Growing Dome Greenhouse in Southern Illinois

Lou & Alycia Oberneufermann’s 22’ Growing Dome Bellville, Illinois

Lou & Alycia's 22' Greenhouse in Southern Illinois
Lou & Alycia’s 22′ Greenhouse in Southern Illinois

Alycia worked with her husband Louis at Belle Valley School District #119 for over 20 years as the elementary school’s science teacher and dome manager. At Belle Valley, Alycia fell for more than just Louis. She also fell in love with the school’s 33’ Growing Dome Greenhouse, where she shared her love of gardening and passion for science with hundreds of students over the years.

Upon their retirement, Louis wanted to give Alycia a little slice of paradise at home, and so they got to work on building a 22’ Growing Dome in the backyard. We were very fortunate to visit Lou and Alycia at their home in Bellville, Illinois, to tour Alycia’s sprawling gardens. 

A Greenhouse that Grows Food & Love

Louis showed off their ample outdoor growing space to grow all kinds of different things like strawberries, blackberries, potatoes, garlic, and pine trees for their grandchildren to chop down for Christmas someday. Sadly our visit took place toward the end of winter, so we didn’t see the gardens in bloom. They also have not one but two greenhouses. The first was a small English-style greenhouse now mainly used for storage, and the second was their Growing Dome. Alycia said their first small greenhouse “just wasn’t enough,” but she “absolutely loves” her Growing Dome.

Louis described to us how lucky he is to have Alycia. He said, “restaurants have been spoiled for me. Nothing I can get eating out is better than the food Alycia makes me, especially with fresh vegetables from the garden.” 

Touring the Growing Dome

Then Alycia took us into her Growing Dome, or her “little slice of paradise,” as she called it. You could tell how much she loved the space. Her eyes lit up while pointing out and describing all kinds of succulents. The electricity allowed Alycia to add a fan for ventilation and an electric heater. Alycia has been able to grow successfully year-round without needing the heater too much. Although she does like having it to protect her tropical plants and succulents from any potential freeze,  She also showed off neat worm farms to keep her soil extra healthy. 

It is truly wonderful connecting with Dome Owners like Louis and Alycia. The love they share for each other, and their greenhouse is evident. We can’t encourage our readers enough to get involved in this wonderful community and meet people, like Lou and Alycia, in your area by joining our Facebook group for Growing Dome Enthusiasts. 

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You can find all of our Featured Growing Dome’s highlighted in our monthly newsletter “The Happy Grower,” on our social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram), and in our blog. At the end of the year, we create an annual calendar that includes every Dome of the Month. We send them to all Featured Dome participants, along with a gift of Growing Spaces gardening goodies! Apply here.

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