Love the Garfield Park Conservatory — one pane at a time

Summer-Autumn, 2011

June 30, 2011, a hailstorm cascaded over isolated Chicago areas, including the Garfield Park Conservatory 4.5 acreage. Golf ball size hail shattered greenhouse roof panels, causing historical damage.

Now the Garfield Park Conservatory needs emergency support, and asks for it“One Pane at a Time.”

Glass shards cover Garfield Conservatory plant beds and walking paths. Broken glass hangs from greenhouse roof panels. Designated Conservatory public areas, including the Showroom, the Desert House, and the historic Fern Room are closed indefinitely.
Conservatory staff clean up the shattered glass they can, and tend to the plants they can. Yet even staff have limited entry due to the hazardous conditions.
Meanwhile, plants in the damaged houses, lie vulnerable to the elements.

The exposed, historic Fern Room
The Fern Room lost the most glass, says Perrine Knight, a Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance board member.
This grand greenhouse is populated by ferns, and other plants from the Cycad family, she says. Short to tall, plants to palm trees, these plants showcase lush, unbranched leaves.
The Fern Room is populated by plants that were donated to the Garfield Park Conservatory before it opened in 1907,  Ms. Knight says. “Some of the ferns and plants were 100 years old when they were donated over 100 years ago.”
And some donated plants were even older when donated . Some were over 100 years when they were donated, and now are over 300 years old.

Love the plants ….

Most ferns and other cycad plants are sensitive to direct sunlight, Ms. Knight says. Conservatory staff provide temporary sun covers now, in the form of umbrella canapes.
These temporary covers do little to protect plants from prolonged, direct sunlight. The delicate leaves are burning under constant exposure, says Ms. Knight. If the 100 year-old plants demise under this exposure, there will be no replacing them.
This is a crisis at Garfield Park Conservatory. Plants and flora in the Fern Room, the Desert House, and Show Room, and the Propagation Greenhouse remain exposed to the elements. Detriments increase as we approach autmn and winter.

…. ‘One Pane at a Time’
          Though this crisis is sudden and catastrophic, Garfield Park Conservatory asks for help to repair the thousands of shattered panes “One pane at a Time.”
Donations are accepted for $25, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000 here.

Yet if you want to set your own donation number, any amount is appreciated!
Call (773) 638-1766, ext.13, or mail a check made out to “Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance” to Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago IL 60624.

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