San Francisco's Conservatory is in need

Aroidophiles and collectors of other interesting plants -

A project I've been trying to get going is related to our local
Conservatory in Golden Gate Park.  Back at the end of 1995, there
was a significant storm which caused much damage to occur to the
physical structure of this historic greenhouse, deisgned after the
Kew Gardens Conservatory in the last century.  The storm itself was
not completely to blame - the structure had been sadly neglected by
the City of San Francisco, even though it was a popular tourist
attraction.  When I first met Phil Mueller (one of the original
creators of Aroid-L), is was during one of his visits to our area,
and we peered into the windows of this building as it was closed
to the public due to the damage.

Funding for the restoration of this project has long been a problem,
even before this tragic damage - it continues to this day.  George
Marcopulos, the director of the greenhouses, is still dedicated to
restoring the collections lost during the damage (imagine a large
greenhouse with big gaping holes in the roof and sides during our
winter - albeit mild, but cold enough to do in many old and
beautiful specimens!).  He is very interested in Aroids, but also
needs to amass various palm and other tropical specimens.  He is
willing to trade plants, but is also happy for donations
(obviously).  ALL of the current funds have been going straight into
the restoration of the greenhouse itself, so he has had little at
his disposal for bolstering the plant collection.  Various
collectors in our area seem to feel that there is an opportunity for
them in this sad affair, insisting on charging (reasonable but
perhaps callous) proces for unusual items.  George simply doesn't
have the money.  The current plans are for reopening in 4 years, so
he is hoping to plant some of large 'backbone' items to give them
time to establish themselves before then.

I've been working on a WWW Site for some time, and may be getting
some new information about this project soon.  I've also been
promised a site in which to install these pages, so they will be
'live' in the next several months.  For now, I have some preliminary
pages at:

I'm coming to this group for advice.  Perhaps you can view these
pages and let me know if my approach is good, what other types of
inclusions you might like to see, other suggestions.  George will
soon be providing me a plant list of their collection, though I
understand it is not quite up to date.  He likes to emphasize the
rare and endangered species, and those with interesting and unusual
ecomonic or 'human' uses, as an education for the visiting public.                                                                  
He is establishing 'old' and 'new' world sections.  He is also a
repository of many cool growing or tropical alpine orchids, species
which find our local San Francisco Fog influence to their liking.
If you have any advice, interest, assistance, possible donations, or
what-have-you towards this project, please let me know and I'll put
you in touch with George Marcopolus.  Local collectors with large
specimens that may have outgrown their greenhouses are especially
encouraged to respond.
Thanks for your consideration of this worthwhile cause.
 Sean A. O'Hara           
 710 Jean Street                    (510) 987-0577
 Oakland, California 94610-1459     h o r t u l u s   a p t u s
 U.S.A.                             'a garden suited to its purpose'
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