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Two greenhouses are bursting with vibrant plants of all colors on the Brunswick Community College campus, and they’re waiting for someone to come and take them home.
There are also annuals and perennials of all sizes, shapes and colors.
Students and staff in the college’s horticulture and turf grass management program have been working for weeks to cultivate plants for the fourth annual sale.
The sale starts runs through Friday, April 27.
“It gets bigger every year,” said Dean Bennett, director of the horticulture and turf management program. “The students do everything.”
As a part of the program’s curriculum, students start all of the plants and care for them until they are ready to be sold. Part of the teaching process is how to schedule plantings and cultivating times.
“We want the plants to all be ready at the same time,” Bennett said. “When the plants first start they take up a small portion of the greenhouse, but they quickly need space.”
BCC is home to two greenhouses that differ in construction and operation to teach students different methods and to familiarize them with styles of greenhouses.
Students sowed the first seeds in late January and staggered the plantings from that time. The growing process is hands-on for students who are responsible for sowing the seeds, doing the cuttings and everything involved in growing healthy plants.
There are 50 to 60 types of plants available during the sale. Some are in deco pots that are ready for display on a patio or in a garden. Plants may also be purchased individually to make personalized pottings or for landscaping.
“Our focus is on good, quality roots that will perform well in landscaping,” Bennett said. “We are here to teach students how to work for nurseries, landscapers and golf courses.”
Students are responsible for landscaping around their facility on the BCC campus. In addition to the greenhouses, there are shade houses where plants are moved outside to acclimate to the weather.
“Plants are just like a child in that you have to teach them how to take care of themselves,” Bennett said. “They have to acclimate to the wind and the weather. This helps them become stronger.”
The plant sale isn’t intended to compete with area nurseries.
“We try to be one of the last sales in the area,” Bennett said. “Spring is big business for the industry. Students have the opportunity to learn. I am a believer that students learn from being hands-on. We teach them to be responsible stewards.”
Sale hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. The sale will be in front of the horticulture building K on the BCC campus.
Students will be on hand to answer questions about the plants and share their knowledge with shoppers. Proceeds benefit the program and allow instructors to purchase needed materials such as plant seeds and fertilizer.
Students are working toward a two-year associate degree or certifications in specific areas. Students range in age from 18 to 66. There are 21 classes offered in the horticulture and turf management program.
“Our goal is to help students find answers to their questions, to develop critical thinking skills. To say, this is our problem, how do we solve it? They learn more than just the task,” Bennett said. “We want them to learn to be economical and environmentally sustainable.”
For more information on the horticulture and turf management program at BCC visit www.brunswickcc.edu.
Rachel Johnson is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.