Plant sale raises funds for horticulture and landscape department


Joseph Espiritu

The welcoming scent and bright colors of spring flowers lined the walkways and tabletops; it was a plant lover’s dream. Customers waited in line at the Saddleback College greenhouse last week for their chance to purchase student-grown flora at the horticulture department’s biannual plant sale.

The sale, which takes place every spring and fall semester, lasted all day Thursday and Friday; hundreds of plants were sold. Hanging baskets, bowls, succulents, herbs, and many other types of plants, all piled on tables and in wheelbarrows, were for sale.

“The horticulture and landscape staff produced everything you see here,” said Assistant Instructor and Department Chair of Horticulture and Landscape Design
Robert Farnsworth at the event.

The sale, which takes place every spring and fall semester, is in its 15th year and has always drawn a strong following, according to Horticulture Lab Technician Yvonne Alliman. Alliman organized the sale as a fundraiser for horticulture and landscape student scholarships, but the staff was not alone in planning and executing this event.

“We had about two dozen students volunteer to help out both days,” said Farnsworth. “Everyone worked hard.”

Customers came from cities all over Orange County. Rochelle Goodemonte, a Saddleback alumnus from Tustin, attended for the sixth time.

Laura Hergesheimer of Dana Point was also pleased with her goods, believing that the sale is worth the drive.

“We were here yesterday, and decided to come back,” said Hergesheimer as she loaded her cart with pothos, color flats, and tomato plants. “The quality is excellent, and I’m very happy with the plants.”

The sale also attracted Saddleback students and faculty who were looking for new additions to their gardens.

“I wish I was [sic] here yesterday,” said Bridget Sisemore, 27, nursing, who had wanted potted plants but found they were in high demand.

On the other hand, Saddleback College Dance Instructor Dorothy Garant was able to find what she was looking for.

“I need some ground cover I can plant around the trees in my yard,” Garant said. “The sale offers great bargains that it’s hard to pass up.”

The number of customers did not disappoint, as faculty and student volunteers were constantly on the move helping shoppers load cartloads of plants into their vehicles.

“I’m very happy with the turnout,” said Farnsworth. “We had a huge crowd on Thursday. People swarmed over colorful annuals, and we had to limit customers to three color flats each.”

As customers picked their way through potted plants, and hanging baskets, Saddleback horticulture student and plant sale volunteer David Kong offered his advice as he helped them select which flowers best suited their gardens.

“The customers are really nice, and most of them know their stuff,” said Kong, 21, art, while he transferred sweet asylum flats from the table to a cart. “I enjoy helping them choose, and also learning something from it.”

The plants costs between $.50-$50, and according to Farnsworth, were a bargain.

“The plants we sell are of extremely high-quality,” said Farnsworth. “The savings are hard to beat.”

Greenhouse Assistant Tina Maldini said that the average customer spent about $45 upwards to $200. “Sometimes we get landscapers and they tend to spend more,” she said.

“The sale is able to generate a significant amount for the scholarship fund,” said Farnsworth.

This year’s scholarships will be handed out at the end of the spring semester. According to the Horticulture Club, last year they were able to award $7,500.

(Joseph Espiritu)

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