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What It’s Like to Work in a Greenhouse

During my freshman year of college, I was offered a job working at the college greenhouse by one of the professors. He knew that I love turtles and thought that I could give some care to the resident box turtles. At the time I accepted the job, I had NO idea there were turtles there. Honestly, I didn’t even know my college had a greenhouse…oops!

The view of the greenhouse as you walk through the door.

The view of the greenhouse as you walk through the door.

My first day, I was overwhelmed with everything in the greenhouse. There were a ton of birds (some flying free), many turtles, and, not to mention, a plethora of plants! … *SIDE NOTE: When I started this job, I was TERRIFIED of birds. After working here, I have moved past my fear …   I can tell you right now that I have never even thought about working in a greenhouse! Green thumbs do NOT run in my family. Seriously, we have had fake flowers in my house nearly all my life because we could never keep real ones alive.

Myself with an eastern box turtle at the greenhouse during my first year working there.

Myself with an eastern box turtle at the greenhouse during my first year working there.

Myself with two of the cockatiels at the greenhouse during my first year working there.

Myself with two of the cockatiels at the greenhouse during my first year working there.

My dad, amazingly, is able to keep multiple plants alive at his office. He is lucky though because he has a wonderful large window. My mom has had one good year with plants. She was able to keep a good amount of flowers alive this past summer. Me, however, I have never really tried to plant anything or grow anything. Like I said, green thumbs don’t run in my family.

A look at the desert room inside the greenhouse.

A look at the desert room inside the greenhouse.

My first day, I had no idea what I was doing. I got a quick walk-through of the rooms I would need to take care of and then I kind of got thrown into it. I mean, it was good…there isn’t THAT much you need to know about how to dump water on a plant. I was probably just paranoid about murdering the place with a cursed black thumb.

A look at the tropical room at the greenhouse. You can see one of the three-toed box turtles crossing the floor.

A look at the tropical room at the greenhouse. You can see one of the three-toed box turtles crossing the floor.

Now, I am a B.A. gardener, self-titled. I know how to repot, separate, plant, perform germination tests, and much more. AND I have yet to kill anything! It may or may not be due to the fact that I only work one day a week and any damage I do is repaired by the next person…but that’s probably not the case because, like I said, I’m a B.A. gardener. I have a routine that gets me through everything in an hour and a half (or less) and then I get about an hour and a half (I have a 3-hour shift) to separate any plants that need it, repot other plants, do homework, or blog! Today, I chose blogging after separating four pots. The pic below is all of the plants that were in them…took about 20 minutes!

Myself with one of the many pots I needed to separate yesterday. As you can see, I was super excited to be at work!

Myself with one of the many pots I needed to separate yesterday. As you can see, I was super excited to be at work!

Anyways, back to the actual topic of this post. It is AMAZING to work in a greenhouse. I get to learn a new skill and still be around turtles! I have access to a quiet place to get homework and what not done at anytime. I will be able to take succulents or other plants to college when I leave in the fall AND keep them alive! I get a ton of stuff done during my short shift and I get a very easy way to wind down after a very long week! I’m very blessed to have been given the opportunity to work here. It might just allow me to avoid a black thumb later on in life!

A look at the main room of the greenhouse. You can see our western painted turtle out basking under the light.

A look at the main room of the greenhouse. You can see our western painted turtle out basking under the light.

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4 thoughts on “What It’s Like to Work in a Greenhouse

  1. I love turtles too! I have a red eared slider 🙂 I volunteer at a local retirement centre and one of my old shifts was watering the plants in the greenhouse… I think I would give myself a self-awarded B.A. gardener title as well 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful job McKenna. You have accomplished so much through this one day a week. Definitely with the cockatiel on your head picture, you have overcome your fear of birds (ornithophobia).
    You are becoming very much a horticulturist. Love the fact that it is helping you unwind, which means it is relaxing and enjoyable.
    On top of that, you get to hang out with some turtles! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    ~Carl~

    Liked by 1 person

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