Take A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Vanderbilt University's Greenhouses

Posted at 10:53 AM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 11:59:14-04

Trees blanket the grounds around Vanderbilt University, but it's inside these walls that exotic plants take root.

"We have really grown the awareness of the greenhouses and especially in the last several years word-of-mouth is starting to get out," said Greenhouse Manager Jonathan Ertelt. "Ours is probably one of the most diverse collections in this region."

Ertelt works in an office filled with tropical flowers, terrariums -- even dart frogs -- and sometimes it sounds like he's speaking a foreign language.

For many Vanderbilt students and Nashville residents, the greenhouse is a secret garden of sorts -- hiding treasures like plants that collapse when touched, pineapples and cacti, even the notorious "corpse flower."

Ertelt insists you don't have to be an aspiring botanist to appreciate these blooms and says exploring our natural world helps us all be better stewards.

"I think that's crucial, especially as we are making more and more decisions that are going to affect how the planet does in the future."