Native plants take root in new Cherokee greenhouse

out greenhouseNative plants are getting a boost in Cherokee with the opening of a 2,200-square-foot greenhouse designed to produce and propagate native plants. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians designed the building to propagate black willow, silky dogwood, Carolina rhododendron, Catawba rhododendron and mountain laurel, to be used in habitat restoration projects on tribal lands. 

Built of tempered glass, the greenhouse uses passive cooling techniques to strive for energy efficiency and is made of decay-resistant materials. 

It features a fully automated misting irrigation system, LED lighting, climate control and a cistern system that harvests rainwater and collects condensation in two 6,000-gallon tanks.

The project is funded, in part, by an Environmental Protection Agency grant. Other partners include the Tennessee Valley Authority, the N.C. Forest Service, Oconaluftee Job Corps, the Tennessee State Nursery, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Chattanooga and North Carolina State University.

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