The Greenhouse at the College of the Ozarks is home to the Clint McDade orchid collection. Clint McDade is one of the school’s first students who donated his orchid collection that numbers more than 7,000 plants to this day. Visiting tourists to the Greenhouse will surely have fun learning about plants and can actually take them home as the orchids in the greenhouse are for sale at reasonable prices. The College of the Ozarks have about 1500 students working in various jobs in order to pay their tuition fees.
Clinton McDade donated his personal orchid collection of 5,000 orchid plants in 1972 to the School of the Ozarks (now named as College of the Ozarks). An alumnus of the school who graduated in 1911, Clinton McDade is known to be the first enrollee of the School of the Ozarks. A successful businessman, McDade had also a passion for orchids. When he concentrated in growing orchid, he was able to build two orchid houses, one in England. Some of his orchid collections were used for the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II. With such popularity, his collection of orchids at the College of the Ozarks suddenly became famous.
Because of large donation of orchids of Clinton McDade to the College of the Ozarks, it had to build four orchid greenhouses to house the orchids. These orchids in the greenhouse are cared for by the students with supervision. Caring for these beautiful plants is similar to caring for any garden. But it’s different in the greenhouse as the orchid collections are around 50 to 60 years old. Inside the greenhouse, you can find some newer plants, but most of the orchids are original ones grown and donated to the school by Clinton McDade.
The orchid collections in the greenhouse consist of a variety of plants, including miniature orchids that require a magnifying glass to see the first bloom of flowers. And there are flowers in the greenhouse that no one suspect it to be orchids. The Bulboehyloum Echinolap is an orchid with stringy flower with a distinct odor that attracts flies. The greenhouse features the most popular flower, the Cattleya Bob Betts which is one of the famous and the oldest in the collection.
Since the opening of the school in 1909, agriculture played an important role in the work-study program. With the help of Master Gardeners, the students today take care of more than 400 acres of flower beds and manicured lawns as well as renowned orchid collection of the college. In addition to the maintenance of the garden, the college added 5-acre garden that produces fruit and vegetables for use in the student needs and in the dining room as well as produce for sale at the farmers market inside the campus.
Regardless of the jobs of the students get at the College of the Ozarks, each student takes an active part in their community, and through perseverance and determination, they learn the incredible value of hard work.
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