Highlights from the History of Needham in 100 objects
Zirngiebel's Greenhouses
Gold paint on wood
Zirngiebel's Greenhouses painted on wood in gold paint with a hand on the left end of the sign pointing left.

John Denys Zirngiebel came to the United States from Switzerland in 1855. Already an experienced botanist, he settled in Cambridge and took a job with the Harvard Botanical Gardens. After he retired, he and his wife bought land on South Street in Needham, where he established commercial greenhouses. Zirngiebel experimented with wild violas and bred them into large blossoms that he marketed as "Giant Swiss Pansies." When he won awards for his hybrids at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society flower show, he became known as the "Pansy King."

Zirngiebel was a developer and improver of plants of all kinds, but will always be celebrated for his success with the pansy. The town of Needham has designated the Pansy as the official town flower, and April as Pansy Month.
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Zirngiebel's signZirngiebel's sign