The Dallas Arboretum is set to debut new greenhouses on 8 acres of land, where horticulturists can use new technology to grow a greater variety of plants that will be transplanted to the garden.
Arboretum officials said they searched for suitable land for more than a decade until they found the property that straddles Dallas and Mesquite in 2017. More than 17,000 square feet of climate-controlled greenhouses were built in 2018, and horticulture staff started producing from the site in December.
The greenhouses will allow the Arboretum to grow 60 percent of the garden’s plant specimen, which is about triple its production rate, said Jenny Wegley, vice president of horticulture. Staff will be able to grow larger and better quality produce for A Tasteful Place and a variety of cereal plants for the Incredible Edible Garden in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
New technology will be incorporated into the greenhouses so staff can remotely regulate temperature, irrigation, humidity and lighting.
“This technology allows us to grow, control and see what we’re doing and how we impact what we’re growing,” greenhouse manager Ana Swinson said. “Plus, a controlled environment is more predictable than being outside in the elements.”
When the plants in the greenhouse are developed, they will be moved to an outdoor garden to be acclimated. Then they will be transplanted to the Dallas Arboretum.
Donations from Phyllis and Tom McCasland, the Jeanne R. Johnson Foundation and the Hoblitzelle Foundation helped pay for the land and greenhouses. They will be debuted April 3 at a ribbon cutting and tour.