Roger Clapp Greenhouses
           University of Maine
               Roger Clapp
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Roger Clapp Greenhouses
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It is always gratifying to see a person who has dedicated their efforts to a course of study be recognized for their work.  Professor Roger Clapp was a professor of ornamental horticulture and landscape design for forty years at the University of Maine from 1929 through 1969. It seems quite fitting that the greenhouses at the University that support research and teaching in horticulture, sustainable agriculture, forest ecosystem science, entomology, and forestry be named after him. 

Dr. James Swasey, professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, formerly was a professor of ornamental horticulture and chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and the landscape designer for the University of Maine at Orono.  He was very kind to take the time to share his recollections of Professor Clapp.  He wrote:

I worked closely with Rod (as he was known) from 1971-1977-78.   Before I arrived at UMO he was the landscape designer and professor of floriculture in the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences.  Two of the last buildings that Rod helped design the landscape for were Nutting and Jenness Halls.  He and I worked together on those designs.  It was his original idea that Nutting should be landscaped with native plants.  We carried that out!

After that Rod wanted to continue to work (volunteer) on campus and I happily agreed.  Since I was teaching 4 new courses, starting up the new 2-year degree landscape design program (now gone), advising students, and renewing the landscape designs on the Mall and behind the library, I had plenty to do!  

He took 100% control of the herbaceous flower beds all over the Orono campus. Practically every building and campus entrance had flowers somewhere around them during the spring and summer months.   He became known as 'Rod, the Flower Man".  The displays were spectacular!  Some started with color from crocus, tulips and daffodils in the spring and transitioning into summer-blooming annuals and perennials.   He was way ahead of his time using tropical and semi tropical plants (castor bean, cannas, banana, etc.) in the beds. Now they are popular everywhere.  To keep the squirrels from digging up the tulip bulbs he manufactured wire cages and buried the bulbs in them.  As time went on Rod became more and more incapacitated with rheumatoid arthritis and could not get up and down to work in the flower beds.  I gradually took them over as he phased out.  I do not remember the exact time frame, but I believe it was in the late 70s.  

He worked closely with Professor Lyle Littlefield in developing the Littlefield Gardens.  He helped him select woody plants for the garden and also introduced some flower beds there too.  Rod grew all the annuals from seed by himself in the UMO Greenhouses (now the Roger Clapp Greenhouses).  By doing this he saved the university a lot of money.  He had been very active throughout the State giving advice and lectures to various audiences, especially garden club groups.