April 15, 2011
Saugeen horticulture students tell their story
Saugeen students work on their horticulture project.
Editor’s note: Horticulture Ontario Secondary Teachers Association (HOSTA) member Keith Day sent the following article to Horticulture Review. Written by his students enrolled in his school’s Green Industry Program, it reveals their thoughts on the  program.
By Sabreea Ahmed    
co-written/edited by Brianne Maas

At Saugeen District Secondary School in Port Elgin, students enrolled in the horticulture course are gaining experience they will remember for a lifetime. The students can be found caring for amaryllis bulbs, planting Polemonium seeds, transplanting Dark Eyes fuchsias, Swing Time fuchsias and Baby Tut grass, or learning about various propagation techniques and plant maintenance.

In May, the students will sell all of the plants that they have cared for during the semester to the Bruce County community through local stores, the Chippewa golf course, Bruce Power, and Canadian Tire.

The class began the second semester with a gift from the teacher: an amaryllis bulb. However, this isn’t only a gift, it is an assignment. The assignment requires the students to plant a bulb and record the growth in a log book until the end of the course. It is definitely worth it, because in the end, the class will have beautiful flowers that are pink, white, or red and one to two feet tall.

The amaryllis is a colourful plant that can be given as a gift to others once smaller bulbs start growing on the main bulb. They are also perfect for holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Horticulture period four student Brianne Maas told me, “This project presents students with an enjoyable opportunity to grow their own plants and also to demonstrate a certain sense of responsibility in doing so.”

Later in the course, elementary students in junior and senior kindergarten will visit the horticulture classes. The high school students will teach them about seeding and transplanting plants, which the proud elementary students will take home at the end of the day to show their parents. This will allow the older students to gain some experience working with others in a positive and productive environment.

During the annual greenhouse sale, there will be a variety of herbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, houseplants, tropicals, hanging baskets, decorative planters and many plants from Proven Winners. In addition, a number of native plants will be sold. These include big bluestem, compass plant, cup plant and coneflowers. These plants are ideal for the Bruce County area, because they can withstand the climate and weather in this area, so they will be able to survive and grow to their full potential.

One plant that is particularly interesting is the compass plant. The leaves of the plant will always point north and south, never staying in one position.

Finally, field trips will be made to local residence so the students can carry out landscaping projects for their customers.
For more information you can visit the SDSS greenhouse website: www.saugeengreenhouse.com, or contact us at 519-832-2091.