Glasshouses now open, here’s a peek at what’s been growing in the biomes!

This morning we officially reopened the Glasshouses at the Cleveland Botanical Garden! As we were preparing for a morning show segment with Fox 8’s Kenny Crumpton, (thank you, Kenny, we had fun!) Eva Rodriguez noticed a number of exciting rainforest developments in the Costa Rica biome that took place over the three months that we were closed to the public.

We grew papayas and strawberry guavas! In the Costa Rican rainforest, papayas are available eight months out of the year, and we are lucky enough to harvest papayas from our tree! This exotic fruit is delicious and so good for you. The one we found this morning is from an Asian variety and is not quite ripe, but we will let you know here when it is, and Eva will share a favorite recipe.

Flowers are blooming in waves of colors to welcome our butterflies. Butterflies will be reintroduced to the biome soon! Awaiting their arrival are plants like tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) and tropical Lantana species which show off vibrant blooms and nectaries filled with sweet, life-sustaining nectar for butterflies. Many of our horticultural choices highlight the interdependent relationships between our animals and plants.

Our leafcutter ant colony is settling into their new home. After our original queen and her colony died this past fall, a new leafcutter ant monarch (Atta cephalotes) has moved in and is establishing her colony. Before that, we upgraded the enclosure with new chambers designed for easy maintenance. The next time you visit the Glasshouse, watch our new worker ants cut and collect leaves through the viewing scope adjacent to the elevator, track them up the log and into their nest. A cleaning station is available at the viewing scope to ensure a safe and fun viewing experience.

See you soon in Cleveland’s very own rainforest!