The Castleton Greenhouse and Gardens host a botanical collection that serves the entire Castleton community as an educational resource for the study, observation and aesthetic enjoyment of plant specimens from all over the world. The collection is available to enrich the curriculum across the college community, from biology to art.
We envision a seamless botanical collection that flows naturally from inside the greenhouse to the outdoor gardens. The outdoor medicinal and native plant gardens grow many specimens of economic and local interest. The outdoor gardens currently include over 100 different species of medicinal, culinary, butterfly and ornamental plants. Many plants are identified with labels giving common and scientific names.
Inside the greenhouse, the permanent collection resides in the south half of the greenhouse while the north end is used as growing space for class projects. The greenhouse hallway that connects to the Jeffords building provides space for faculty and student research.
The indoor permanent collection houses over 100 plants that touch our lives everyday, including plants that give us food, drink, spices and fiber. The collection also has specimens that represent major plant adaptations such as aquatic and wetland plants, plants adapted to dry climates (cacti and succulents), and the always-popular carnivorous plants in our bog. We also host seasonal displays such as spring bulbs in March.
The Greenhouse supports many Natural Sciences Department courses including Horticulture of Medicinal Plants, Plant Ecology, Ecology, Biological Illustration, Introduction to Botany, Flora of Vermont, and Biogeochemistry. The greenhouse also provides space for faculty and student research. A new Greenhouse and Garden Student Club started and they have already hosted three plant sales. The greenhouse also welcomes visits by public school children. In the past, we have given tours for Mt. Holly, Rutland Northwest, Castleton, Fair Haven and Brandon elementary school children.
Future goals for the greenhouse and garden include developing additional educational materials for the indoor and outdoor plants. We envision a cohesive, overarching design for plant labels and educational signage including greater depth on the plants’ economic uses, special adaptations, native habitat, ecology and conservation status. Other future goals include expanding the medicinal and native plant gardens and converting the corner between the greenhouse and Science building into an outdoor classroom. The new “Garden Classroom” will be available for class use and for general outdoor seating for the entire campus community.
Are you interested in joining the club?
What the club does:
All students, staff and faculty are welcome to join the Greenhouse and Gardens club.
The Castleton greenhouse is open to visitors. Enter through the Jeffords Building lower level room 136. If the door is open you are welcome to come in and visit. We are happy to schedule in advance special tours for school groups or community members.
To schedule a greenhouse tour, please contact Greenhouse Manger Mary Droege.
Our orchid collection is small but we currently have two species in bloom. Dendrobium nobile and a moth orchid Phalaenopsis.
According to Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Dendrobium nobile is native to“deciduous forests between 1,500 and 2,000 m elevation in the foothills of the Himalayas and surrounding areas. It is recorded from India, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Laos and Vietnam. Dendrobium nobile is an immensely popular ornamental orchid; plant breeders have raised numerous cultivars with showy inflorescences. It is also valued in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to nourish and stimulate the stomach. A tea made from the stems of this and other Dendrobium species is taken for complaints such as fever, sunstroke and excessive perspiration.
Scientists have isolated several compounds from the stem and leaves, including dendrobine, dendroxine, dendrin and other alkaloids. Phenanthrenes from Dendrobium nobile have shown anti-tumour activity in laboratory tests on cancer cells. Sesquiterpene glycosides isolated from the stem affect lymphocyte cells, indicating possible immunomodulatory effects. Gigantol isolated from Dendrobium nobile has shown antimutagenic properties.”
The greenhouse is maintained to support academic course work at Castleton. Unfortunately we are not able to allow personal use of the greenhouse space.
We do accept donations of plants if space allows. Please contact Mary Droege for more information.
We practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in the greenhouse. This is an approach to pest control that includes a commitment to maintaining a clean greenhouse, on-going pest detection, the use of beneficial insects and using chemical control only as a last resort.
More information on IPM contact is available through the University of Vermont Extension site.