University of Findlay College of Sciences faculty and students will host an open house at the recently relocated greenhouse during Homecoming and Family Weekend. Open to the campus community, Homecoming participants and the public, the event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Located behind 407 Davis St., at the corner of Davis and Morey streets, the structure has been renamed Frost Conservatory, in honor of its former location at the top of Frost Science Center at the heart of campus. Last summer, the greenhouse was removed for two reasons: it continually leaked moisture into Malcolm Lecture Hall below it, and the University needed more classroom space.
Not only are the plants and University maintenance workers happy with the conservatory’s new, brighter location, but so is Ben Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of biology. Dolan has been keeping the greenhouse alive, so to speak, prior to and ever since the move. He is hoping it will renew student interest in botany, which has been lagging in recent years, and inspire faculty, staff and the public to visit and observe its widely-varied contents.
Currently growing in the greenhouse are plants ranging from coleus to delphinium. Dolan is successfully growing a pineapple and is working on a papaya. A pink-tipped species of bromeliad was donated by a Cleveland resident who had the breed named after him. A Queen of the Night blooming cactus that flowers only one night each year resides there, as do several succulent species.
Additionally, a small koi pond enlivens the space.
“I’m trying to think of ways to get more people out here and use the space,” said Dolan. Some students are tending to the plants, but he wants to generate more interest in propagation and botany in general, the science of plant growth and reproduction.
The materials and means are in place for such learning. Built between the greenhouse and an existing barn on the property is an enclosed walkway. The barn was converted to two floors that serve as areas for handling the plants, pots, soil and other things necessary for growing; and for quarantining plants to prevent the spread of disease. Outside, Dolan hopes to turn part of the yard into a garden.
Eventually, Dolan would like to have Frost Conservatory open during scheduled hours so that anyone can come in and enjoy the space at any time of the year. In its previous location, some students had enjoyed studying and reading in the warm, cozy spot, he said, especially in winter.