Due to the coronavirus shutdown, the Chicago Park District is selling thousands of plants to the general public. The plants were initially meant to be planted in the city’s parks, but due to the shutdown, seasonal landscaping work has been suspended.
COVID-19 Shuts Down Landscaping in Chicago Parks
Due to the coronavirus and the resulting shutdown, the Chicago Park District has suspended its usual spring landscaping. The COVID-19 emergency has stopped the hiring of seasonal workers to plant the flower beds and clean up after the winter at the parks. This has left thousands of flowers and other seasonal plants in the city’s greenhouse.
The good news for the city’s residents is, rather than letting the flowers wither and die, the Park District is selling them. The 50,000 flowers and annuals, which were grown locally at nurseries and greenhouses around the city are now available to local gardeners.
“We’re attempting to turn a bad situation into something positive,” commented Cathy Breitenbach, director of cultural and natural resources. “Most people are spending more time at home. This is a way for the city to let people enjoy the beauty of our city’s parks and gardens at home.”
The plants available for sale are mostly annual flowers such as petunias and begonias, colorful coleus varieties, and ground covers. Although the flowers will not be planted in the city’s parks this spring, there are plenty of perennials thriving in the parks.
“Sustainability has been an important focus for the city in the last few years. We’ve also done a lot of work to help with wildlife habitats,” Breitenbach said. “That work is paying off in an unanticipated way this spring in that perennial plants do come back each year. So we will still have the seasonal beauty in our parks from all of our perennials.”
The Park District has partnered with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance to conduct the sale with no-contact pickup at 300 N. Central Park Ave. The plants can be purchased through the alliance’s website.
About the Chicago Parks District
The Chicago Park District is the oldest and among the largest park districts in the entire country. The district manages more than 600 parks as well as two botanic conservatories, 27 beaches, boat harbors, 11 museums, and a zoo. The Chicago Park District also manages 78 public swimming pools, more than 230 field houses, and scores of sports and other recreational facilities.
Unfortunately, per Governor Pritzker’s Stay at Home order, all Chicago Park District fieldhouses, playgrounds, golf courses, and harbors are closed through May 31st. Likewise, all scheduled park programs and events are canceled. The Chicago Park District has put up fencing and barricades in some places as a reminder to residents of the restrictions. To discourage large gatherings as well as close contact sports, the Park District has also removed tennis nets and basketball rims in areas where social distancing was being ignored.
The good news is, Chicago’s parks will remain open to give residents a brief opportunity for acceptable activities such as walking, running, and hiking during the Stay at Home order. However, large gatherings and close contact sports are prohibited. Likewise, social distancing must be maintained at all times. Finally, the park district strongly urges park visitors to wear a mask in public.
Once, the governor’s stay at home order is lifted, summer activities should resume. Residents can view the schedule of summer activities online on June 1st. Online registration for summer activities will commence on June 11th and June 12th. In-person registration will begin on June 13th unless the Governor and the Center for Disease Control deemed it unsafe.
Until then, remember, we’re in this together. It takes everyone to keep our communities safe.
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