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Tag Archives: Cal Poly students

Poly Plant Shop to the Rescue!

“This past June, I was anxiously taking care of pre-wedding tasks determined the most important day of my life was going to be perfect. On June 28th, two days before my wedding, I discovered the delivery date for my flower shipment was set for July 26th! I nearly passed out and frantically called my sister, Keri Livingston, Floriculture Specialist at the Horticulture Unit on campus and told her the issue. “I have no flowers, no bouquets, no centerpieces and its two days before my wedding!” Keri said calmly, “Let me make a few calls.” Ten minutes later Poly Plant Shop was able to locate beautiful roses from a local rose grower, have them cut, bundled, and ready for pick up. I was overjoyed that Poly Plant Shop was able to help in such short notice. Thank you Poly Plant Shop for saving my wedding.”

Crystal Cush-Weitkamp, Third Grade Teacher

Cal Poly Graduate

Photographs were taken by Sara Townsend of Studio 828 Photography

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Plantscape Industry Expo 2012

Posted by: Eva Reutinger

PLANTSCAPE INDUSTRY EXPO…Where the industry grows

Aug. 14 -16, 2012
Las Vegas, NV

This was my second year attending the PIE in Las Vegas and I hope I will be able to go back every year. Everything about the conference is wonderful. The attendees are the kindest people you’ll ever meet and all the sessions are extremely innovative.

For those of you who are not familiar with plantscaping, in short it is landscaping for indoors. This exciting industry deals with creating the most imaginative arrangement of plants to liven up an indoor space. The kinds of jobs in this industry are endless. You can design rooftop gardens, living walls, atriums, high-end homes, and commercial space.

The PIE is a three-day conference that brings plantscapers from all over the country together to collaborate and have a good time. The conference consists of different presentations and talks thoughout the day. This year I was able to sit in on sessions about marketing through social media, environmentally sensitive pest management, and sub irrigation (from our very own Joe Haslett!) If you are interested in this industry I would definitely recommend taking Joe’s class, EHS 324, offered in winter. You learn about every little aspect of the business.

Another part of the conference is the exhibitor showcase. Within hours a bland expo hall is transformed into a lush wonderland of plants. This is a way for a company to show off their products, which include decorative containers, plants, artificial plants, and some tools. Some of my favorite displays this year came from Kent’s Bromeliads, Architectural Supplements, and Olive Hill Greenhouses Inc.

This being my second year attending I was astounded by the number of people who remembered me by name and gave me big hugs and kisses on the first day. It is absolutely the best place for networking. There are multiple receptions, lunches, and the awards gala where it is so easy to connect with leaders in this industry. Being a Cal Poly student you will be getting job offers left and right!

The Plantscape Industry Alliance lets us attend because we basically help them run the conference. So you do have to do some work while you’re there, but it’s really fun and easy. Attending my first PIE is what got me into the plantscaping industry. This past summer I was able to intern at The Rain Forest, a plantscaping company in the Bay Area. I took care of plants all over the Bay from office building to mansions; also I did some accounting and office work for them.

For anyone who is able to attend PIE I can guarantee it to be an amazing experience.

I hope to see you there next August!

Sincerely,
Eva Reutinger

 

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Intro: Bug Detective

Intro: Bug Detective

Posted by Dani Ruais

Cal Poly is full of opportunities. I did not think that I would have found an interest in plant protection science while I was here, but I found that I have deep fascination with insects and their interaction with plants. After my introductory entomology class with Dr. Headrick, I decided that I would concentrate on plant protection sciences, and filled out the necessary paperwork for my concentration that same day. During the rest of my student career at Cal Poly, I took all the plant protection science classes that were offered: vertebrate pest management, advanced weed management, insect pest management, plant pathology, biological pest control, etc. Going through the plant protection program was easy enough. The program takes an integrated management approach to controlling pests which basically means that you monitor as much as you can (intro: Bug Detective), and then use the least invasive controls first before progressing to chemical controls, in addition to coming up with plans to use several different control measures in conjunction with one another. The program really makes you think about all of our impacts on natural ecosystems as well as on cropping and ornamental nursery systems.

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The plant protection science program is comprehensive and prepares the student to take his or her Pest Control Advisor’s (PCA) license exam once graduated. Once I graduated, I had all the necessary educational requirements fulfilled for me to be able to take the PCA; and I passed the test my first time. The testing was in depth. But fortunately, Cal Poly professors tailor the plant protection science classes to uniquely prepare Cal Poly grads for the PCA test, as well as preparing the student to take his or her Qualified Applicators License (which is the next license I plan on receiving). PCA exam preparation lectures are also held periodically at Cal Poly for some extra help.

After I graduated, the Horticulture Unit was in need of a pesticide technician and I filled the position as I was studying to take my PCA exams. I really loved this experience. Sure it had some downsides that really taught me that maybe I do not want to do this in the future—by “this” I mean wearing a full Tyvek suit and respirator applying pesticides in a hot greenhouse in the middle of summer. I am not cut out for the heavy labor of being a pesticide applicator, but I do love to scout and recommend control measures. It also showed me that my education prepared me for real world experiences. My best friends during my position were my notes from previous classes I’ve taken, as well as the computer sites and databases that our professors have told us about so many times that we have them memorized.

As the pesticide technician at the Horticulture unit, my days consisted of monitoring the greenhouses and outdoor nursery and landscaped areas at the unit, identifying various damaging signs and symptoms, making recommendations for control measures for various weed pests, insect and mite pests, and plant pathogens, and applying those control measures that would best resolve our pest problems. I worked closely with the Horticulture Unit technician, Ellen Brack, PCA as well as with Dr. Rob Shortell, PCA and students who were growing their various enterprise projects in the greenhouses.

For instance, I had to take care of the reoccurring whitefly problems that come with growing poinsettias, and I had to monitor and work closely with the students in charge of the poinsettia growing to implement control measures. But one of the first things you want to make sure you know before diagnosing and treating a problem are the historical facts at play:

  • Poinsettias are susceptible to whitefly
  • Every year we grow poinsettias (usually by cuttings) we have whitefly affecting the crop
  • Even when we start with certified clean stock cuttings, we have whitefly affecting the crop
  • Historical weather data; pertinent environmental changes that could affect the reproductive cycles of whitefly
  • Whitefly is present on other crops in the neighboring greenhouses
  • Chemical controls are recorded and dated with corresponding graphs to measure effectiveness of control so we know what kind of effects our different control measures have over time

Knowing the answers to these types of questions prior to the establishment of the crop in the greenhouse allows us to use preventative measures, and physical and mechanical measures first, when they will be most effective and preventing a population to establish. Being proactive and consistent are the most important qualities in a PCA and in an integrated pest management plan. And making sure that when you apply a control measure, that it is the most reasonable one and that it is implemented 100% correctly so that they can be as effective as possible in order to not waste time and money.

By recording every observation (monitoring), gathering historically relevant facts (researching), as well as following up on every control measure to rate its effectiveness (recording) and decide whether to incorporate a control measure into an integrated pest management plan that looks at the whole picture; not just its isolated units.

Positions at Cal Poly are unique because it is Learn by doing. You have all the support you can get to prevent you from making mistakes, but even if you make a mistake and say burn all the plants with the wrong dose of pesticides, you do not get fired or ruin your career. Instead, you catch some flak, learn from your mistakes, and try to amend the situation. The position was equally challenging to control all pests at the unit, as well as to use and expand my knowledge base. I had the flexibility to try out different sprayers, different chemicals, various application methods, gain experience using beneficial insects, etc. I came away with probably a larger variety of knowledge than a lot of pest control advisors who have worked in one or two crops their whole careers. I got to work with such a variety of pests and crops and environmental situations that I feel almost like a jack of all trades- a little knowledge about everything pest related!

 

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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

PlantConservatory.CalPoly.edu

MKrist@CalPoly.edu

 

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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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Interior Plant Program To Invade Campus

Interior Plant Program To Invade Campus

Posted By: Dani Ruais

“You’re going to love plants by the end of this…”

Very few people know about the Interior Plant Care Program that Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences lecturer Joe Haslett spear-headed on Cal Poly’s campus. He started the program summer 2011, and in just under a year, the Horticulture and Crop Science department is present in every sit-down restaurant on campus, making its way over to the new Rec Center and hopefully into the University Union by the end of summer 2012. The idea behind this project was not just to beautify the campus core (which, as horticulture students, we just have a knack for beautifying spaces), but to teach the Interior Plant Care students the ins and outs of how the interior plant care industry works. Students participate in all aspects of the process from designing and planning, to choosing and growing the plants, to installing the plants in their new spaces, as well as taking care of the regular watering and maintenance of the plants. Most of the plants used in the restaurants on campus are grown by Cal Poly Horticulture students in the Foliage Greenhouse #10 at the Horticulture Unit. The plants were prepped and installed and are currently maintained by students.

You can see them for yourself at The Sandwich Factory, The Avenue, Metro Express, Metro 19, Ciao! and Sage restaurant.  They have been installed and maintained by paid Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences students. After our program received much support from the rest of the Cal Poly campus community, we were given the opportunity to also design the interior plants for the new recreation center on campus that just opened earlier this year in the spring of 2012.

The process of designing for a client is both exciting and challenging. It’s exciting because we are getting hands-on experience that you would only get if you were in the industry, and challenging because we are faced with real-world circumstances such as working with a client’s budget, or a client’s idea of how he or she would like the design done (everything from the plant selection to the container selection). I not only got experience with installing and maintaining different interior plants and spaces, but I also got experience with the software that industry professionals use to design interior spaces for their clients.

After our design plans for the new recreation center were approved, which takes a while in the real world, it was time to take a trip to the Santa Ynez Gardens Nursery to pick out our larger more expensive palm trees, as well as some interesting color plants to make “color bowls” that may be changed out seasonally, such as at Christmas time with poinsettias.

Once our plants and containers were delivered, it was time to stage and clean all the plants before they are put in their new home. We cleaned and pruned them at the Horticulture Unit prior to placing them in the Rec Center. For the larger plants, we had to assemble them on site. But for our smaller plants and color bowls, we were able to get them all ready so that they could just be placed in their spots. Even though we purchase clean plants from nurseries, it’s important for us to inspect and clean them ourselves so that we can guarantee the plants’ health. We use a natural citrus spray to smother mites and insects as well as to give the foliage some shine. Then we place the plants in their individual saucers, or pots that have sub-irrigation so that we can easily replace plants in the future.

I urge everyone to check out our work! Visit the dining complexes on campus as well as the Rec Center that we just finished installing. I hope you all enjoy the plants as much as I do.

If you would like more information on the Interior Plant Management class that is offered by Joe Haslett, our projects, or possible jobs, please contact Joe Haslett at: jhaslett@calpoly.edu.

Posted By: Dani Ruais

 

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