Tuesday, January 26, 2010

February Thaw-Winter Flower Show

The Marjorie McNeely Horticulture Staff has just finished installing our latest Winter themed Sunken Garden Show. The plants you can expect to see in the 2010 show include azaleas, cyclamen, cineraria, freesia, oriental lilies, and pansies. We are also featuring some very fragrant shrub camellias.

One plant that we get asked quite a few questions about is Veltheimia. This plant is in the bulb category, and is native to the Eastern part of South Africa. A common name for this plant is Forest Lily. The leaves can be one foot long, are glossy, and bright to dark green. They produce a rosette of a dozen or more leaves, and have wavy margins. The flowers are on 1-2’ stalks, and resemble a spike on a red hot poker plant. They come in shades of pink, mottled pink or a green-yellow color. It is one plant that adds a sculptural element to the show.

The Winter Show runs from January 30 to March 21, 2010. The color scheme of pinks, reds, and purples would make a perfect backdrop for a picture of your Valentine sweetheart.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Orchid Carnival

The Conservatory’s Orchid Collection Staff, have been busy planning for the 2010 Winter Carnival Orchid Show. Preparation involves choosing the orchids, extra careful grooming, and then deciding on the way they will be presented. We have a loyal group of volunteers that assist with repotting, grooming, and special cleaning of the orchids.

The presentation, or the display, begins with considerable brainstorming and no reasonable idea is rejected in the decision process. The planning is creative, functional, & sometimes wildly entertaining. But throughout it all, we always remember to keep the orchids center stage.

The Orchid Show includes members of the Orchid Society of Minnesota. Vendors, hobbyists, and orchid enthusiasts make up the membership. Visit the Orchid Show on Saturday & Sunday, January 23-24, 2010. Each day the hours are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The Winter pruning is underway once again at MMC. On Monday, January 4, Conservatory staff spent all morning pollarding the Giant Fig, Ficus carica, in the North Garden.

The Conservatory is 95 years old, and we believe the fig to be close in age, if not 100 years or more!

Pollarding is a pruning technique that removes all of the previous years growth. Sometimes it is used to promote the development of new fruits. In our case, we use the technique to promote the new seasons growth, and to create more light in the room.

Often times the terms heading back and pollarding are used interchangeably. You can really see the structural aspects of the fig after it has been pruned. The surrounding plant material will also be able to capture some of the extra light, now that our days are getting longer!