Conservatory of Flowers: Rare and Special Plants, Big and Small

Director /
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Matthew Stephens has been Director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Botanical Garden and Japanese Tea Garden for five years. Prior to leading the Gardens of Golden Gate Park, Stephens was Director of Tree Planting for New York City Parks and Recreation, leading the ambitious “MillionTreesNYC” campaign to plant one million trees throughout New York City. A passionate leader of public gardens, Stephens is invested in improving their leadership and committed to connecting plants and people.


Built in 1879, the Conservatory of Flowers is a national, state and local landmark located at the entrance of the world-renowned Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Conservatory curates an endless parade of rare and unusual flowers for display, aiming to transport visitors to a faraway place where those plants grow in their native ranges. Five distinct galleries focus on highlighting a different ecosystem, ranging from the dense tropical rainforests of Sumatra to the cloud forests of Ecuador and beyond. In this presentation, Director Matthew Stephens brings the Conservatory of Flowers to you — highlighting some of their rarest and most special plants, both big and small, and offering a brief overview of the building’s history as a national landmark. Specifically, he will highlight the Conservatory’s award-winning orchid collection, given orchids are one of the most diverse genera on Earth.



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