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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lowland Tropics, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, the flowerbeds hadn't been planted yet.

I had an exceptional 24 hours in San Francisco last week with my sister, Alyssa.  The weather was deliciously warm and sunny, unusual in the city so perhaps I brought it with me from Austin.  We walked from her neighborhood over to Candlestick Park on the auspicious hallows of a local holiday.  Amid wafting, incense-like smoke we toured the the Conservatory of Flowers.  If you may recall, we were foiled from participating in a tour last time I visited her, forced only to walk the perimeter of the Victorian greenhouse, constructed from a Sears Roebuck prefabricated kit if I recall correctly.

So without much ado I'll share my best photos from the tour.  I have some gems so I'm going to space them out based on each room of the Conservatory.  Virtual tour y'all!  I'll be here all week!

Lowland Tropics Gallery, conservatoryofflowers.org

Let's start in the Lowland Tropics room, the largest gallery in the conservatory.  The enclosure boasts an immense vaulted ceiling to safely house a collection of large cycads and fruiting trees.

Wide format of the gallery, from conservatoryofflowers.org

I missed taking some room-wide shots of this gallery so I'll add this photo from the website so you can get an idea of the scale. 

One of the most valuable plants in the collection is the 100-year old GIANT Imperial Philodendron, pictured below.  The plant grows up a steel support system and is braced with large vortex supports.  Immense leaves create a canopy over the center of the gallery and shade the plants below.

Imperial Philodendron

Note the sprawling support structure needed to brace the plant.  In nature a plant of this stature would depend on the branches of nearby trees.

Next we'll visit the Highland Tropics Gallery.  

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