Club’s construction project brings in the green

What structure stands fourteen feet tall with a vented, gabled roof, shimmers silver and white in the sunlight, and has been described as “basically a big erector set”? The Sun City Horticulture Club greenhouse, completed this past January, after a lot of work.

The greenhouse was a part of the club’s 2005 Master Plan, and Lynsie Lander, president of the club, credits Randy Brown and Paul Barry for keeping the project on the to-do list. By 2012 the club had raised enough funds through biannual and year-round plant and compost/mulch sales to purchase their commercial-grade greenhouse. Then they had to put it together. Randy Brown oversaw construction, Lynsie says, and “our members installed the greenhouse using skills gathered over lifetimes—the average age of our ‘crew’ was sixty-eight.” After roughly six months, they saw the result: a building of 24 by 36 feet.

Lynsie says, “The Horticulture Club takes great pride that we are self-sufficient. The club also raised funds to construct the maintenance barn, drilled the onsite water well, installed the underground plumbing to 290 raised beds,” and added a rainwater harvesting system this past summer.

The club didn’t have to rely on plants purchased from wholesalers for the 2013 Spring Plant Sale. Members raised all the vegetables sold—from twelve varieties of tomatoes to Swiss chard and eggplant—as well as most of the herb transplants, including such fragrant delights as basil, oregano, and dill.

“The greenhouse has given members the opportunity to learn how to grow plants from seed in a controlled environment,” says Lynsie. “The whole crew is on a learning curve with soil mixtures, fertilization methods, and timing to have the plants as perfect as possible for the two plant sales we have each year.” In addition, club members can rent beds to raise their particular favorites.

The club’s efforts are a boon, however, for the entire community. Lynsie notes that they have “raised plants for the Sun City Community Association for use in their common areas” and that both groups are interested in raising more Texas native and adapted plants to reduce water consumption. The greenhouse is open to the general public on Thursday and Saturday mornings, when an array of plants, pine bark mulch, and cotton burr compost is available for sale.

The club’s “big erector set” has raised the bar for those helping to green up Sun City and the surrounding community.

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