If you’ve been on our campus recently, you have likely seen the magnificent display of color around the Gardens. This spring, we showcased a record number of blooming bulbs and hosted a stunning orchid exhibition in our Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse. More than ever, we are embracing the natural resources of our diverse 152-acre campus. As part of our long-planned vision to enhance the Gardens, we are now taking a major step forward to return the Elder Greenhouse to its original mission.
Beginning July 1, 2016, we will discontinue retail operations in the Elder Greenhouse and shift gardening retail to the Museum Store. This was not a decision that was taken lightly, and one that we expect will disappoint many. However, with this new initiative we will be able to expand our plant collection, honor the historical legacy of the Elder Greenhouse and educate our guests about horticulture like never before.
Here are a few things you need to know about the changes:
We are returning the Elder Greenhouse to its original purpose
When the Landon and Lilly families lived on the property in the early 1900s, the Greenhouse supported the estate with fresh flowers, vegetables and fruit. We will return the Elder Greenhouse to its original role to honor the historical legacy of the Oldfields estate, a National Historic Landmark on the IMA campus. Two of the glasshouses will transform into production houses where you can see plants being propagated for displays in both the Elder Greenhouse and around our campus.
We still sell plants and gardening merchandise
We now offer a more convenient shopping experience with an ever-changing assortment of seasonal plants and gardening merchandise regularly available in the Museum Store. Conveniently located near the front of the IMA Welcome Center, the store is free to visit and allows for easy transportation of plants to your vehicle. In the coming weeks, you will see succulents, orchids, ferns and other flowering plants from the Elder Greenhouse decorating the store windows. In addition, we will continue to host occasional plant sales around campus, such as the popular Perennial Premiere sale each spring and the upcoming Native Tree and Pollinator Plant Sale on August 27.
You will see even more plants on display
The floral displays in the Elder Greenhouse will continue to feature plants from around the world and now be even bigger and better! Three of the glasshouses will serve as an exhibition space with changing seasonal displays.
There will be more garden programs and classes
The retail shop in the Elder Greenhouse will transform into a dedicated workshop space where you can participate in hands-on classes with horticulture experts. The space will be used for upcoming scheduled classes and allows us to offer even more of these popular programs.
This is just the beginning of a new phase for the Elder Greenhouse and one of the first steps in our efforts to create a living museum of the future.