QUEENS — It's a rare chance to see inside a century-old greenhouse that's responsible for growing plants for public parks in Queens and Brooklyn.
For the first time in decades, the city is opening up its Forest Park Greenhouse, near Forest Park Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard, for public tours on Saturday.
The free tour will take participants through most parts of the city-run facility, which is made up of five greenhouses producing 100,000 plants per year, including geraniums, begonias, purple coneflower and black-eyed Susans.
They're all eventually transported and planted in various parks in Queens and Brooklyn, said Adriana Jacykewycz, the Parks Department's director of horticulture for Queens.
“The plants are at their peak in the greenhouses [now] and everything is nearly ready to go out,” Jackykewz said.
The facility is one of three city-run greenhouse complexes. When it was built in 1905, the greenhouse hosted seasonal flower shows and tours, but now the greenhouse is mostly closed to the public, according to a spokeswoman for the Parks Department.
During the 20-minute tour, gardeners will discuss plant species, how to take care of them and how to deal with pests, the spokeswoman said.
In 2012, the greenhouse had a $3.8 renovation, which involved putting the facility on a computerized climate control system to regulate the light, temperature and humidity, according to the spokeswoman.
The greenhouse was designed by the company Lord and Burnham, renowned greenhouse manufacturers who also conceived the conservatory at New York Botanical Garden.
The palm house section of the greenhouse, which grows the tropical plants, will be excluded from the tour because it was partially damaged during Hurricane Sandy and is still recovering. This portion will get a seperate $1.5 million renovation later this year.
The Forest Park Greenhouse will be open to the public this Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. No reservation needed, however the staff may limit the number of visitors allowed in each house at one time. To access the greenhouse, enter the park at Forest Park Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard.