Park Blossoms Grow Once More In Improved Greenhouse
Plants are blooming again at a Parks Department greenhouse in Queens' Forest Park that was shut down for nearly five years. NY1's Roger Clark got a tour and got a chance to show off his slightly green thumb.
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There are rows and rows of color in the greenhouse in Forest Park, Queens. The flowering plants will eventually find a home on city parkland in Queens and Brooklyn.
"Gardeners maintain them throughout the summer, and as they are doing that we are still growing here again in the Greenhouse to get ready for the next crop, so that throughout the summer and fall we always have splashes of color in our parks," said Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
The greenhouse, which was built in 1905, needed some updating. It took $3.8 million and about five years to transform it into a state-of-the-art facility.
"It's a computerized, controlled system where it controls the temperature, humidity, high points, low points, where you can set it along the computer depending on what you are growing," said Queens Deputy Chief of Operations Paul D'Amore.
"There are sensors inside the house as well outside, and it will automatically identify what the problems are and the computer will adjust the system as needed," said greenhouse supervisor Mark Ford.
The redesign also increased the building's growing capacity.
"Before the renovation we were growing about 200,000 plants a year, and with the new capacity we think we will grow about 250,000 plants," said Lewandowski.
Another new features is 12 giant fans that help regulate the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse and give a pretty nice breeze as well.
"It really makes my life as a gardener a lot easier. Productivity-wise, I can concentrate on growing the plants," said gardener Joan Thorpe.
Thorpe decided to put me to work in the greenhouse. First I did some pinching, removing part of the plant to adjust the growth. Then I tried a little deadheading, a similar task. I got my hands dirty planting some coleus and seeded a bed for some salvia to grow in.
When I asked Thorpe if I have what it takes to be a gardener, she answered, "Maybe. A little more work and you'll be there."
It's okay, I can take a hint.