Friday, October 30, 2009

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory and AZH

The Association of Zoological Horticulture(AZH) is an organization of horticulturists that work in the specialized field of horticulture. Here at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, 2 of our horticulture staff belong to AZH, Bryn(Tropical Encounters) and Heather(Zoo Landscape). AZH works to highlight the importance of plants within zoos and aquariums, and seeks to support the horticulturist who work in a zoological setting. Zoo horticulture encompasses a wide range of activities which requires a diversity of knowledge and skills in gardening, plant identfication/selection, landscape development, plant animal interactions, plant toxicity, animal browse production, etc. Just imagine a zoo without plants and you'll agree, plants make the difference.
Highlights of the Purpose of AZH:
  • To advance public and professional education regarding the importance of zoo horticulture and its role in the educational, recreational, conservation,and scientific goal of the living natural museum.
  • To broaden the interests of the memberships in the pursuit of the occupations and to improve the standards of efficiency and effectiveness through fostering programs for professional and vocational education.

Recently, Heather(Zoo Landscape) from our staff, attended the AZH annual conference in Jacksonville, Fl. September 26-30 2009. She said it was a great experience for her to interact and learn from fellow zoo horticulturists. Also, she felt the butterfly house and collection/lab was spectacular.

MMC Horticulture Staff

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Poinsettia Production Primer

Our production greenhouses are now in full swing with poinsettia production for our Holiday Show, which opens December 5th. The growing process actually started way back in late June when our small rooted cuttings arrived. Our ace Horticulture staff has been fussing and nurturing the tender plants for the last 3.5 months to produce luxuriant foliage that is free of insects, disease and nutrition defficiencies or excesses. This crop can be rather demanding in its care!

We are now at the stage of there growth when they need the long 13 hours of darkness each 24 hour period, and then for the other 11 hours, they need strong, strong sunshine. We achieve these 13 hour nights by pulling a shade cloth over the plants at 6:00 PM and then opening the cloth at 7:00 AM.

Our Holiday Show this year will feature many new cultivars and will have a warm orange, blush pink, creamy yellow and cinnamon color theme, a little something to warm up our visitors as winter settles in on us.