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Local Woman, Kerry Branagan, Grows a Green Oasis

Kerry Branagan turns her passion for succulents into a geodesic dome oasis

Published in the May 2023 Issue Published online: May 03, 2023 Best of IF, Home And Garden Maudie Heard
Viewed 1645 time(s)

Story and Photos By Maudie Heard

Greenhouses are a safe haven of comfort and growth for many, and this is especially true for one local woman, Kerry Branagan. Not far from Kerry’s home stands a geodesic dome, a unique greenhouse that resembles a sphere.

While greenhouses are typically used to grow fruits and vegetables, Kerry and her husband built this geodesic dome for her large collection of succulents.

Kerry’s passion for succulents began with the care for a hen and chick plant on the property.

“There were hen and chicks on the property when we moved in and I started to take them apart and spread them around the property,” Kerry said. “I was fascinated with how they reproduce quickly so I started collecting succulents and that’s where we are today.”

For over 18 years, Kerry has been collecting succulents of all sizes, shapes and colors. Today, Kerry’s passion for succulent plants is seen the second you step into the dome. A short path from the driveway leads us to the greenhouse, where the structure alone catches your eye.

When walking through the door into the geodesic dome, the humidity, warmth and the soothing sound of water flowing immediately hits you. The mix of lime green, emerald, evergreen and green earth shades, just to name a few, catches your eye right away.

At the center of the dome is a sitting area surrounded by the lush greenery of the forest of succulents. The sunlight seeps through the panels of the dome and brings life to the plants and the atmosphere itself. The brightness and life that the greenhouse exudes is a monument to Kerry for the love and care she has given to her succulents.

The geodesic dome is defined by Merriam Webster as, “a dome or vault made of light straight structural elements largely in tension.” The benefits of a dome greenhouse outweigh those of a regular greenhouse because of how well it maintains the temperature and humidity, the large amounts of sunlight it lets in and its resistance to wind.

Kerry describes the dome as a getaway for her, especially during the long winter months here. “This is a place I can come to unwind and it has been such a blessing to me to have a place like this.”

Through the love and care of succulent plants over the course of many years, Kerry now has great knowledge and experience of how to care for plants.

“Succulents can be tricky,” Kerry shares. “The key is light and to water the soil when it is dry.”

Although the life of the greenhouse clearly shows off her skills, Kerry admits she has had her gardening challenges. “I’ve lost some plants from overwatering,” she said. “I’ve learned over the years how to care for them, shape them and manicure them.”

Succulent plants are generally known for being hard to kill. “I always say to get the best drainage soil you can get and pots that have holes in the bottom,” Kerry explains. “Succulents don’t like to have wet roots so it’s important that everything drains well and quickly.”

Succulents are great for houseplants and have even become a popular choice for wedding centerpieces.

“With succulents, you can prepare them a couple of weeks before the wedding which isn’t typical for wedding bouquets with fresh flowers,” Kerry says. “The cool thing about succulent bouquets for weddings is that you can take them apart after the wedding.”

Kerry has done succulent bouquets for a number of weddings, including her daughters. One of the hanging planters in her dome was a part of her daughter’s wedding bouquet, creating a sentimental and beautiful memory for her to remember.

Kerry’s hopes for the future are to keep collecting succulents when she travels and for Idaho Falls to get a botanical garden.

“I can envision something much larger than this with walkways and natural landscaping,” she said. Botanical gardens are a popular destination in big cities, where plants are displayed for research, education and for visitors to just enjoy.



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