ANSONIA – FloraCulture students at Ansonia High School are practicing the art of corsage-making.
The students, who are also Future Farmers of America (FFA) members, are preparing for the corsage sale, preceding the Father – Daughter dance at the beginning of April.
FloraCulture, or flower farming, is a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry. The elective class at Ansonia, is Floral Design and Marketing. Senior student Cody Stump is working on his second flower arrangement.
“See these long ferns?” he asked. “I have one on each side, so I have four. These greens are shorter, so I begin making several different layers. These go out and these go up and I position the flowers around.”
Agribusiness Teacher and FFA Adviser Zane Fessler said upon college graduation, his first teaching assignment was Horticulture.
“Once you start teaching it, you always want to teach it,” he said. “FloraCulture is one of those things you can easily do as a side job. If people in the community know the students can do these things, the students can make money off of proms and other events. Once they get working on these, they end up doing really well. So far, the kids have had only two or three projects, now they can do them without me having to watch them.”
In addition to corsages and flower arrangements, the students made fairy gardens, as their first project. Students were free to make creative judgments, but some specific rules applied to all gardens. They each had to have lighting, a plastic frog and all dirt had to be hidden from sight. Students used moss, stones and succulents, plants that hold water, to cover the dirt.
“These were really small when they were planted, and they just shot up like crazy.” Fessler said. “We put them in the front office and anyone who walked by had to find the frog.”
To save and make money, Fessler purchases the flowers at wholesale. Students also practice using recycled flowers. According to Senior student Robert Christman, the key to doing well with FloraCulture is patience and taking one’s time. He said it takes about 45 minutes to make a flower arrangement, if the goal is to make it look good. Christman has been a long-time fan of horticulture. He has taken every class the school has offered, such as: Greenhouses, Landscaping and Horticulture Science.
“I am looking at going into horticulture after high school,” he said. “I want a greenhouse, a farm, or maybe a mixture of both. It is a good idea to take these classes, to find out if students are interested. It is something new to try, and you might like it.”
In addition to FloraCulture, Fessler teaches a Greenhouse and a Landscaping class. All the Horticulture classes are working on their spring sale. The school’s greenhouse is full of plugs and pots. It smells of soil and is warmed by the sun. The class is busy planting new things, such as Spider Plants, Wandering Jews, Spikes, Inpatiens, Begonias and Geraniums. They are sold to the public at the school’s Garden Center during the following hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Sunday, noon – 3 p.m.