On Saturday (April 5), University of Notre Dame students from Fisher and Siegfried Halls will help revitalize the desert collection of the South Bend botanical gardens and greenhouse, known formally as the Ella Morris and Muessel-Ellison Botanical Conservatories and Potawatomi Greenhouse.
Completed in 1973, the Arizona Desert Dome of the greenhouse was established to house a botanical collection donated by the late Father Joseph Sarto McGrath, C.S.C., a Notre Dame chemist and avid cactus collector. Father McGrath also served as rector of Fisher Hall in the early 1960s.
Students will prepare interior walls of the dome for a mural, seal and clean windows, and care and maintain the desert plants, which now include cacti, succulents, century plants, and a large monkey puzzle tree.
Established in the 1920s, the Potawatomi Greenhouses were built to supply flowers used to beautify the city during the spring and summer.In the 1960s, the Ella Morris and Muessel-Ellison Botanical conservatories were added, providing a tropical area, followed by the Arizona Desert Dome in 1973.
South Bends greenhouse is a public resource for the area that relies on the contributions of volunteers in addition to limited municipal funds.