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April 29, 2014 : SLIDESHOW: Honors Convocation Flowers Grown Each Year in Campus Greenhouse
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager

 

Lancaster – When graduates process into the gym at Ohio University Lancaster for Honors Convocation, many of them take note of the beautiful flowers that edge the stage.  What many of the students don’t know is that those flowers are grown from seed in the greenhouse on the Lancaster Campus located behind Brasee Hall by Building Maintenance Superintendent Mark Bateson.
 
OUL Honors Convocation stage
Photo Above: Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington Honors Convocation 2013

 

“I have been doing this since the greenhouse was added to our property in 2001,” said Bateson. “Back then I also helped do fundraising for the student organization Phi Theta Kappa.  I grew annuals and perennials for sales in the spring and poinsettias in the fall for Christmas. This was before we partnered with Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities and the Lancaster Greenhouse.”

 

 
The Lancaster Campus greenhouse is now used as part of the G.R.O.W. (Growing Resources and Opportunities for Work) Project.  The project is a partnership using the campus greenhouse to provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to work in the horticulture industry.  The partnership serves as a contract grower for Allen’s Lancaster Greenhouse, which sells the vegetables, flowers and grasses to the public.
 
Bateson still uses a portion of the greenhouse for his yearly Honors Convocation flowers.  This year he has grown more than 2100 plants. After Honors Convocation, the flowers are planted around the campus grounds.
 
“I think it is important to use what we have on campus to save money and add beauty to our grounds for many months to come,” said Bateson. “For me it’s a sense of pride that sets us apart from other places.”
 
Bateson uses mostly seeds, but he does order some finished plugs to shorten the growing season in the greenhouse. He waits for Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities and the Lancaster Greenhouse to start their operation in February to minimize the expense and then starts planting seeds and filling cell pack and pots. When the seeds have germinated, he fertilizes them with a weak solution and slowly increases the concentrate mixture. Once they are the right size, Bateson transplants them into cell packs, then some are transplanted from cell packs into pots for the Honors Convocation stage setup.
 
“I really do enjoy this part of my job,” said Bateson. “I like seeing the transformation from seed to plant to a mature flowering annual or perennial and getting two uses to boot. It is a win-win situation.”
 
Flowers on this year’s Honors Convocation stage include begonias, petunias, marigolds, and alyssum.
 
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