The greenhouses at the Kemptville Campus are opening again to the public at the beginning of November. Spearheaded by greenhouse manager, Claude Smith, the greenhouses on the Campus officially opened to the public in January after several years of sitting empty. Claude is a graduate of the Kemptville College and subsequently became the coordinator of the Horticulture Program until the school closed in 2015. “It always bothered me that the greenhouses weren’t being used,” she said at the open house in January.
The greenhouses, at the A.J. Logsdail Centre on the Campus, were open until March, when they were forced to close their doors due to COVID-19. This also meant that the workshops they had planned for March and April had to be moved online. “We did get shut down in the Spring; but we continued the workshops through Zoom,” Claude says. “We made a schedule, so people could pick up the stuff that they had grown.”
Now that COVID-19 restrictions have loosened a bit in North Grenville, they are opening the greenhouses back up to the public and offering several workshops throughout the month of November. The greenhouses will be open again from 10:00am-2:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting November 3. Claude encourages people to come in and enjoy the space. “I think, more than ever, people are going to need this. I hope it will be a place wheretheycan get a bit of sunshine and be with the plants.”
The workshops will be limited to ten people in person, but will also be offered through Zoom for those who want to participate from home. Masks will be mandatory for all in-person participants. Workshops include a 6-week guided meditation workshop, 6-week workshop on medicinal herbs and leaves, lawn care for homeowners, preserving your harvest, winterizing your garden, and pruning for everyone. A list of dates can be found on the municipality’s website through their virtual event calendar. Anyone who wants to sign up for a workshop can contact Claude at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with the workshops, space is being rented out for people who want to have their plants cared for over the winter. Space can also be rented by people who want to seed plants to grow in their garden next year.
It is clear that Claude wants the greenhouses to become a true community asset. Even while they were closed to the public, they were still partnering with many local businesses, including My Local Markets, providing them with herbs, as well as looking after plants from Floral Design and supplying flowers to The Flower Shop in Kemptville. “We also sell to the general public,” Claude adds.
Claude is hoping to offer even more workshops in January, and the greenhouses will continue to be open twice a week to the public, as long as it remains in line with pandemic restrictions. Even if they have to close down again, they will continue to look after the plants, and provide their workshops through Zoom. Claude hopes that uses for the Campus’ greenhouses keep growing and expanding, and she is open to any suggestions from people about what they would like to see. “We’ve got lots of plans that, hopefully, will come to fruition.”
Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times