Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Orchids and bonsai at the state fair!

Over the past week, Conservatory staff have been diligently preparing for the showing of our plants in the Horticulture Building (near the food building) at the State Fair. All day Friday, September 3rd and Saturday, September 4th several orchids from our award winning neotropical orchid collection, and a few of the best bonsai from our bonsai collection, will be displayed. The orchids will be judged by peer judges including three horticulture staff from the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and an American Orchid Society Judge. In order to prepare for the show, orchid leaves are cleaned to remove superficial defects that could impact appearance such as residues on the leaves from watering or fertilizing. The display for the orchids is also set up in the greenhouse so staff can preview and perfect the display before it is disassembled and moved to the Horticulture Building. Horticulture staff always have to keep in mind how much space is available in the vehicle that will transport our plants, that means limiting the number and size of plants that we send to the Fair as some of the bonsai are quite large. The bonsai also take some preparation. Some of the pots are oiled so that they do not look too dull and the trees receive some final pruning to maintain a finished look. In the end all that work is worth it! All you have to do is show up at the Fair to see them on display!

Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 Lantern Lighting Festival

On Sunday, August 15th the 12th Annual Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival took place in front of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (MMC) & the Como Ordway Memorial Japanese Garden. This year Bonsai and Ikebana were featured as the theme of the festival. Eight bonsai from the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory's collection were on display at the historic entrance to the conservatory. Bonsai demonstrations were given throughout the evening and the junipers used in the demonstrations were then given away to audience members thru a raffle. If you have not yet been to this festival, mark it on your calendar for next August 21st! Regular attendees look forward to the food, music, dancing, exhibitors, martial arts demonstrations, and the view of the 300 white paper lanterns floating on the water in the Frog Pond & Japanese Garden pool at the end of the evening.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


The dog days of summer are officially here. We are on day 15 of temperatures 90 degrees and higher for the year. Staff and visitors should be very aware of the heat wave we are in. Everyone should drink plenty of water, wear loose fitting clothing, wear sunscreen, and take frequent breaks in the shade. Outlook for next week is predicting mid 70's, that will be very refreshing! Stay safe and cool everyone!

What would you rather have right now?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gardeners working in exhibits

As horticulture staff, we get to experience what its like to work in an animals home and beautify their surroundings. We start with contacting zookeepers and letting them know that we would like to get into the exhibits to do work. The morning of our scheduled work day we call zookeepers so they can secure animals and unlock gates for us.

Tasks we usually perform in the exhibit are; pulling toxic weeds to prevent the chance of an animal eating them, mowing, pulling weeds, pruning, planting, trimming and mulching. We finish before 10am so the animals have a chance to get on exhibit for the visitors to view them.

When we do exhibit work its nice to see the animals come out for the first time. Sometimes they seem curious about the changes we made. In the Polar Bear exhibits, after we mow, it is very fragrant, the polar bears seem to really enjoy that too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Flowers blooming in the greenhouse

Most visitors don't get to see much of what is inside the greenhouses at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Here are a few of the flowers that were seen blooming inside the greenhouse today.