Yew Dell Gardens
to break ground on greenhouse
facilities will expand
the centers educational program
Helen E. McKinney
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (January 2013) For the first
decade of its existence, the staff at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens has
spent its time rehabilitating the property, developing goals for the
organization, and establishing programming. Now that they have stable
ground under their feet, the time has come to expand and update their
facilities to better showcase what the gardens have to offer.
Yew Dell Gardens has had remarkable success over the last decade as
evidenced by Horticulture Magazine listing it as one of its Top 10 Destination
Gardens in 2011. Our research and education programs have blossomed
and the gardens are now enjoyed by thousands every year, said
Paul Cappiello, executive director of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens.
above rendition shows
what the future greenhouse will
look like. Construction is
expected to begin in spring.
All of these accomplishments were done with rudimentary
facilities, he said. Can you imagine what well be able to
accomplish once we have up-to-date facilities?
Expansion plans include installation of a solar-geo-thermal heated-cooled
greenhouse and renovation of the potting shed building to become the
Preston T. Ormsby Horticulture Center. The former potting shed will
become the greenhouses headhouse and also provide teaching and
work space, becoming the center of daily operations for the staff. A
mobile high tunnel structure will enable staff to grow vegetables throughout
the winter with no added heat.
The expansion will benefit Yew Dell in many ways, said Cappiello. In
terms of education, The facilities will allow us to greatly expand
the quantity and quality of our classes and workshops; from herb workshops
to classes on growing winter vegetables at home, to pruning and grafting
and everything in between.
The facilities will serve as exhibits as well, he said. The greenhouse
will show growers how they can design and operate greenhouses having
much lower utility bills. The green roof on the north side of the greenhouse
will demonstrate another technique to drastically reduce greenhouse
operating costs while growing a variety of plants that can thrive in
this type of environment with the use of a modular tray system. The
solar-geothermal system will produce energy for lights and charge Yew
Dells electric golf carts.
The greenhouse will be banked into the side of the hill to take
full advantage of the insulation value of the ground, Cappiello
said. In addition to using De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop,
Yew Dell Gardens has employed Rough Brothers of Cincinnati, a company
that has been making the highest quality greenhouses for more than 80
They are recognized across the United States for their top quality
design and engineering, and also for their willingness to collaborate
with other design professionals, said Cappiello.
future greenhouse at
Yew Dell Gardens will be designed
to fit the historical nature of
the property, officials say.
The architectural firm of De Leon & Primmer are ensuring
that the greenhouse fits in with the historical nature of the property,
carries the creative spirit that (Yew Dell founder) Theodore Klein instilled
in everything he built here, and meets the very high architectural bar
theyve helped us set in all our building projects, he said.
Klein built lots of little things, like bird houses attached to
buildings said Lindsey Stoughton, Project Manager for this project
at Yew Dell Gardens. Its important to preserve all of his
character in the new buildings. She said her firm documented such
elements and then discussed with the contractor ways to incorporate
them into the new plans.
Stoughton said that Yew Dell Gardens had a lot of input on what
they wanted in the design. We try to stay very connected to the client
when designing. Materials and colors were chosen from the beginning,
setting a criteria that was established early on in the project.
She said the sustainable aspect and passive strategies such as natural
ventilation make the design unique. Each design element was created
to make the improvements as functional as possible.
The firm is responsible for the two largest and most significant projects
to date at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens: Gheens Barn and Peyton Samuel
Head Trust Pavilion and the Garden Shop-Visitor Center. Both structures
have won the American Institute of Architects highest design award.
The new facilities will allow the staff at Yew Dell Gardens more room
for research. All the past plant collection, evaluation and development
work has been done quite literally on window sills and
in temporary structures, said Cappiello. The ability to
have a fully functioning, modern greenhouse and production nurseries
will greatly increase our efficiency and expand the potential of this
Yew Dell Assistant Director Karla Drover said, We are at the point
where we are ready to take the next step in the world of horticulture.
Its difficult to do the work at a botanical garden without a greenhouse
and efficient potting shed. Were eager to move up to a more productive
With the addition of water and electricity in the potting shed, the
staff will be able to have tables to work on at the correct height and
have the tools and equipment they need access to in close proximity
of where they are working, said Drover. The greenhouse will
have equipment to enhance propagation and enough room for teaching classes.
Yew Dell will be able to grow some plants that need winter protection.
The overall total cost of the project is expected to be $1.3 million.
So far, $1.1 million has been raised. Currently, we have a $25,000
challenge grant before us, said Cappiello. For every dollar raised
in the next few months, an anonymous donor will match it up to the amount
Louisville gardener Mary Myers is responsible for the initial capital
gift to help begin the project. Cappiello said, Mrs. Myers is
a very generous member who wanted to help us realize this essential
part of Yew Dells growth and development.
Cappiello said he is hoping to break ground in January and for the greenhouse
and horticulture center building to be complete by early summer 2013.
Other facilities will be added as time and funding allows, he said.
Louisville-based Kiel Thomson Co. will serve as general contractor.
Back to January 2013