Students plant their academic future in greenhouse


Adam Jones

Robert Farnsworth, department chair and instructor of horticulture, opened the door to the Saddleback College greenhouse as he spoke about what goes on in the horticulture department.

“We offer associates degrees and certificates in horticulture and landscape design,” Farnsworth said. “One of the classes we offer is introduction to horticulture science, where one learns everything about growing plants, from what soil type a plant needs, to how photosynthesis works.”

In introduction to horticulture, small groups of students are given a small plot of land to grow whatever they please. Tomatos, sweet peas, artichokes, broccoli, onions, carrots, and a plethora of flowers and herbs grow under student care.

“We learn all about pests, pest management, soil, and fertilizers,” Farnsworth said, speaking about his introduction to horticulture class. Students learn how to grow flowers and vegetables, and how to keep them healthy.

Farnsworth enjoyed showing off his students’ work, praising their hard work and perseverance.

“In introduction to landscape design we work on real life projects,” Farnsworth said. “We’re working on a home right now that is removing their lawn and putting in a whole new landscape.”

On the landscape design side of horticulture, the department relies on local homeowners who are looking to renovate a yard, preferably a lawn area, and install a more attractive, water-wise garden.

“We’re always looking for people who want to tear up their lawn. Tearing up your lawn is a neat thing these days, in regards to saving water,” Farnsworth said. “We’re very interested in responsible landscaping, and we base our class projects each semester on the renovation projects that homeowners come to us with.”

Inside the greenhouse, and around the horticulture department gardens, sat thousands of plants awaiting the upcoming spring plant sale. The plant sale will be held at the Saddleback greenhouse from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on April 14 and 15.

Due to the success the horticulture department had with the plant sale, the ceramics department has decided to feature pottery and other works to go along with the plants. The sales from the individual departments will be used to fund scholarships for their students.

“Last year we were able to hand out between $7,000 and $8,000 in scholarships for horticulture students,” Farnsworth said. The money was raised almost exclusively through the spring plant sale.

For more information on yard/lawn renovation, please contact Robert Farnsworth at

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