Garfield Park Conservatory holds 'plant rescue sale'

October 22, 2011

Courtesy of the Chicago Park District
This Ravenea Palm is among the varieties being sold Saturday.

The Garfield Park Conservatory is holding a "plant rescue sale" Saturday.

A summer hailstorm heavily damaged the conservatory and left plants exposed to the elements. The Chicago Park District says workers are nearly done putting up plastic coverings on the roofs to shelter plants against the winter. But only about half of the greenhouses will get this cold weather protection.

"The plants themselves need some care, and we don't have the space for them," said Matthew Barrett, the floriculture foreman. "If you've got a house and you've got some good light, and you've got a little bit of a green thumb, you get to peruse the yard, take a look at what we've got, and you go home with a piece of history from the conservatory."

Barrett says they're selling plants to the public that are normally grown for the Spring Flower Show and the collection houses. They include succulents, cacti and tropical plants rare in this area, as well as unusual varieties of salvia and lavender.

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, a non-profit that supports the conservatory, said it's raised $200,000 so far for repairs.

The Chicago Park District doesn't have an estimate yet for how much repairs will cost. It estimates the clean-up and winterization at about $3 million.

A spokeswoman said they hope to start construction in the spring, and be completed by the end of next year.