McMaster’s Biology Greenhouse is set to quietly enjoy its 50th anniversary this year. The unassuming building is nestled next to Hamilton Hall and has been the home of a wide variety of plants since 1964.
Of those 50 years, Arthur Yeas has been the greenhouse technician for 37 of them. Students and faculty members who frequent the facilities for research know him by his nickname, Art.
Yeas has always had a passion for horticulture, even in his youth.
“As a kid, I was always growing plants or working in a vegetable garden and decided to carry on doing that for my life’s work.”
He obtained his diploma that certified him as a trained horticultural technician from Niagara College and the rest, as they say, is history.
Yeas works by himself at the greenhouse and is responsible for over 1000 plants, of 300 different species.
This year’s especially harsh winter has made it especially difficult to keep the plants housed in the tropical greenhouse healthy, Yeas explained, but he has been able to help them through using technology such as steam and hot-water heating. Yeas also noted that the high-intensity light they have in the smaller greenhouses used by classes and researchers can be supplementary in light of the lack of sunlight during the darker months.
“I try to keep the tropical house about 28 centigrade year-round, and then the smaller houses depend on what kind of research is going on or the requirements for the class.”
The greenhouse is open to visitors on Monday (10:30-11:30 a.m.), Wednesday (9:30-10:30 a.m.), and Friday (9:30-10:30 a.m.).