Category Archives: Plants

Learn By Doing: Get Involved in Clubs!

Andi Goodman, AEPS Student concentrating in Public Horticulture

Andi Goodman, AEPS student

Andi Goodman, AEPS student

Learn By Doing: Get Involved in Clubs!

During my first two years at Cal Poly, I had underestimated all of the countless opportunities that were available to me. I would occasionally volunteer for events such as Open House and other highly advertised functions, but I wasn’t quite as involved as I should have been.

When I entered my third year at Cal Poly, I took Melinda Lynch’s Floral Design class and a new world opened up to me. I was in love with making floral designs and would always look forward to attending her classes. From that point on, she invited me to join her Floral Design Club on campus. Our club meets once or twice a month during which we organize and make floral designs for upcoming events on campus. These events are usually for other clubs or departments such as banquets and award dinners. Not only do we make arrangements for clubs and departments but those for dinners hosted by President Armstrong.

Feeling that I was part of a group has given me a sense of belonging and encouraged me to seek more involvement. This year I became the President of the Floral Design Club as well as the Marketing Chair of the Environmental Horticulture Club. Through these clubs I have attended many volunteering opportunities that have led to future career options. I have also met driven and passionate faculty members in our Horticulture and Crop Science department that know people who are in the Horticulture field, which has become a great way for me to network with professionals in the industry. The only regret I have at Cal Poly is not getting involved sooner, “Learn by Doing” is exactly what we do here!

"Not only do we make arrangements for clubs and departments but those for dinners hosted by President Armstrong."

“Not only do we make arrangements for clubs and departments but those for dinners hosted by President Armstrong.”

"I would occasionally volunteer for events such as Open House and other highly advertised functions, but I wasn’t quite as involved as I should have been."

“I would occasionally volunteer for events such as Open House and other highly advertised functions, but I wasn’t quite as involved as I should have been.”

The AEPS booth for Open House, designed by Andi Goodman

The AEPS booth for Open House, designed by Andi Goodman

Setting up the AEPS booth for Open House

Andy Klittich helping to set up the AEPS booth for Open House


2012 Haskell Scholarship Recipient

2012 Haskell Scholarship Recipient

Posted By: Desiree Davis, EHS student

My name is Desiree Davis and I was awarded the 2012 scholarship through the Arnold D. Haskell Foundation. This scholarship is made possible by the M. H. Sherman Company to benefit the overall advancement of environmental horticulture education in California. The Arnold D. Haskell Fund provides support to two outstanding students majoring in horticultural science at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. As part of their overall educational experience, the students intern at the Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar, CA during the summer quarter following their scholarship award.

The Sherman Library & Gardens were established by Arnold D. Haskell starting in the mid-1950s. The gardens are open to the public.. Haskell named the Library & Gardens in honor of his mentor and benefactor, M. H. Sherman (1853-1932).

The following determine eligibility for the scholarship award:

1. Students must be actively pursuing a B.S. in major in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture.

2. Students must have scholastic achievement of a minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA

3. Students must demonstrate horticultural competency including successful completion of Principles of Horticulture, at least one Plant Materials class, Landscape Maintenance, Plant Propagation, or comparable courses.

4. Students must show evidence of participation and/or leadership in department activities such as student clubs, events, judging teams, etc.

5. Students must demonstrate strong personal character, work ethic, and initiative.

The Horticulture and Crop Science Department committee selects finalists from among qualified applicants. This committee forwards the finalists’ applications to Sherman Library & Gardens and M. H. Sherman Company for their review. The finalists interview with Sherman Company representatives at the Gardens. The HCS Department Head, Dr. John Peterson, is present at these interviews and participates in the selection of the Arnold D. Haskell Scholars.

Recipients must complete a six-week internship for academic credit at the Sherman Library & Gardens during the summer following receipt of the scholarship. I achieved this scholarship not only through my hard work but also through the help of my professors. It was important to write a clear, thoughtful, and unique essay to catch the attention of the Haskell Foundation. In my essay I explained how my love for being outdoors and working with my dad’s landscape design and maintenance company had taught me a lot about this industry and how this industry has shaped me into the confident, determined and responsible person I am today. I can’t wait until the summer for the internship portion of the scholarship. I will be able to learn and work in one of the most beautiful public gardens I’ve ever been to. Tough life, right?

I was pretty nervous during the waiting process – not knowing whether I was going to be interviewed or not. Then finally I was told that I had been granted an interview! Dr. Peterson drove me and the other HCS interviewees four hours south to Sherman Gardens in Orange County. Looking like business professionals, we all arrived in Corona Del Mar and were given a tour of the beautiful gardens. One-by-one we were called in with three of the principal Sherman Gardens staff and Dr. Peterson. I was very nervous but the interviewers were so nice! They were easy to talk to and were genuinely interested in you as a person and what you were about. I found myself relaxed and comfortable in the interview. If you are thinking about applying for this scholarship I can say that confidence is probably the biggest factor. Be confident. You are a Cal Poly student with the knowledge and skills to do great things!

The Haskell Story

“In 1955 Arnold D. Haskell (1895-1977) bought the Norman’s Nursery property at the corner of Dahlia Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, California. The property included a small adobe house that he planned to use as his Orange County office. Shortly after occupying the adobe Mr. Haskell began landscaping the nursery site and the surrounding property. By 1958 the nursery area, now known as The Tea Garden, was being used as a community service project by the Newport Harbor Service League (later to become the Junior League of Orange County) for the sale of pastries, coffee and tea.

Mr. Haskell’s concept for the property was then expanded to include the building of a beautiful garden that would be open to the public. It was to be a serene oasis – a respite from the stress and pressures of daily schedules. During the 1960s the balance of the property making up the entire 2.2-acre block, which is now occupied by Sherman Library & Gardens, was acquired. Remodeling of the original buildings, consisting of the present gift shop, Gardens office and the adobe house, and construction of the Library, conservatory and central patio building were all completed between 1967 and 1974.

Typically (for he always shunned personal publicity) Mr. Haskell named the Library & Gardens after his mentor and benefactor, M.H. Sherman (1853-1932), and not after himself.”


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Internship at the Smithsonian (continued…)

Posted by: Katrina Burritt, EHS student

I just finished up my last week at the Smithsonian on Friday July 27, 2012. I really enjoyed
this internship. The staff was very nice and I got to connect to most of the people in the
Greenhouse unit because there wasn’t that many of us. I have learned so much about
maintaining a living collection, specifically with orchids, although I also worked with bonsai,
tropical and bromeliads. Work included testing the orchids for virus, watering (so much
watering), greenhouse maintenance, plant upkeep, flower arranging and database work. I
would highly recommend an internship within Smithsonian Gardens for anyone. Another bonus
to an internship at Smithsonian Gardens is all the field trips and events the interns are allowed
to participate in. I got to go the American History Museum, Natural History Museum, the Freer
and Sackler Gallery, and Dumbarton Oaks before they were open to the public.


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Internship at the Smithsonian

Posted By: Katrina Burritt, EHS Student

My internship at the Smithsonian is a position at the orchid greenhouse. So far I have learned lots about orchids including how to water, fertilize, what type of growing conditions the different species require, virus testing, virus eradication. My supervisor plans to work with me on transplanting, and dividing several different orchid species and hybrids, both indoor and terrestrial species. I plan to start a green roof project during my time at the Smithsonian. The green roof will be installed onto several bluebird houses that are going to be built on the property in Suitland surrounding the greenhouse grounds. I am going to be learning how to catalog and verify nomenclature of the orchid species and hybrids also.


Hands on Experience in England

Hands on Experience in England

Posted by: Analisia Basurto, AEPS student

Little did I understand what was in store for me when I agreed to do an internship with the RHS in England this summer. The RHS stands for the Royal Horticultural Society of England, which organizes most of the horticulture world of the UK. Among their gardens is Wisley Gardens, their largest garden expanding out about 240 acres. I had the privilege of working at Wisley for a 6-week internship, moving to a different department each week. Each department showcased different plant types/plant regions as well as different horticulture styles. While in each department, I was able to engage in lectures specific to the issues experienced in that department, whether irrigation management, fertilizer treatment methods, plant ID, or teamwork organization.

I found the immersion into Wisley Gardens incredibly valuable in my academic studies. From the first day, I was applying principles of plant ID, maintenance techniques, and human relation skills to the job site. This forced me to pull out elements from classes at Cal Poly, bringing me practical hands-on application to theories I’ve learned over the last two years. Everything from Landscape Maintenance to Plant Pathology classes came into play through the internship, making me value even the dullest moments in lectures.

Aside from being immersed in horticulture, this internship gave me the opportunity of touring the UK during the Olympics. Having a chance to walk the streets and meet the people of London, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Norwich, Bath, and Edinburgh over the weekends made every week an adventure. I felt like I got the best of a vacation and job experience all in one package! If you think that going international for your internship might be up your alley, I would highly recommend you go for it! I learned so much about plants, people, and life that made me ever so grateful to have been given this experience.


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Growing Rare Conifers

Growing Rare Conifers

Posted by: Mark Krist

My name is Mark Krist. I received a Bachelors of Science degree through the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences as an Urban Forester via the Natural Resources Management Department in 2007. I now serve as an Urban Forester through the College of Science & Math under the direction of Dr. Matt Ritter, Director of the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory. As the Urban Forester of the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory, I have had the pleasure to be involved in many important projects including the maintenance of this collection of rare conifers.

The attached pictures are of a collection of rare conifers currently being grown at the Leaning Pine Arboretum and slated to be planted in the future Math & Science Complex. The rare conifer collection is composed of 45 specimens representing 33 individual species. Recently the whole collection was transplanted to larger containers to promote continued growth. This was the second time the collection was “bumped.” The growing of the specimens on campus prior to the installation saves money and provides time to grow to a larger size.

This project is of particular interest because it represents a collaboration among the Horticulture and Crop Science Department (using the Horticulture Unit for space and resources), the College of Science & Math (the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory in the form of plant selection and maintenance) and the Cal Poly Grounds Department (who are the eventual landscape designers, and will install and maintain the plants). This collection is to be installed mid-2013 and that there are currently Landscape Architecture students formulating plans for class projects.

I would invite you to come visit the rare conifer collection at the Horticulture Unit, located in the Courtright shade house, to meet some new and fascinating specimens. All specimens are labeled and coincide with the following current container size listing.

Abies bracteata 15 gallon
Abies squamata 15 gallon
Agathis australis 15 gallon
Agathis corbassonii 5 gallon
Agathis robusta 20″ box
Araucaria bidwillii 20″ box
Araucaria E = 24 15 gallon
Araucaria unknown 15 gallon
Athrotaxis selaginoides 5 gallon
Austrocedrus chilensis (2) 15 gallon
Calocedrus rupestris 15 gallon
Cunninghamia lanceolata 20″ box
Cupressus gigantea (2) 5 gallon, 3 15 gallon
Dacrydium cupressinum (female) 15 gallon
Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (2) 15 gallon still waiting for boxes
Halocarpus bidwillii 5 gallon
Juniperis communis 15 gallon
Podocarpus gnidioides 15 gallon
Podocarpus lawrencii (2) 15 gallon
Podocarpus latifolius 20″ box
Podocarpus longifoliolatus 5 gallon
Podocarpus totara 15 gallon
Podocarpus urbanii 15 gallon
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa 15 gallon
Prumnopitys andina 5 gallon
Sciadopitys verticillata 15 gallon
Sequoiadendron gigantea (4) 15 gallon
Taxodium mucronatum (2) 15 gallon still waiting for boxes, (1) 15 gallon
Taxus selaginoides 5 gallon
Taxus wallichiana 15 gallon
Torreya californica 15 gallon
Torreya taxifolia 15 gallon
Wollemia nobilis 20″ box
Mark Krist

Urban Forester, Cal Poly Plant Conservatory


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American Institute of Floral Designers 2012 National Competition & Symposium “Caliente”

American Institute of Floral Designers 2012 National Competition & Symposium “Caliente”

Posted by: Becca Bollier

This was the first year I attended the American Institute of Floral Designers Annual Competition and Symposium.  I was not quite sure what to expect, but I was thinking a day of competition, a few shows, and a little bit of time to explore Miami, FL.  As we arrived, we discovered there was so much to do!

The first major event was the competition.  As the competition neared I became more and more nervous.  Although we had practiced our designs before the competition and had them critiqued by local floral designers, I was a little bit intimidated since some of the young women from the other schools had been to symposium once or twice before.  Each student had to make a buffet table arrangement, bridal bouquet, sweetheart table arrangement, and two identical napkin rings.  The competition did not go as smoothly as planned, so I was relieved when it was over.  It was all a learning experience and I will be much more prepared for anything that might go wrong for the next competition!

Bridal Bouquet, Sweetheart Arrangement, Matching Napkin Rings, and Buffet Piece

Bridal Bouquet

Sweetheart Table Arrangement

Buffet Table Piece

As soon as the competition was over, we had a little bit of time to relax, but it was time to get started on our bouquet for the trends show.  There were different trends that were divided up to all of the different schools that were a part of the competition.  For each trend there was to be a bouquet, a screen, and a wedding arrangement.  This show was put on by Talmage McLaurin who is publisher of the popular floral design magazine, “Florists’ Review”.  He was so much fun to work with and was able to help us out a lot with our designs.  Cal Poly SLO was assigned the bouquet for the trend “Sea to Shining Sea.” This included beautiful shades of blues, greens, creams, and a touch of pink.  We wanted to create something similar to what you would see if you were to go to the tide pools just minutes away from Cal Poly.  To do this we made the bouquet that you were able to look inside.  This was not your ordinary bouquet.  We spent hours gluing on seashells and getting every little detail just right.  The bouquet was gorgeous and it was definitely worth the extra effort.  The bouquet was then in the show and on stage in front of hundreds of people.  It was then displayed for everyone to view up close.  So many great designers came up to us telling how much the loved it and how creative it was.  It was such a good feeling to know that all of these well known designers liked what they were seeing.

From Sea to Shining Sea Trend for 2012. Made by Cal Poly students Becca Bollier and Desiree Davis

From Sea to Shining Sea Trend for 2012 Bridal Bouquet

From Sea to Shining Sea 2012 Trend bridal bouquet

2012 Trends bridal bouquet

Throughout the week there were so many other things we were helping out with.  It seemed that we were going nonstop for the entire week, but it was definitely worth it!  We volunteered to be models for Fitz designs, which is a company that makes beautiful bouquet jewels, flower bracelets, body pieces, headpieces, and much more.  We also spent a good amount of time in the workroom.  We would help designers in any way possible.  This was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  I was able to meet and talk with so many different designers that are world renown and also learn some fun tips and tricks.  We also went to as many of the shows as possible.  I could not believe what I saw at some of the shows.  Everything was so extravagant and over the top from the shows, to the dinner events, to the floral decorations in the hotel lobby, and even in the bathroom!

Flowers to wear

Desiree Davis making her flowers to wear

I am so happy I was able to attend symposium this year.  It was a great opportunity to meet and work with so many amazing designers.  It was a rare experience to be able to help the designers so much with their designs.  I would love to go back next year where the convention will be held in Las Vegas, NV.  None of this would have been possible without Cal Poly’s amazing floral design lecturer, Melinda Lynch, AIFD, the Cal Poly Floral Design Team, and the Horticulture and Crop Science department!

Posted by: Becca Bollier

Becca Bollier


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