11 May 2011

Backyard biology: New greenhouse

Since I've made the decision to accept my admission offer to Ohio State University's Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology PhD program beginning in autumn 2011, assuring my presence in central Ohio for several more years, Adam and I decided to take advantage of a great deal on a greenhouse:
Yes, it's a rickety aluminum-frame polycarbonate panel 6' × 8' that probably won't retain very much heat in an Ohio winter, but at least I have something I've always wanted! Adam and I spent last weekend digging out the site, leveling the foundation lumber, and hauling stone to fill in the base. Once the landscaping grows in, we should have a fantastic little hide-away nook behind the greenhouse, perfect for an Adirondack chair or two.

The greenhouse will not be heated much in the winter, making it the perfect spot to overwinter hibernating Sarracenia, like those I just received from the North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC).

 These Sarracenia alata seedlings are propagated by members of the Grower Committee at NASC from legally-collected parent plants to maintain the genetic variety of these rare and threatened carnivorous plants. The plants I received today were from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. If I do everything right, they'll grow, flower, and possibly be reintroduced in suitable locations. Many of the plants NASC acquires are from boggy habitats that are bulldozed in the name of progress or road widening. This is an excellent example of ex-situ conservation and is meant to be a complementary component to land acquisition and conservation easements (in-situ conservation).

I suppose I'm still thrilled with the idea of having my own greenhouse just steps away, but I imagine I will become less enthusiastic about it this winter when I need to trudge out there through feet of snow.

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