Last night, I taught a blogging workshop to an adult horticultural class, which was a fun and enlightening experience for a few reasons, but one of the most rewarding parts of it was the setting. It was held at McKinley High School in Buffalo, a public school where there is a 4-year horticultural training program. It is only one of 2 such programs in New York State. (I wonder how many other there are in the country.)
There are several greenhouses and workshop rooms where students learn to grow, pot, propagate, design, and so on. There are 2 ponds and several areas where tropical and other plants are kept, and most surprising of all, two greenhouses were filled with tables of annuals: lobelia, pansies, petunias (including old-fashioned fragrant varieties), impatiens, and so on. Not such an interesting sight at any other time of year but on February 28, a most welcome phenomenon. It’s months before these would be seen anyplace else in my part of the world. These will be used to cheer up the annual garden show, Plantasia, which usually relies on forced bulbs, early-flowering shrubs, and evergreens for its plants. All grown by the students (under instructor Dan Robillard) and it looked like they did an fine job.
I had been invited by another horticulture teacher (now a professor at a nearby college), Tom Mitchell. He thought of me after seeing a post where I remarked on a proposed NYState playground pesticide ban, claiming that our local nursery association was against the ban. Mitchell concedes that many members might have been against it, but that the association as a group would never take such a position. I believe him, so I must have been mistaken.
Mitchell wanted the students to be exposed to a blog like Garden Rant where these issues are discussed, and I was happy to take them on a tour of our most controversial posts. He is also threatening to start a blog of his own; that will be very welcome—too few of our local horticultural insiders are involved in the online gardening discussion.
I wanted to take a table of these flowers home.