CAN (ON): New greenhouse features a taste of the tropical

It's steamy and toasty inside the new Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse, where palms and ferns are relaxing their hunched up leaves.

They've been wrapped and stashed in a holding area waiting to move in to their new digs.

"Since the mum show they've been in storage," tour guide, Marcia Monaghan, says. "They just got planted this week."

Monaghan is superintendent of horticulture for the City of Hamilton, and one of the best people to lead a leaf-peeper's tour.

"This is an old man palm. We just love the wild beard under those big fan shaped leaves."

By the end of February, Monaghan hopes the last details of the new greenhouse will be finished and the public will be invited to enjoy a tropical treat during the dark days of winter. For now, contractors are still working on the irrigation system, adjusting the waterfall and finishing the ponds.

When it's done, the greenhouse will be fully automated, water and fertilizer will be delivered by the drip irrigation system, and vents and misters operating to keep humidity balanced for the tropical plants. The temperature will range from 20 to 25 C.

While the old tropical house was a delightful spot, the bananas and palms were outgrowing it, banging their heads, so to speak, against the six-metre-high ceiling. In the new 14,000-square-foot greenhouse plants have triple the height to grow.

Read more at The Hamilton Spectator (Kathy Renwald)

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