Last April, fire broke out at the UNC Charlotte greenhouse. The fire, which took firefighters only a quarter of an hour to control, left no injuries behind. At least no human injuries.
One of the eight rooms of the greenhouse was affected by the fire, plants being ripped through by flames. Despite that some plants had been damaged in the fire, the greenhouse staff still had their annual plant sale that weekend.
This weekend, Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Botanical Gardens will host their first open house since the completion of the restoration of the destroyed room.
“[We, the Greenhouse staff] had to re-design one of our eight rooms and we also re-planted the Rainforest Conservatory to rejuvenate and try different plants, something that had not been done at all one time since it was planted in the late 80s,” said Paula Gross, assistant director for the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
For the Greenhouse Open House and Orchid Sale, visitors are invited to visit the new conservatory and orchid grove.
“We are really hoping to have some new visitors and especially students,” said Gross. “We hear so often, ‘I didn’t know you were here,’ or ‘I went to school here for four years and never visited.’ Things like that.”
At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., greenhouse staff will also provide visitors with free sessions on how to properly grow and care for orchids.
“We’ll have experts in the greenhouses to answer questions and point out some special plants,” said Gross. “We will have lots of orchids for sale, some succulents and a few other plants, too.”
The open house also falls during the greenhouse’s annual Valentine’s Orchid Sale. The sale, which begins Friday, Feb. 8, and runs through Thursday, Feb. 14, specializes in orchids for Valentine’s Day instead of the traditional roses.
Gross encourages students, faculty and staff to come out and visit the greenhouses, not just on the day of the open house but any day. During the days of the Valentine’s Day sale, plants will be available for purchase from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., except Sunday, Feb. 10, when the hours will be from 1 to 4 p.m. In addition to orchids, cyclamen and succulent plants will be available as well.
“This single event [is] a way to bring awareness to more folks, students and outside public, that we are here and a free resource on campus,” said Gross. “We consider every day an open house because we are fully open to the public and campus.”