Success of horticulture department’s plant sale continues

Success of horticulture department’s plant sale continues

Bryce Fraser

Amanda Parker, left, looking at some Bronze Fennel while Mark Shaffer smells the aroma of a spearmint plant during a plant sale put on by the horticulture department on the American River College campus Wednesday.

Jose Garcia and Jose Garcia

The horticulture department’s plant sale Wednesday drew not only American River College students but interested customers from the surrounding community.

Products for sale included bedding plants, vegetables, outdoor shrubs, tropical foliage plants and herbs.

Students from the Plant Propagation and Plant Production, Facilities and Sales classes are in charge of helping customers find specific plants and completing transactions.

A greenhouse located in the interior of the plant sale housed plants that weren’t for sale and plants that the horticulture classes experiment on.

“The plants that aren’t for sale are used to propagate. We also have cuttings and leaves that we experiment on by putting hormones in them,” said Beverley Peets, a horticulture major and student who was greeting patrons at the sale. “We put a fan on the plants when they’re first growing to simulate outside conditions.

“Once the stems are sturdy and about three inches long we take the plants outside so they can continue growing.”

Debbie Flower is the Horticulture professor in charge of the plant sales.

“The plant sales can be a bit time consuming to put together but we’ve sold quite a bit of our products this time around,” said Flower. “The snake plant, a low light indoor plant, was popular among customers.”

The plant sales don’t only attract students and employees of ARC, they also attract members of the community.

Jared Calabrese, a local in the ARC area, found out about the plant sale by spending some of his free time on campus.

“I come to ARC to swim and play water polo,” said Calabrese. “While I was leaving the pool I saw a poster for a plant sale going on. I decided to swing by so I could pick up some decorative plants for my place.”

Students from Horticulture 312 and 316 aren’t just learning the business side to the plant industry, they’re also learning horticultural techniques.

“So far we’ve learned how to propagate, graft and air layer different types of plants,” said horticulture student Catherine O’Neill. “We’re also focusing on drought tolerance. Low water plants are the key in this time of drought.”

According to O’Neill, a line for the plant sale formed at 8:30 a.m. and was so long that the line extended outside the area of the entrance to the plant sale.
“Students would be ready to jump into the field after taking these horticulture classes,” said O’Neill. “They give you all the experience and preparation you need.”