Community flower power

November 16, 2004

Bulletin Staff Writer

Gateway/Streetscape officials have started to pick their new greenhouse clean and saturate area planters with seasonal color.

The 18-foot by 24-foot greenhouse was built by employees of the Martinsville Public Works department with a $10,000 grant from The Harvest Foundation, according to Lois Christensen, director of Gateway.

Gateway is using the greenhouse, located off Clearview Drive near the city prison farm, to grow plants to spruce up several areas in the city and county.

Now, the greenhouse is overflowing with pansies and flowering kale.

"It's full of plants," Christensen said of the 1,400 pansies and 300 flowering kale. "This is the first crop of plants we've grown in our new greenhouse. They look great and they're ready to go."

After cleaning the spent summer foliage from planters, Gateway helpers dug in the first plants at the corner of Market and Fayette streets on Monday, Christensen said.

In all, new flowers will fill containers and flower beds in about 30 spots in Henry County and Martinsville, including Spruce, Finley, Askin, Overland and Union streets and several areas along Kings Mountain Road, she added.

Gateway workers are "cooling off" the greenhouse plants as they start putting them in unprotected outside areas, Christensen said. That involves gradually lowering the thermostat in the greenhouse to get the plants used to the cooler temperature outside, she added.

Although "we're a little late in getting started, pansies should be planted in the fall," she added. They will go dormant once cold temperatures settle in and then come back in the spring and bloom early.

The greenhouse grant was awarded in January, Christensen said. Construction was finished in June and the group will use the greenhouse throughout the year, with plans to grow its own flowers for spring planting.

"We'll probably start that around the beginning of the year," Christensen added.


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