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Going greener with Domes greenhouses


Did you ever wonder where all the plants come from that are displayed in the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes)? Each year, thousands of plants are grown, planted and displayed in the "Floral Show Dome". From poinsettias to tulips and Easter lillies....each plant starts as a seedling just steps away in their new greenhouses.


When construction started on the expanded Zoo exchange freeway system, Milwaukee County's greenhouses that were built in the 1950's had to find a new home.


Construction finished about a year ago on a huge new complex at Milwaukee's iconic Mitchell Park Domes. Seven new greenhouses, equipped with the latest in horticulture technology sit on the East side of the Domes. "This new facility is much more sustainable," says Sandy Folaron, Domes Director. "Things they built in the 50's didn't use systems to capture and reuse water or solar technology." The floors are headed by radiant energy. Huge cooling pads made of corrugated cardboard regulate temperature and new plant benches with state of the art watering technology and a computerized system deliver water and fertilizer to each individual plant. Last year, this county greenhouse complex saved 80,000+ gallons of rainwater from going into the Milwaukee sewer system with their new Sky Harvester system. (click the story player above to hear more about this water-saving system)


Each greenhouse is dedicated to growing a different type of plant. There are seven fully equipped greenhouses that are used to grow and manage the tropical collection of Conservatory plants, control and grow poinsettias, mums and other crops that are timed to be installed in the 5 seasonal floral displays, a propagation greenhouse that grows all bedding material from seed and another greenhouse that acts like a "spa" for all the outdoor plants from Boerner Botanical Gardens during the winter. "Greenhouse Seven" is a beautiful, open space available for  the expansion of many of the Domes special events particularly educational classes and community programs and events. This year's Winter Farmers Market was moved from the very limited Domes rotunda to this 7th Dome.


Click the story above to learn more.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee