The Conservatory Chronicles 

Issue 120
November 2017

A monthly newsletter for our growing Conservatory Community
This #GivingTuesday, Support the Conservatory of Flowers

Your love can make a lasting difference to our 138-year old wood-and-glass conservatory and botanical collection this holiday season. How exactly, you may ask? November 28 is #GivingTuesday - a 24-hour online giving event benefiting nonprofits making a difference. Your donation powers this place of exceptional beauty, inspiring nearly 200,000 guests each year to understand, cherish and advocate for protecting the rich biodiversity of the planet's rainforests.  

Your support is critical to:
  • Hosting thousands of Bay Area elementary and middle school students at no cost to explore this living museum of tropical plants, connecting directly to California's Science Standards
  • Maintaining a world-class botanical collection, distinguished by rare and threatened plants
  • Planning for the long-term future of the Conservatory
  • And much more!

Photo by Daniel Lee
Thank you!

Thank you to all who helped support the Conservatory of Flowers at our annual gala, Dracula Ball, and its after-party, The Gaslamp Fantasy on October 19. The event was a tremendous success, and we couldn't have done it without our community and partners.
Photo by Daniel Lee
Membership News

Our membership program is going green! Now members will be able to access their membership digitally through their mobile phone. While individual and family fees will be increased, we're also adding an exciting new benefit - discounted entry to our evening events. Stay tuned for more details!

Photo by Joshua Brott, Obscura Digital
Now Extended Through Thanksgiving Weekend! Photosynthesis: A Nightly Illumination show

Due to popular demand, Photosynthesis will shine through Thanksgiving weekend. Don't miss the final chance to see our historic building become the canvas for an elegant public art installation to honor the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love. 
Upcoming Events

Photo by Candiss Koenitzer
Botanicals & Brews Beer Garden
November 17 at 6:30pm

This month, Black Sands Brewery,  a brewery designed and constructed by homebrewers, joins us for Botanicals and Brews. Learn about their brewing process, explore the Conservatory plant collection, and catch the final nights of the nightly Illumination light show.

Murder at the Conservatory
November 24 at 6:30pm

Crack the case of who killed Dr. Michael Orrhiza. Make a new Friendsgiving tradition by solving a Victorian murder mystery set in the Conservatory of Flowers. 


Conservatory Trivia - Getting to Know Leland Stanford, One of "The 27"

For t he third, thrilling installment of historical investigation into the 27 business people who purchased the Conservatory of Flowers "kit" left on James Lick's estate upon his death for $2,600, we explore the life of Leland Stanford.
Leland Stanford was a business tycoon, an industrialist, a politician (California Senator and Governor), a railroad pioneer, and "robber baron," owner of several wineries, and horse enthusiast. Stanford commissioned Eadweard Muybridge to photograph the gait of horses to see if they had all four feet off the ground at the same time. He and his wife Jane founded Leland Stanford University as a memorial for their 15-year old so on who died in Italy of typhoid fever. 
Jane was ahead of her time. Not only did she demand that women be empowered to enroll at Stanford, but she advocated against racist inclinations of Stanford economists and went to England to sell all her jewels to buy books for students. Her "Jewel Fund" in 1905 of $500,000 is said to be worth $20 million now. 
Jane outlived Leland and was (reportedly) murdered by strychnine poisoning in Hawaii, most likely by a close household member. 
What we may conclude is...the Conservatory's history is wildly exciting!

What's in Bloom?

The Conservatory's pygmy date palm is a prized relic from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The Expo was held over 100 years ago in 1915. This elegant arching palm was donated to the Conservatory after the closing of the exposition. Each pinnate leaf, or frond, has 100 narrow, shiny leaflets. When in bloom, it drops hundreds of tiny white flowers that blanket the ground of the gallery.  

In 1889, James O'Brien, one of the most famous horticulturists of the 19th century, named the palm "roebelenii" in honor of the German orchid collector Carl Roebelen who was the first to completely document the plant in Laos. The pygmy date palm quickly became popular in landscapes and collections for its attractive leaves and trunk. By 1915, this palm would have been a common hot house plant.