Greenacres Greenhouse Department
The mission of the greenhouse department is to grow all plant materials requested by other Greenacres departments. During the 2014 growing season, over 18,000 total plants were grown at the greenhouse and were used by the landscaping, vegetable production, and events departments.
The greenhouse department works closely with the aesthetic and landscaping department to grow all of the plants used to beautify the landscaping for the entire Greenacres Foundation property. Most notable, the greenhouse grows over 5,000 annuals used for three seasonal plantings at the Greenacres Arts Center.
The greenhouse department assists the vegetable production department in propagating all needed vegetable transplants for the Greenacres vegetable gardens. The resulting produce is sold through the Greenacres Farm Store and, as of 2015, a thirty member CSA program.
In support of the events department, the Greenhouse grows and maintains foliage and color plant material to decorate the inside of the Greenacres Arts Center. During the 2012 holiday season, over 1,500 poinsettia were grown at the greenhouse for decorating the Arts Center.
In 2015, the greenhouse started to produce plant material to support the Garden Education Department. The major project of 2015 is to grow five crops in a succession planting plan. The goal is to have each crop in different stages of growth from sowing to full maturity, so that school groups at the greenhouse can see the different stages a plant goes through to produce an edible food crop.
In 2015 the greenhouse department is launching a year-round cut flower program. The flowers produced in and around the greenhouse will be sold at the Greenacres Farm Store.
Brief History of the Greenacres Greenhouse
The Greenacres greenhouse was constructed as part of the Winding Creek Farm and was built in the time frame from 1925 to 1929. The original greenhouse was a three section Lord and Burnham greenhouse of 3,500 square feet. Additional greenhouses were added taking the total greenhouse space to 11,310 square feet. Some of the additional greenhouses were V Bar Greenhouses from the William H. Lutton Company. The greenhouses were used by the staff of Winding Creek Farm to grow many crops including produce and flowers. Most notably was the breeding efforts of carnations at the Winding Creek Farm greenhouse. Records found on site include awards from the American Carnation Society for many varieties. The original greenhouse complex stayed in use until 1974.
When the Greenacres Foundation purchased the Winding Creek Farm property in 1999, the greenhouse had stood empty for over 25 years. Pictures taken in 2000 show most of the glass missing from the greenhouse and the entire area over grown with trees, vines, and weeds. In the summer of 2008, Greenacres started the process of renovating the greenhouse. Over the next four years the greenhouse was restored to the structure you see today.
Currently, the Greenacres greenhouse is 8,820 square feet. Some 2,490 square feet of the original greenhouse complex was of wood construction and could not be save during the renovation. During the renovation, the greenhouse was updated to include many modern systems. Most notable — an environmental control computer was installed that can control the temperature, humidity and light levels in the greenhouse.
It was probably an eventuality that Stephen would end up working with plants. Stephen is the third generation of his father’s families to be working in greenhouses in Cincinnati. Stephen’s grandfather, Frank Sehlhorst, was the founder of the family business, Sehlhorst the Florist, one of 50 greenhouse operations that once dotted the landscape in Delhi Township, a western suburb of Cincinnati. While growing up on his mother’s family farm in North Bend, Ohio, Stephen’s parents, Betty and Linus, had their children grow a wide variety of crops that included such things as cotton, peanuts, and all types of flowers. After graduating from Miami University and serving his country in the United States Navy, Stephen returned home and worked in the family business. Stephen then went to work for Hamilton County Park District as the Nursery Manager of the Shaker Trace Seed Nursery. The Shaker Trace Seed Nursery is the Park District’s native plant nursery. It is here that Stephen gained an appreciation for the native plants of Ohio. Stephen wishes to personally thank his father, Linus, for teaching him how to be a greenhouse grower.
Growing up on her family’s farm in Taiwan is where Kelly first learned about growing vegetables, fruit trees, and ornamental plants. After moving to Cincinnati in 1995, she fell in love with the beautiful landscape of the Midwest. Even though Kelly earned her business degree in Taiwan and two associate degrees, including Landscape Horticulture at Cincinnati State, she finds her passion in plant propagation and maintenance. Kelly fulfilled her internship at Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife. Kelly worked for a well-known local horticultural retailer and then a long-established greenhouse. She spent one season at Terrace Park Country Club as their horticulturist. After spending time in the garden department at Greenacres, Kelly is now focused on growing plants in the greenhouse and assisting its management.