Saddleback College kicks off spring with a successful plant sale

Sales go towards the department scholarships

  • Shannon Green and her boys are regular customers at the biannual Plant Sale at Saddleback College. (Marie Christner)

Saddleback College’s horticulture and landscape design department held its biannual Plant Sale on a Thursday and Friday on campus in the greenhouse, where 99.9 percent of the proceeds go toward student scholarships and the remaining 1 percent goes towards seeds and dirt that college students plant themselves.

This spring plant sale has taken place for more than 20 years, once in the fall and once in the spring and will feature edible plants, native plants and other beautiful plants. They sell many different plants and trees such as Japanese maple trees, summer berries Yarrow, Spineless Hybrid Squash, Amadeo Eggplant and Sweet banana peppers. There are many different locations where these plants and vegetables are stored, such as shade plants and succulent plants are stored inside and vegetables and herbs are outside.

“Each time I have come back to take part at this event, I learn more and more about each plant,” said Johnathan Jones, one of the staff members at the plant sale.

This plant sale is worked by professors, students and volunteers and is very public to whomever is willing to contribute or buy any plants. Many people such as students or locals come to this sale with wagons and their children and end up leaving with the wagon full of plants.

“I have been coming to this plant sale event for the past two years with my kids and we enjoy all of the wonderful plants and trees,” said Shannon Green, a local customer.

The Department of Horticulture and Landscape Design, headed by Robert Farnsworth and Ken Lee, are now starting to collaborate with the Fine Arts department, which make and sell ceramic plants at the sale and are splitting the proceeds. They have been implementing strategies for ethological design of Horticulture principles and want to incorporate new urban ideas in collaboration with the theory garden.

“We are growing and expanding into two new arenas,” said Robert Farnsworth, co-chair of horticulture and landscape design. “We want more sustainability for the Greenhouse and plan on making this happen.”

A new fish farm has been put on display at the plant sale, called aquaponics. The fish that are in this fish farm, the Horticulture department grows and it is very important because fish fertilizer is one of the best organic fertilizers you can put any plants into. A nice feature that also will take place is a wheelchair ramp that leads right in front of the fish farm for guests to see that are handicap.

The main proceeds of this event go towards student’s scholarships. The San Clemente Garden Club, The Rose Society at Saddleback Mountain and Lake Forest Garden Club all reach out to Saddleback College and ask what scholarships to give out. This makes the Horticulture and Landscape Design Department much more than just their own. These scholarships are such a huge impact on the students at Saddleback College and other schools and their clubs because not only does the money come from a plant sale, it also comes from the Horticulture department, who are very involved in helping their school.

“The greenhouse is powered by the students,” Farnsworth said.