About the Building
As part of an initiative to expand the Barnes Foundation's plant propagation program, the Lord & Burnham Company was commissioned to construct a greenhouse on the Merion property in 1924. A new model, designed by Rough Brothers, was built in 2001–2002 that incorporated elements from the original structure, including the building's foundation, the low outside wall made of brick, and the stairway with embedded pots.
The greenhouse, built of aluminum and glass, features efficient heating and cooling systems that can be controlled both digitally and manually. Curtains for shade and supplemental lighting can limit sun exposure and lengthen days, while air circulation and misting systems ensure that growing conditions are ideal for the plants within.
What's Growing in the Greenhouse?
Plants cultivated in the greenhouse are primarily used for education and display purposes. The small, but diverse, collection of unusual plants that represent various plant families from around the world play an important role in a number of the courses taught as part of the Foundation's Horticulture Program. Some highlights found in the greenhouse include orchids, begonias, succulents, and ferns, as well as various tropical plants.