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Parks Park Maintenance Lawton Greenhouse

Lawton Greenhouse

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The Lawton Park Greenhouse has been a fixture of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department since the early 1920's. Employees at the greenhouse are responsible for growing over 130,000 plants for the Botanical Conservatory, the Conservatory Gift Shop at the Botanical Conservatory, floral displays in the parks and the Children's Zoo, at the Foellinger Theatre, for the Mother's Day Plant Sale and the School Children's Flower and Vegetable Association which has also been around since the 1920's!

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The array of plants at the greenhouse is constantly changing!  Plants are grown for a wide variety of places including various Parks, for local school children (as part of the School Children's Flower & Vegetable Association program), Plant Sales, the Zoo, and the Conservatory.  The Botanical Conservatory creates new themed Showcase displays throughout the year.  There are 6 floral changes and 2 summer shows yearly at the Botanical Conservatory with the first being the Butterfly Show.  The second summer show starts with annuals and mums are changed out in September. The Plant Sale is Mother's Day weekend so those crops are started in early winter and continue through late spring to be ready for the sale. Gardeners begin planting the outside floral displays in mid to late May and those crops are started in late winter. The School Children's plants are distributed at the end of April. The quiet time of the greenhouse is late June/early July as the parks crops have all been planted and the staff is waiting for the Conservatory's Mums and Poinsettias for their Fall and Holiday Shows. That is the time the greenhouse is given a thorough cleaning.

What's currently growing in the Greenhouse?

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The greenhouse staff is preparing bachelor's button, dahlias and other flowers for the upcoming Blumengarten: A German Story (July 1-November 12) at the Botanical Conservatory.  If you would like to learn more about the bachelor's button and/or dahlias, check out the information below:

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Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is also known as “bachelor's button,” “bluebottle,” “boutonniere flower” or “hurtsickle.” This bright blue flower lives in sandy, acidic soils, can grow up to 35-inches-tall, and was once considered to be a weed. The cornflower is an unofficial national German flower and is part of several historical European events. Cornflowers that live in the wild are a protected plant.

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Dahlias are annual blooming plants, with mostly tuberous roots. While some have herbaceous stems, others have stems which lignify in the absence of secondary tissue and resprout following winter dormancy, allowing further seasons of growth.[7] As a member of the Asteraceae the flower head is actually a composite (hence the older name Compositae) with both central disc florets and surrounding ray florets. Each floret is a flower in its own right, but is often incorrectly described as a petal, particularly by horticulturists. The modern name Asteraceae refers to the appearance of a star with surrounding rays.

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We are also growing a variety of vegetables for the Showcase. 

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Join us on Facebook!

We have a Facebook page just for the School Children's Flower and Vegetable Association program!  Like our page today and learn more as the season progresses on growing vegetables, cut flowers, herbs and potted plants!

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Beneficial Insects at Work!

Just what are beneficial insects?  And how do they "work"?  Check back soon for information on this!

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Ready for a "pop of color"?  The Calceolaria "Pocketbook Plant" and the colorful pansy provide just the right "pop"!

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We have so many different plants growing this time of year so we are very busy planting, watering and caring for them so they can be the perfect backdrop in the parks, Conservatory or in your home (School Children's Flower and Vegetable Association program)!

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A few of our many volunteers are pictured here hard at work transplanting seedlings.


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The white and light purple flowers are bougainvillea! The name is so
exotic just like this beauty! 

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Pansies are a great flower that survives colder
temperatures in the spring and fall.

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Have you ever smelled Orange Tree blossoms? Wow.
We growing stock plants used for cuttings for the yearly Mother's Day Plant Sale.

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Lots of flowers, vegetables and  herbs are started from seed for various places including for the School Children's Flower and Vegetable Show.


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 The beauty and fragrance of the orchids is overwhelming! Orchids are grown to be enjoyed year around at the Botanical Conservatory

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Have you ever felt the texture of a Lantana leaf and then
took in that wonderful smell? If so, you will never forget
the experience. We grow plenty of Lantana for different
park locations.

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What do you think these photos are showing? If you guessed it is a water tank and the cooling cells are draining into are correct!

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The Conservatory Gift Shop at the Conservatory
carries a wide variety of cactus and succulents
that get their start at the Greenhouse.


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The glass house is the perfect place for the cactus
and succulents as it allows in more light but gets cooler
faster than our other "plastic" houses. The glass house
is the only one remaining of the original green houses
and was built around 1925.



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We rely on a whole team of volunteers including
these two gentlemen who are helping with the
Bonsai. Bonsai are avaiable for purchase at the Botanical
Conservatory Gift Shop, at the Home and Garden Show, and yearly at the Mother's Day Plant Sale.

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One of our greenhouses holds some of our larger tropical plants
including Bird of Paradise. You can see these awesome
gems at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and yearly in the Winter Showcase at the Botanical Conservatory.

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