Posted by: Lexi
There are many things I am thankful for in my life—summer time after a rough quarter, living with my best friend, my loving boyfriend, my supportive and amazing family—but at the top of the list for the moment, I’m grateful for the opportunity to receive the prestigious Arnold D. Haskell Scholarship. The Haskell Scholarship is given to a Cal Poly student, sometimes two, every year; the amount of which covers all estimated costs for an entire school year. WOW, right?! I also have to—no no, get to—intern at their humble-yet-stunning gardens (Sherman Gardens) off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Corona Del Mar. The internship is paid and they also cover housing during the ten-week internship as well. What a deal, eh!? Like I said, I am extremely thankful for such a generous interest in my horticulture education and the opportunities that our Horticulture and Crop Science Department offer.
My classmate Jeff & I at Sherman Gardens before our scholarship interviews. We were both the fortunate recipients of the Haskel Award!
When you first enter the gardens you hit an explosion of color surrounding a small fountain with their signature otter holding the flow of water into the pool. They have a small California Natives section, fern and moss grottos, water features, fuchsias and begonias that make your eyes pop, and so many other wonderful garden aspects. The vibrance and homey-ness makes the soul soar. I can’t wait to be a part of something that will bring an undoubted amount of happiness to those who visit those small gardens off of PCH; a little piece of solace and peace amidst the bustle of Orange County. A diamond in the rough. I definitely recommend going to visit!!!
The succulents were my favorite feature at Sherman Gardens!
Flores. Fleurs. Blumen. Flowers. Another amazing opportunity as a student at Cal Poly in the Horticulture Department!!! Being part of the Floral Design Team here at Cal Poly allows for us to practice and extend out floral designing skills in addition to compete in California Top Ten as well as the National Floral Design Symposium. The National Symposium changes location every year and this year it was in the middle of the culturally ecstatic San Francisco! Designers across the nation gathered to share their work and inspire us students that gladly attended. Fifteen schools competed in the student competition, offering 54 competitors. Four designs had to be constructed within various time limits. All students received the exact same fresh product (cut flowers) as well as decorative hard product (decorative wire, floral foam, containers, etc). Our design team (Jaclyn Wiley, EHS; Lexi Watkins, EHS; Carrie Nasby, RPTA; and Darci Malone, RPTA) put Cal Poly on the map, placing in every category in the top ten. Jaclyn’s buffet and napkin ring designs placed 10th in their respective categories. And my sweetheart table and bridal bouquet designs placed 8th and 10th, respectively. Our team had be practicing for three months prior to the competition; constantly going over our chosen designs, perfecting mechanics and making sure we would be able to execute our design with any product that the judges threw at us. The competition portion of the week in San Fran was over Fourth of July morning but we didn’t find out results until Wednesday night at the awards banquet. The whole hotel was decked with flower arrangements that the Symposium designers put together and changed out a couple of times during the week. Also, after every designer show, amazing creations were placed in one of the foyers to be looked at more closely by Symposium participants. I took SOOOooo many pictures! Couldn’t stop!!! There were so many colors and different uses of the elements and principles of designs which lend themselves very well to the inspiration board!!! By the end of the week we were all pretty exhausted and I was definitely over-stimulated at that point. Was definitely looking forward to not seeing flowers for a day.
Me with my designs at the AIFD Symposium. I received 10th place on my bouquet and 5th place on my sweetheart design!
I am the upcoming Co-Manager of the Poly Plant Shop and was so stoked when I got to redo our main window design. Dani Ruais and I compiled ideas from the symposium as well as various blogs to come up with a display to show off at our Full Moon Sale this Friday and Sat (15th and 16th)!!! I am so fortunate that I have an avenue to combine my love for floral design with art and creativity!!