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'It's so much more sustainable to grow our own:' Riverside Greenhouse produces beauty for Cambridge gardens

Cambridge greenhouse is expanding pollinator spaces in the city while trying to become a more sustainable source for plant material.

Tucked away in a modest building in Riverside Park is a flourishing operation that's responsible for producing nearly all the foliage and flowers planted on city property. 

The Riverside Greenhouse at Riverside Park has been in Cambridge for over 40 years and has acted as a space to sustainably grow flowers and vegetation for flower beds and planters across the city. 

Every year the city owned greenhouse produces around 30,000 plants and distributes them to almost 100 different planting areas. 

“We plant all over Cambridge on city owned land, like island mediums and planters around the city,” said Nathan Lantz, supervisor of horticulture operations. 

The city has been actively trying to increase pollinator-friendly spaces by planting more flowers bees, birds and insects find attractive as they gather pollen. 

Built in the 80s, Lantz is looking forward to some modern updates at the greenhouse that will help them grow different types of plants more efficiently. 

“The new department head is actually from Hamilton where they have an incredible greenhouse. I’m hoping we can adopt some ideas from them,” Lantz said. 

The greenhouse is not currently open to the public, but Lantz would like to see a space where members of the community can come and appreciate the plants that are being grown. 

“Our budget is quite small, so we would definitely need more funding,” he said. 

The more people that know about the greenhouse and the role it plays in the city, there is a better chance for an increased investment, Lantz said. 

In a push to become even more sustainable, the greenhouse also grows all of the small evergreens to be used around the holidays instead of fresh-cut, which is more expensive to taxpayers and not environmentally friendly. 

“We do this as a way to save taxpayers money and it’s so much more sustainable to grow our own,” Lantz said.