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Flower Power Returns to San Francisco

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The Conservatory of Flowers Reopens on September 20

SAN FRANCISCO - This holiday season, renew a tradition or start a new one by visiting San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers to see its latest seasonal floral display. For one month only from December 3, 2003 to January 4, 2004, visitors will be able to walk through a tropical wonderland where unusual, pale green orchids and silvery begonia leaves appear like jewels nestled in a sea of white poinsettias.

Diane Row, a floral and garden designer who specializes in vineyard estates of the Napa Valley, has been commissioned to create the display, the second to be presented in the Conservatory's POTTED PLANTS gallery since the reopening in September. Diane's innovative design pays homage to traditional holiday floral displays, but will also reflect the tropical flavor of the Conservatory's collection.

Visitors will be delighted by this surprising mix of the familiar and the unusual. Entering the Conservatory, the white spectacle and fragrance of paper white narcissus will awaken the senses right from the start. Once inside POTTED PLANTS, visitors will experience a stunning landscape of pale, creamy shades of white, yellow and green with dramatic plum and magenta accents. Some of the unusual plants that Diane plans to use include a rare variety of Phalaenopsis (the moth orchid), the purple and green-leafed Musa banana (ice cream banana), a new variety of plum-colored poinsettia and a beautiful silver and magenta begonia.

For a fitting Victorian touch, Diane will be creating a large double-sided magnolia wreath that will grace the handcrafted wood arbor inside the gallery. Glittering ribbons and sumptuous fabrics will be the final touches on this festive, not-to-be-missed display.

Visitors to the Conservatory this holiday season should also make a point of visiting the SPECIAL EXHIBITS gallery to see the current temporary exhibition on plant pollination called THE BIRDS AND THE BEES. Here, visitors can get up close and personal with hundreds of live butterflies that flit from plant to plant drawing nectar from brightly colored blossoms. The butterfly release house in the middle of the gallery allows visitors to observe the slumbering creatures in their chrysalis stage. You never know, you may be lucky enough to catch the moment when one of these winged beauties emerges.

Go west this winter (to Golden Gate Park, that is), and visit the Conservatory of Flowers this holiday season! The Conservatory will be open to the public on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Background
The Conservatory of Flowers is a spectacular living museum of rare and beautiful tropical plants under glass. From Borneo to Bolivia, the 1500 species of plants at the Conservatory represent unusual flora from more than 50 countries around the world. Immersive displays in five galleries include the lowland tropics, highland tropics, aquatic plants, potted plants and special exhibits.

Opened in 1879, the wood and glass greenhouse is the oldest existing conservatory in the Western Hemisphere and has attracted millions of visitors to Golden Gate Park since it first opened its doors. It is designated as a city, state and national historic landmark and was one of the 100 most endangered sites of the World Monuments Fund.

The Conservatory reopened to the public in September 2003, eight years after a pacific storm with winds of over 100 mph severely damaged the Victorian jewel.

For more information, visit www.conservatoryofflowers.org or call: 415-666-7001

Media interviews and tour available by request and arrangement.