The Queens Botanical Garden strives to give visitors an environmentally friendly experience, even in its parking lot.
The facility has created a Parking Garden featuring a sustainable design that includes numerous plantings and spaces for water to be absorbed into the ground, avoiding runoff that taxes local storm sewers
The recently completed Parking Garden is one of the highlights of today's spring kick off celebration to outline the Flushing institution's upcoming programs.
"We are going to show people that you can drive in and immediately have a garden experience," said Executive Director Susan La Certe.
"People love it," La Certe said. "They have been in there exercising and enjoying the space."
Instead of paving over dirt with concrete, the garden used permeable pavers and bioswales to handle stormwater to create the 117-space lot.
The daily parking fee is $5. But it's also available for long-term parking as a way to help the cash-strapped garden generate more money.
Like other cultural institutions in the borough, the garden has seen its private donations and city funds dry up in recent years.
"We are interested in monthly rentals and working with local businesses," La Certe said of the Parking Garden.
The institution is also hoping to lure more visitors with its first Arbor Day celebration on Sunday.
Along with musical performances and demonstrations, the event will feature environmentally conscious vendors selling artwork, organic food and other items.
The group Bash the Trash, whose members tout themselves as scientists and musicians, will show music lovers how to make instruments and sounds with found items.
Visitors will also learn how to compost and plant, while kids can enjoy special crafting projects.
On June 5, the garden is inviting local residents to help weed and seed during its Community Volunteer Day.
"We are working with two themes very important to us - environment and culture," La Certe said. "And this is a public garden. We really want to bring people in."