NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Queens greenhouse nestled in Forest Park has provided plants and flowers to New York City parks for more than a century.

CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock got a rare look inside the greenhouse on Friday. The annuals and perennials planted in flowerbeds throughout the parks of Queens were growing inside.

“We grow approximately 100,000 plants in the spring growing season,” said director of horticulture Adriana Jacykewycz.

Geraniums, Dusty Millers, and vincas all start in the greenhouse as seeds. Gardeners sow the seeds in December, and by the spring, they emerge into a bold array of colors and textures.

On this Friday in late April, the plants were ready for the bigtime. They were being stored in a poly house, where they were ready to go outside.

They are hardened in the poly house – a structure made of polyethylene – to ensure they can survive the elements.

“Judging when the last frost is going to be, and knowing when it’s safe to plant them outside – that’s a challenge,” Jacykewycz said.

Keeping the plants healthy in the meantime is a big job.

“We try to use the least toxic method of controlling pest problems and diseases,” Jacykewycz said. “It means real insects, for the most part.”

Praying mantises are let loose in the poly houses to eat the bad bugs. Ladybugs are also put to work.

By the end of June, the greenhouse will be completely empty. All the bold colors will be brightening up the city’s parks.

Among the parks that will be graced with the flowers is Flushing Meadows-Coronoa Park. Garnders Frank
Davino and Lou Cappella were looking forward to it.

“You’re outside. You’re in a beautiful place. You can’t beat the atmosphere,” said Davino, a gardener of 40 years.

Davino and Cappella on Friday were weeding the beds of the Unisphere garden at the park. By May 15, they will be planting — to delight of park goers.

The Queens greenhouse will be open to the public on Saturday, for the first time in at least a decade.


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