Cornelius' Corner:

"We Got a Greenhouse!"

Cornelius’ Corner: “We Got a Greenhouse!”

Volunteers from DuPont assembling the greenhouse.

Hey everybody!

I’m excited to be able to share a brand new development for our tree planting program here in the park. We got a greenhouse! Thanks to a grant from DuPont, we were able to purchase a prefabricated greenhouse and install it in the field up by the Trimble House.

We started installation in during Earth Month. First, we had to dig out the hillside where we wanted the greenhouse to stand and build foundations. After that, we were able to assemble the walls and roof with the help of 16 volunteers from DuPont. Following that, we had to fill in the greenhouse to create a level floor and put together the shelving and sun shades. It took a lot of work, and a lot of hauling gravel, but we’ve finally been able to move the trees into their new space. They look great!

The new greenhouse

We started our tree nursery program in 2015, back when I was just a baby snake! That spring, we received a donation of American Chestnut seeds, so we built a small nursery behind the Visitor Center to keep them safe while they grew big enough to be planted. Once we had the space, it was easy to start growing other trees too!  To date, we’ve been able to grow Northern Red Oaks, Kentucky Coffee Trees, Common Persimmons, Eastern Redbuds, American Sycamores, and Red Maples all from seed and get them planted in the park!

Right now, we have Osage Oranges, Dawn Redwoods, American Beeches, Black Cherries, and Pawpaws all growing in the greenhouse, as well as various other species. The Osage Orange and Dawn Redwood seeds were collected from trees growing in the park and will be used to add to important plantings in the park. The Osage Oranges grow in hedgerows that mark where farm roads used to run, and the original Dawn Redwoods were planted by park founder E. Mortimer Newlin in the early 1960s.

Official plant inspector at work.

With the new greenhouse, we will be able to start more seeds from many more species, and grow them to bigger sizes before we have to plant them in the ground. This will give the trees a better chance at survival, and lets us do more for tree conservation in the park.

I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to watch the trees out my window anymore, but I know that the greenhouse is going to be a great place for them to grow. Plus, somebody is going to have the patrol the greenhouse to make sure no mice are getting in that could eat the tree seeds!

Be sure to stop by the Visitor Center to say hi to your friendly neighborhood corn snake, and let me know about any fun tree adventures you have in the park!

– Cornelius

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