A look back at 2017…

2017 has been a wonderful year for the Volunteer Park Conservatory thanks to our visitors, volunteers, employees and of course, the brilliant gardeners who create that plant magic we love so much. We’ve had a great year and wanted to take a few moments to look back on some highlights of 2017…

Plants Plants Plants…
We watched in 2017 as the gardeners dug up and replaced some palms in the Palm House that were just getting too darn big for our glass ceilings! It was sad to see them go, but we already love what Senior Gardener David Helgeson has been doing with the new spaces. We love seeing what brilliant displays of nature David and his team of gardeners create for all to enjoy. The color combinations and plant selections chosen are a wonder to behold and we cannot wait to see what they create for us in 2018.





Our annual and pop up Plant Sales raised over $10,000 this year!
We also moved our plant sales from the lawn in front of the Conservatory to the back of the Conservatory, outside and inside one of the greenhouses, which worked out perfectly for those rainy days. We also upgraded our checkout system with a handy scanner making checkout quicker for our patrons. We’re already looking forward to the Spring Plant Sale in May.



New Faces!
The Friends of the Conservatory invited Mollie and Khue to join the team part time in 2017. Khue supports the Friends organization by maintaining the office, memberships, and volunteers while Mollie supports the FOC by focusing on marketing and social media. Together with Chrissa the Gift Shop Director they make up the official 2017 Friends of the Conservatory staff.

In 2017 we also added Tom Matney, Caz Downing-Bryant and Alice Wicks to the Friends Board of Directors. Welcome, and thank you! Stepping down this year are Tim Motzer, Mike Cory and Audrey Van Horne. Thank you so much for your many years of dedicated service. New board officers are Sara Chapman President, Rudi Opderbeck Treasurer, and Caz Downing-Bryant Secretary.



Lush Sounds
Lush Sounds was a three-part fundraiser in the summer featuring drinks and dancing—and they were all a HUGE hit! Who knew that people love dancing in such a glorious space filled with clean air and the smells of fragrant night-blooming flowers? 😉 Lush Sounds 3 was such a hit that we had people trying to get in an hour after we closed the doors!


Ikebanas and Chysanthemums!
In the fall of 2017 we had a wonderful two-week Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) display featuring multiple picturesque arrangements from the Sogetsu Mercer Island Branch, as well as a week’s display of impressive Chrysanthemums from the Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association. We appreciate the support of these fellow non-profits and the education they bring to the Volunteer Park Conservatory.



We raised over $20,000 for the Friends of the Conservatory with our unique fundraisers!
The after-hours fundraisers are an exceptional experience featuring local light and sound artists to transform the Conservatory into an otherworldly space. Over the course of the year we’ve supported more than 45 local artists through these events and opened the doors to a younger generation of Conservatory lovers. We’re moving forward into 2018 with a new series called Lusio Lights featuring more light art and local art collectives. We can’t wait!




“For the Love of Plants” raised over $5,000!

The “For the Love of Plants” fundraiser featured poster art from 25+ local artists, with DJs, drinks and dancing on Opening Night. The incredible and popular art poster show and sale continued for two weeks. Opening Night began with a line “around the block” and ended with lots of happy artists, patrons, and plant enthusiasts uniting for the love of … plants! With the proceeds of the art split between the artists and the Friends of the Conservatory, everyone went home happy.




Building on a good thing.
With the fundraising success of 2017 we were finally able to make some upgrades that were much needed, like a new paint job for the gift shop office; new trash & recycling cans; ipads, scanners and chip readers for streamlining events and plant sales; updated gift shop merchandise; a new newsletter platform; and much more! Perhaps these upgrades are not immediately noticeable to most, but rest assured these are helping create a more efficient and supportive Friends of the Conservatory.


Thank You!

Thank you so much to every single person who supported the Friends of the Conservatory and through us, the Volunteer Park Conservatory over the last 12 months. Every time you choose to walk the gardens, renew your membership, buy a plant, like a Facebook post or attend an event of ours, you are supportive the conservation efforts of the Volunteer Park Conservatory. And we appreciate it!
A big thank you to all of the volunteers and artists who donated their time and skills in 2017 to help with our events, and another heartfelt thank you to the Master Gardener David Helgenson and his hard working team who create that plant magic we love so much.
We’re looking forward to growing with you towards bright horizons in 2018!

The Friends of the Conservatory Board of Directors

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