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Queens Botanical Gardens does some spring cleaning

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Spring is blooming at the Flushing garden and the horticultural center is boasting a new look courtesy of a brand new visitor and administration building. The $12 million building was opened last fall and is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the city."It's a tremendous demonstration of green technology, but it's also a tremendous feather in the cap of the city," Queens Botanical Garden spokesman Scott Stefan said.But the changes provided by the garden's latest addition go beyond its environmentally sustainable characteristics. For the first time in more than four decades visitors can now enter the Queens Botanical Garden and enjoy an uninterrupted view of the garden's central axis, the Oak Allee.Previously, the garden's old visitor center - which was demolished last year - blocked the view of the central walkway, which is lined by towering oak trees and leads to the center of the 39-acre cultural institution. In place of the old building, Queens Botanical Garden constructed an entry plaza with a cascading fountain and man-made watercourse that leads to and circles the new visitor and administration building.The fountain also stands on one end of the newly rejuvenated Cherry Circle, which features 27 cherry trees that are just starting to bloom for spring.More than 14,000 tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth planted last fall are also beginning to bloom, as are the garden's magnolia and dogwood trees. The blooming flora acts as a source of pollen for the garden's bee colonies, which are used to teach visiting schoolchildren about the importance of bees in plants' reproductive processes.On April 27, from noon to 5 p.m., the garden will host "Gardening Day," which will feature a special celebration of the honey bee, as well as a host of other activities, including workshops on building a garden and constructing a bouquet of flowers for Mother's Day.The Queens Botanical Garden is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. free of charge. For more information, visit www.queensbotanical.org.Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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