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Volunteer opportunity, April 2nd

March 31, 2015

Hi All,

Come volunteer with us! This Thursday we will continue to plant out buckwheats and weed the small bed adjacent to the plantings. We will be working in the California Mediterranean garden, which is our newest (and weediest) demonstration garden. We’ll have gloves and tools, so bring yourself, water, and sun protection as this area can be very sunny.

Time: Thursday April 2nd, 10 am – 1pm

Place: California Demo Garden, Greenhouse 2, San Francisco State University

CA garden map

Leave a comment here to RSVP!

Field trip to the 2015 Pacific Orchid Expo

February 10, 2015

Hey Everyone! Welcome to 2015! It’s a brand new year and we are starting off strong with an exciting field trip.

Friends of the Greenhouse is taking a group of students to the Pacific Orchid Expo. We are planning a trip on Friday February 20th. Please get in touch with us here to join our Orchid trek.

To whet your appetite here’s this little beauty spotted today in the greenhouse.


2014 Orchid Exposition at Fort Mason Feb. 21-23

February 4, 2014

FOTGH will be taking a group of about 12 students to see the Orchid Expo on Friday Feb. 21 at 1 PM. Get in touch with Martin ( to reserve space if you would like to go.

Stamhopea tigrina

Stanhopea tigrina

Plant Sale this Wednesday, 3/20/13, from 11 AM until 4:30 PM

March 17, 2013

This sale will include Succulents, Bromeliads, Venus Flytraps, Pitcher Plants, and feature easy to grow outdoor Pleione formosana orchids just beginning to flower (in white and pink below).

We will need helpers to get our offerings assembled, labeled, and groomed Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Please just stop by the Science Greenhouse if you have a spare hour. And we hope to see a good number of you at the sale itself. (If you miss this one, we are planning to have a larger plant sale late in April, but the Pleione orchids may be finished flowering by then.)ImageImage

Orchid Expo a Delight for Students -looking forward to California Carnivores Visit!

March 6, 2013

            Our annual visit to the Orchid Expo at Fort Mason was great fun. The miniature orchid and pleurothallid displays were full of evolutionary marvels as usual. No new acquisitions were made for the GH this year (as we are low on both money, space, and staff) but several beautiful plants were acquired by participants. One of our group is a photographer (Rachel Aston) and took this group shot:Image

I need to hear from those interested in visiting California Carnivores, a nursery devoted to carnivorous plants in Sebastopol. We will pick the date best for the greatest number of those who would like to go. Please let me know ASAP, so we can get there before spring break!

February 17, 2013

The Pacific Orchid Exposition is coming up Friday, Feb. 22, and FOTGH is planning to attend. If you are free that afternoon and would like to go, contact Martin at and let him know so he can arrange free admission for the first 10 people replying:

FOTGH will also be making a field trip this semester to California Carnivores Nursery in Sebastopol before March 15. Martin would like to know who would like go along and see a vast collection of carnivorous plants. He would like to book a day when the most people can attend:

Recent Postings, A Difficult Time at the Greenhouse

December 21, 2012

We have more plants flowering this Winter Break that usual, as you will see from postings below. It’s a bit of an irony, as it is an unintended consequence of our gas line being crushed 3 months ago due to the growth of a poorly placed, but wonderful tree: Agathis robusta -still quite a youngster- but already pushing in one wall of our Headhouse. No repair is slated, so we are using the lights to help with the heat, keeping them on 24 hours and this is encouraging the extra flowering. Some money from FOTGH was used to put up an electric space heater. We figured out how to link to the environmental controls, but the heater is inadequate on its own… The purchase of another heater for the workspace should follow.

All the motors for our cooling system vents have long since died and must be opened and closed manually. I was told new ones were in hand 6 years ago and have never yet seen them! I can’t get new ones installed through an outside service because any service that operates on campus has to have 6 million dollars in liability insurance! A bit much for one $500 job.

In one of the storage closets there has been a large, nonfunctional water heater for many years. As anyone who has visited could tell you, we need every bit of storage, so we asked for its removal, but this was not provided… until a volunteer turned up to help. Unfortunately, we discovered that the drain line for our sinks is open in that storage space floor and due to the weekly washing of recycled pots, the line is blocked and floods the room with sink use. A repair backlog is likely to be extended on this one.

Our doors are melting! Yes, against code, particle board doors were used in our GH and one door can no longer be opened, the other closed! We are looking into using plant sale money to replace the doors, as SFSU will not, but metal doors are expensive.

Our wood benching outdoors was recycled from the old rooftop greenhouse built in the 60’s and is collapsing around us. I have brought in some plastic benching from home and have used FOTGH funds to buy new, recycled plastic bench tops, but it is a big job to get these in place and save money by making our own legs. A lot of volunteer help will be needed with the re-benching project. This could happen later in Jan., or as soon as I can get a group of 3 or 4 people involved. If you are interested, contact me now!

And despite all these failings in our Science Building Greenhouse (which the powers that be disparage as “old”) it still provides a far superior growing environment than that of our New Greenhouse!

We always have plant losses over the break because there is no funding for student employment during that period, nor during the summers, and a collection as diverse and complex as we currently have cannot be fully automated. There is no backup should I get sick or take a vacation…


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