Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Forestry in Tropical Encounters

Recently the horticulture staff received some help from the City's Forestry Department to do some tree maintenance in the Tropical Encounters exhibit. Some of the large trees in the exhibit were beginning to out-grow the space and needed to be pruned back or removed completely. The horticulture staff typically does plant maintenance in the exhibit but when it comes to the removal of very large trees, the forestry crew is better equipped to tackle such a task.

This giant McCaw palm had reached the top of the exhibit structure. Removing it was no easy feat, especially considering that the trunk is covered in very sharp spines!

The crew also pruned the Balsa, Kapok and Hogplum, all of which were outgrowing their space, and removed the tallest section of a Peach Palm which was pressing on the glass.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Orchid Show Awards

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s exhibit at the 2011 Winter Carnival Orchid Show was a great success. Not only was it awarded an American Orchid Society show trophy and a best of class trophy, this year’s display was also awarded the American Orchid Society's Gold Certificate!

The coveted American Orchid Society's Gold Certificate is given only a handful of times in any given year. To qualify, an orchid exhibit must score a minimum of 90 points on a nationally standardized scale that is intended to recognize exceptional artistic or unique arrangement, educational value, creativity and artistic skill. Displays that receive Gold Certificates are exceptionally beautiful in the eye of the judges present not just well-executed, or technically well-done in their application of the principles of design. They possess a “wow factor” that is difficult to describe. This display, housed in its own room and designed to maximize the impact of numerous skylights and the natural sunlight provided, gave the viewer the impression of walking into an orchid-laden jungle.

Many individual orchid plants within the exhibit were also given awards including:

10 first place ribbons
14 second place ribbons
10 third place ribbons
1 Certificate of Cultural Excellence award for Angraecum eburneum ‘Como Conservatory’
1 Certificate of Cultural Merit award for Paphiopedalum swanianum 'Don McNeely'
1 Best of Class trophy for Laelia moyobambe 'Greg McNeely'