fit into the North Garden.

When a palm's growing point hits the ceiling in the Palm Dome forestry is able to take the plant out safely so that we can come in and replant a new palm

When a tree becomes a hazard, as this Box Elder tree became in the Japanese Garden next to the Tea House, the forestry crew was able to remove it before it fell.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bromeliads, Orchids and the Jack Fruit

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory has a wonderful collection of orchids, bromeliads and ethnobotanical plants that are on display all year round. When you are wandering around the Palm Dome you will come across a display of our blooming bromeliads. These epiphytic plants (you would typically see them in the upper canopy of the rainforest) have spectacular and colorful blooms that are are also potential homes for various creatures like tree frogs.

The orchid collection has over 800 different species of orchids so something is in bloom pretty much any day of the year. We display our orchids in the Palm Dome, North Garden and in a special viewing window that is at the end of the Orchid greenhouse. Our collection focuses on plants that are native to Central and South America. The MMC is a USFW Plant Rescue Center for confiscated orchids that have been illegally brought over international borders. Most orchids are protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)


The Jack Fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) bears the largest fruit in the world; commonly weighing between 10 adn 60 lbs. Our Jack Fruit tree is in the North Garden and since it is a young tree the fruit is still fairly small. This fruit is edible and tastes a bit like a banana, though when it is ripe it has the smell of rotting onions so a person may need to acquire a taste for it! Come see our Jack Fruit and the many other interesting and unusual plants that are on display in the North Garden.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spring continues

The Galapagos yard has been sodded and a few boulders (20 tons of field stone) were brought in to keep the Galapogos from going into the Bird Yard. No, the Gardeners did not have to lift or move those by hand, a front end loader was used. Mainenance was on hand to help with this large project

The Blooming Butterfly Exhibit is fully planted and is awaiting the arrival of the butterflies. Many annuals and tropical plants including palms and other trees were used. The "BBE" is scheduled to open June 19th, just in time for Father's Day weekend.

The Bird Yard wall has been completed and it looks great! First thing the Gardeners do is to prep the wall by bringing a tiller on top and tilling it well. Then they put in a slow- release fertilizer to promote lots of blooming. This year the garden was planted with St. Bernard's Lily, Cordyline, Verbena, Petunia and Sweet Potato Vine