Workers on Monday were busy glazing the repaired dome in Greenhouse 3 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
That rebuilt greenhouse, and also Greenhouse 2, are expected to be home to two new permanent exhibits possibly as soon as the end of this year.
An aquatic garden theme is coming to Greenhouse 2, and an Asian rainforest theme will open in Greenhouse 3, both on the building’s north side. The changes follow a top-to-bottom construction project the county began in April 2015 and is expected to be finished by the end of October.
“It’s a huge project, and we’re excited about it,” said David Swarts, the Botanical Gardens’ president and chief executive officer. “It will be the first time in 30 or 40 years that there will be a totally new exhibit in these greenhouses.”
Both greenhouses have been refurbished from the foundation to the finial, including glass, wood, steel, electrical, heating and the misting system.
“They were in desperate need of repair,” said Erin Grajek, the Botanical Gardens’ associate vice president of marketing. “It hadn’t been addressed in decades. The foundation was crumbling, glass was missing in Greenhouse 2 and nothing was running efficiently.”
The county is spending $3.8 million to repair the county-owned facility. It will cost the Botanical Gardens $300,000 to rebuild the two exhibits with new beds, rebuilt pathways and the refurbished 40-foot waterfall whose motif is changing from Aztec-Mayan to a natural sandstone outcropping more common in Asian areas.
The plant installation will be the last step, after they’ve been shipped mostly from Florida.
Also coming to the Botanical Gardens will be a new bridge over the koi pond, between the two greenhouses, and a path between them that will lead through a moon gate. A new decorative tea house will go into Greenhouse 3.
“It’s really exciting for the staff and even the construction people working on the project, who are realizing they are working on something unique and historical,” Swarts said. “You can see it in the craftsmanship they’re putting into it.”
A fundraiser for the new exhibits will be held Sept. 30. Cost for the annual fundraiser, which will take place at the Botanical Gardens from 6 to 10 p.m., is $175 per person. For more information, call 827-1584, Ext. 2, or visit www.buffalogardens.com.
The current show at the Botanical Gardens, the Succulents Exhibit, featuring artistic re-creations of artwork through plants, ends Oct. 2.