Eric Gamez, a client at Hope Association, labels plants as Marlene Pervier of Rumford shops at the new Briar Patch greenhouse in Mexico on Thursday.

MEXICO — Hope Association’s new Briar Patch greenhouse opened its doors Thursday at 85 Highland Terrace.

“There’s a lot of excitement and ideas about the greenhouse,” Executive Director Catherine Johnson said of the $300,000 project.

The heated building is 3,600 to 4,000 square feet, has automated watering and provides more space for hanging plans. It operates year-round and is handicapped-accessible.

The new greenhouse is actually smaller than the old one at 85 Lincoln Ave. in Rumford that operated since 2001. Runoff from a hill undermined the old facility, resulting in increasing maintenance costs and the decision to build another one.

Hope Association has a long history of providing a wide range of services for people with developmental disabilities. Johnson said more than 60 clients will work here at some point.


Among those clients is Eric Gamez, who was busy labeling plants Thursday.

“When you say people blossom in a program, he blossoms in the greenhouse,” said Patty Flaherty, assistant manager at Briar Patch.

The greenhouse will be more than just plants and flowers. Flaherty said the whole storefront will be an opportunity to promote crafts and creativity from the clients.

“Everyone is involved in some way, whether it’s making up signs, doing crafts, etc.,” Johnson said.

She said the greenhouse can also become an educational tool. They have reached out to the middle school, which has expressed an interest in getting involved with the greenhouse.

Briar Patch is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week until after Memorial Day, when hours will be shortened depending on demand.

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