Monday, March 7, 2011

Floriculture and Horticulture-The Next Generation

Years ago when we were running a garden center at full steam, an acquaintance of ours walked into the shop with a shy young teenager in tow and stated "She needs a job!" The mother went on to say that she thought working outdoors with plants was just the right fit for Lei, the still mute girl in bib overalls standing behind her. Lei finally said she thought she would like working with plants and that she went to school right up the road from the garden center.

We agreed to take her on a trial basis a couple days after school and a few hours on weekends, but didn't expect her to last long as, unfortunately, a number of teenagers brought in by their parents rarely lasted
more than a week or two. However, Lei not only lasted longer than a few weeks, but worked part time through her entire high school career. She earned a scholarship from one of the local garden clubs, and went on to major in horticulture at Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania.This shy, awkward teen blossomed (pun intended) into a confident, knowledgeable, young woman now working for a large perennial grower.

I mention Lei since I recently came across an article in the Eastern Edition of Country Folks Growers regarding scholarship money available for floriculture/horticulture students. The deadline is May 1 for 20 separate scholarships offered by the American Floral Endowment (AFE). Look online for a complete description of each AFE scholarship offered, requirements, and an application.

If you know of a young person who could benefit from this information, please pass it along. We like to think we played a small part in Lei achieving her dream and hope by writing about this scholarship, we may be helping some other young person do the same.

A reminder that the Philadelphia International Flower Show is open now through March 13 at the Convention Center with this year's theme being "Springtime in Paris".

Think Spring!

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