After 3,500 Hours And 22 Years, Como Zoo Greeter Ready To Retire

June 10th, 2015

Fox-9 stopped by Como yesterday to profile one of Como’s most distinguished volunteers! Gretchen Estes has put in more than 3,500 hours over 22 years of volunteering at Como! A big “Thank You” to Gretchen for her years of service! ‪KMSP-TV

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2015 Summer Flower Show!

May 5th, 2015

The Summer Flower Show kicked off last weekend! Kare 11 took some time to explore all of the hard work that goes into making this show so special!

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Pollinating Vanilla!

April 9th, 2015

Over the past few weeks I have been hand pollinating Vanilla planifolia flowers in the North Garden. This is one of the vanilla orchids from which  vanilla pods are produced . There are over a 100 species of vanilla in this genus. Only a handful of the species are used for flavorings. When a vanilla flower is pollinated, the seed pod that is produced is the vanilla “bean” that is used in the flavoring of food and as an addition to many other products. It is not a true “bean” (like a green bean) but actually an orchid seed pod. We have 3 different kinds of vanilla in the North Garden, all climbing on the wall between the North Garden and the Palm Dome. Two of the species of vanilla are blooming today. I have been hand pollinating this flush of flowers on the Vanilla planifolia since March 5th. Vanilla grows in many parts of the world, like Madagascar, where its pollinators do not live. The vanilla we have is native to parts of Mexico. So it needs to be hand pollinated to produce fruits.Flowers grow in clusters and a few open each day over about a 6 week period. The flowers are receptive to being pollinated for only 4-6 hours, generally in the early morning. I have been pollinating the flowers about 10am any day that I can get the lift and have access to open flowers. I have attempted pollination of 45 flowers since March 5 and it looks like there are at least a dozen pods that have formed!!! Yay!! Not fantastic odds but my goal was to get one pod—so I am doing OK!! This is the first time that I have had success pollinating vanilla!  Go vanilla!!- Gardener Margaret

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Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

April 3rd, 2015

The Palm Dome was lit up blue on April 2 for World Autism Awareness Day! ‪

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#MMC100

March 10th, 2015

The Conservatory has been around for 100 years! We know that everyone has a unique story and experience in this wonderful building, so now is your chance to share them! Use the hashtag #MMC100 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share your pics and experiences with us! The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory turns 100 this year! Use the hashtag #MMC100 to share your pics and experiences! pic.twitter.com/wfC8PYW9wm— Como Zoo (@ComoZoo) March 9, 2015

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