2nd Annual 4th of July Weekend Blowout Sale!

Blowout Sale 2014

It’s our second-annual Palm House Gift Shop 4th of July Weekend Blowout Sale!

Save 20% off all items in stock including a great selection of:

  • Houseplants
  • Pots and Containers
  • Skin-Care and Lotions
  • Books
  • Cards and Stationary
  • Home decor and Fragrances

And enjoy 20% off all pots and home decor the rest of the month.

Only in the Volunteer Park Conservatory Palm House Gift Shop!

(Located along the north wall of the Palm House)

Open 10 am – 4 pm Tuesday – Sunday

Volunteer Park Trust Presents: Summer Picnic in the Park

Picnic 2014 Edited Image Version Simple

Celebrate summer in Volunteer Park! From 6-8pm on Thursday, July 10th, we will host our second annual Summer

Picnic in the Park.  On the bandstand, The Shed Boys will play bluegrass and The Tall Boys will play string band music. Don Lucho’s (Peruvian sandwiches), Happy Grillmore (burgers and fries), and Dante’s Inferno Dogs (hot dogs and sausages) will be selling picnic dinners. And Volunteer Park Trust will provide FREE lemonade and Cupcake Royale Ice Cream (and plenty of it)!

Mark your calendars, tell the neighbors, and bring the kids on Thursday, July 10th.

See pictures from last year and get more info:   http://on.fb.me/1nZqeyX

Restoration and Capital Improvement Update

Under Contruction!

Construction on the Conservatory is progressing on schedule.  The first, and most dramatic change so far was the abatement and demolition of the defunct upper east production house at the end of May.

Built in the 1920s, the upper-east production house had fallen into disrepair, and had been condemned for several years. The structure provided little more than moody atmosphere against the backdrop of Lakeview Cemetery.

However, the new production house will provide much needed grow space, as well as a flexible are which can be used for education and events.

To see a time-lapse video of the demolition, click here.

Asbestos and lead paint were present in the materials removed, so care was taken in abatement.

Pouring FoundationConcrete forming and site utility work has started. Crews poured the footing for the new production house,  upon followed by stand walls upon which the concrete slab will be poured and eventually will support the new structure.

The Conservatory’s Cactus and Seasonal Houses are making unmistakable progress. The glazing and wooden support beams were removed, albeit more delicately than the production house as the iron support beams will remain in place.

FabricationMeanwhile,  fabrication of extruded aluminum mullion bars is well underway offsite.  The fabrication process is multi-stage and is the single most time consuming element of the project.

Once the fabrication is completed, the components will be brought on-site and assembled to assure proper fitting. the pieces will again be removed to paint, before finally returning to be refitted permanently.

The Conservatory is open to the public from 10 am – 4 pm Tuesday through Sunday through October and the displays are as breathtaking as ever! Be sure to visit throughout the summer to see the project progress.

October through November additional site-wide improvements will necessitate temporary complete closure, with a grand-reopening gala scheduled to take place in December 2014

For questions or concerns about the 2014 Capitol Improvement Project and Restoration, contact Kelly Goold, Seattle Parks and Recreation Project Manager: 206.684.0586

Plant of the Month: Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus - Jungle Cactus Hybrids

The Orchid Cactus is a member of the Cactaceae family. Unlike the majority of cacti they are not terrestrial desert plants. They prefer to grow in shaded places where the rooting material is mostly organic and moist for most of the year. Epis are closely related to Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, Rhipsalis, Growers have been hybridizing various epiphytic cacti for many years, resulting in a fabulous rainbow of exotic flowers from small to huge.

In habitat, these plants perch on trees or rocks, adapting to their humid environment. Growing these beautiful flowering plants at home or as greenhouse plants is relatively easy when you understand their origins. They enjoy early or late afternoon sun, but need protection from hot, direct midday sun. Most epis can take temperatures as low as 35-40 degrees, and actually prefer to be a bit cooler in the winter than summer. They love to be outdoors in shade all summer long, where they can receive rainfall or overhead watering.

Jan-Apr: begin giving more water and half-strength balanced (20-20-20) fertilizer. As new growth begins to show, switch to a higher phosphorus fertilizer (10-30-20) to encourage flower budding. Water as often as needed to keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy.

May-Oct: After blooming is finished in summer, continue to fertilize with balanced (20-20-20) fertilizer once a month until fall. In fall switch to a low nitrogen fertilizer to harden off new growth. After bloom, prune for shaping and to remove diseased or damaged branches. Repot if needed. Root new cuttings.

Nov-Dec: Epicactus need a cool dry winter rest period, so as the days get shorter, water less often, only when soil is quite dry. Withold fertilizer. Epicacti roots need a loose, coarse, organic soil that will not become compact and remain soggy after watering.

At the Conservatory, we use 1 part each of medium fir bark, coarse pumice, chunky peat, and soiless (peat-perlite) potting mix. It’s best to avoid composted wood products, as they break down quickly and become mushy.

Repotting should be done during the active growing season – spring through summer. Epis prefer to be root-bound, so you should only go to a larger pot if the plant is top heavy and won’t stand up. Hanging baskets are ideal for many epis, and clay pots are good for added stability. Epis are easy to propagate from cuttings. Cut branch pieces into 4″- 6″ sections, and leave them out to dry for 3-7 days. Pot them into sterile, loose mix, and do not water until roots begin to develop. (A little overhead mist is helpful, but keep potting mix dry.) You can tell if roots are forming by tugging gently on the cuttings. They resist when roots are taking hold. Then water just enough then to keep them from shriveling, keeping on the dry side.

Pinch off any flower buds the first year to send energy into plant growth. You can also grow epiphyllums from seed if your plant develops fruit. The fruit usually take nearly a year to ripen and turn red. Then it can be harvested, cut open and the seeds separated from the jelly within. Put the fruit contents into a jar of water with a tight lid and shake well. Carefully pour seeds and water out onto a paper towel and allow to dry. Sow seed in seedling mix and cover to maintain humidity. Seedlings may need to remain in the original container for two years until large enough to transplant to individual pots.

It can take 3-5 years to bloom a seedling. Mealybugs may be a problem. They can be easily controlled with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab, or diluted in a spray bottle. Outdoors, slugs may be attracted to plants.

Drop-in Desert Terrarium Workshop

Terrarium Poster