Legacy Garden, April 2014 (Photo by Gary Mandino)


Pictured on the left with a recently donated rare giant bromeliad is horticulturist and volunteer leader Randy Knight. He and cohorts Ann Clement and Alice Mikkleson lead the next steps in building Mead’s botanical collection, and in restoring the Garden’s deteriorated greenhouse near the front gate. For the past several years a nagging question has been, “What shall we do with that sad little greenhouse?”

Brief Background on the Greenhouse

Greenhouse08BkfstRotaryWhen we first began looking at the greenhouse near the front gate we asked: “Shall we knock it down or save it?” “What’s in there?” Time and hurricanes had not been kind.

In 2008, the Winter Park Breakfast Rotary volunteers began what seemed like a archeological dig to reveal the contents of the greenhouse. Peaking through the chain link fence revealed none of the brick walkways, rocks and water features that the team eventually unearthed.

Yes, there was interesting stuff in there, but would someone come forward to repurpose this structure, or would it still be better to knock it down? Three years later the question still lingered when the Winter Park First United Methodist Church “Faith In Action” Volunteers dug in. Guided by landscape architect Forest Michael and MBG’s new Director, Jeffrey Blydenburgh, they removed even more of the opportunist trees and weeds  growing inside. Hot and satisfying work.


Still, the greenhouse needed a purpose and someone to adopt it. Enter Randy Knight, Alice Mikkleson and Ann Clement who together had successfully led a team to restore Mead’s Butterfly Garden and were eager for a new project. “We looked no further than that little eyesore near the front gate,” said Randy.

With their team they began to visualize, collect, plant and build. “Considering Theodore Mead’s legacy, we plan to begin with displays of Bromeliads, Begonias and Cycads.”  BBC?  Plans are in the works for a rain garden between the greenhouse and the clay pit. Come see the work in progress.

Are you looking for a rewarding place to contribute some time, have some fun, and learn how to propagate plants?  Please consider becoming a volunteer at Mead Botanical Garden. The team meets on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. at the greenhouse. Contact us at emily@meadgarden.org for more information — or just show up!