St. Patrick’s Day in the Greenhouse

geranium-close-up-blogOne day soon, these tiny geraniums will be blooming in Denver’s parks.

St. Patrick’s Day morning found me in Denver’s City Park Greenhouse filling pots and planting pepper seeds to fulfill part of my master gardener volunteer requirements. The pepper plants will be grown in the greenhouse and sold this spring as a fundraiser.

My planting efforts were just a small part of the hum of activity in the greenhouse. Even though Spring hasn’t sprung quite yet, inside the greenhouse preparations are well underway for the planting season. There weren’t any shamrocks in sight, but there was plenty o’ green. Each year more than 300,000 plants are grown in the greenhouse to plant in 650 beds in Denver’s parks.

canna-growing-blogRows and rows of colorful Canna plants, in various stages of growth, lined the concrete benches. Cannas add a vertical dimension to the parks’ flower beds and their leaf colors range from bronze to green to a Tropicana-striped leaf.

While I was carefully poking shallow holes and planting pepper seeds by hand,  Christie Hale, horticulturist with Denver Parks and Recreation, was busy at the seeding machine. Because of the large quantities of seeds she needs to plant, the process has to be automated.

seed-machine-blog2Christie can plant several hundred seeds at a time using a special machine that picks up the tiniest of seeds with a vacuum action and then deposits the seed in each soil-filled cell.

The end result is a greenhouse filled with fabulous¬† flowers to add to the the city’s perennially stunning displays.


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