At Home with Horticulture

Tools of the Trade

Floral Design began centuries of years ago, and although it was originally used as ornate decor for honorary personal, flower arrangements can now be bought on a daily basis for hoildays or just because.

Cal Poly's Floral Design Class

Open to those with and without experience, Cal Poly students can take beginning Floral Design I winter quarter, followed by Floral Design II in the spring. Both classes offer a combination of techniques, understanding different floral arrangements, and learning how to prepare different arrangements for particular holidays.

Map it Out: Each class, the students of Cal Poly’s Floral Design look to the chalkboard on their right for important information about the daily activity. Today, the students are in Building 11 preparing their midterm designs that will be featured in the Kennedy Library.  February 9th, 2017. Organized: Shelves of tools can be found around the classroom found in Building 11, as the
students have access to whatever they need to make their masterpieces, from masking tape to toothpicks. February 9th, 2017. Floral Laboratory: Each flower must be placed in an individual vial so that the arrangements can stay fresh. Building 11. February 9th, 2017. Prep: Each student receives their own bucket where they place all flowers and foliage that they are using for a given assignment. At the end of each assignment, each student is responsible for cleaning and rinsing their bucket. Building 11. February 9th, 2017. Plan it out: “They had a flower budget of four dollars, and they could get seven stems of flowers off the campus, and foliage off the campus was all free. So they had to stay within the stem count, foliage they could use whatever they want, but they had to use it or else I dock them. It's all about staying within a budget because that's real world. Every class period they have worked to get to this point, it's not like I'm throwing them to the wolves, but if they haven't prepared themselves they're dying right now. But then again that's a learn by doing thing,” Professor of Floral Design Melinda Lynch said. Building 11. February 9th, 2017. Sharpen your scissors: After ordering their flowers from their “menus”, students are set to begin work. Building 11. February 9th, 2017. A quiet space: Whether it involves listening to music or just tuning everything out, the students attempt to remain 100 percent focused on their work in order to put out their best product. “I try not to make it about embarrassment, it's not necessary. What's necessary is that they come in feeling relaxed enough to just rock it and just do it,” Lynch said. Building 11. February 9th, 2017. Focused: Emily Duncan carefully adds detail to her bouquet by contrasting bold colors with more suttle ones. February 9th, 2017. Down to the Wire: Floral Design students begin to feel the pressure working on a deadline to finish their projects. Building 11. February 9th, 2017. Teaching Responsibility: “ They all have to buy their own{cutting}tools. If they don't buy them then they don't take care of them, and if they buy them then they do take care of them. It's just taking care of what's yours,” Lynch said. Building 11. February 9th, 2017.
New Friends: Sarah Zerga and Kathy Young work together on their projects to finish them by the deadline. February 9th, 2017. This quarter’s theme, “Storybook”, allowed students to model their designs after some of their favorite children’s novels. The displays, found on the first floor of the library, are critiqued based on overall technique, color, display, theme, price sheet, and a research paper that was conducted throughout the quarter.  Kennedy Library. February 9th, 2017. Step outside your comfort zone: “This is like my favorite book when I was little and she talked a lot at the beginning about how you shouldn't do the same thing every time, like choose colors you don't like. And I hate pink so I thought it would be challenging. And I chose the round one because I thought it would be the easiest,” environmental management and protection senior Emma Hyde said. Kennedy Library. February 9th, 2017. Relieved: “It was fun. Kind of stressful I guess. I wanted to pick something that had a lot of foliage because it's easy to fill with plants,” said parks, recreation and tourism administration senior Loren Dean. Kennedy Library. February 9th, 2017. Squeaky clean: After a long day of flower design, Building 11 falls silent as students go home after setting up their projects in the library. February 9th, 2017.

The Poly Plant Shop

A day in the life of Kristen Cotter, a Poly Plant shop employee who found her niche in floral design after taking the class her freshman year.

The Environmental Horticulture Unit

Whether a student or a seasoned veteran, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offers the opportunity to work and share one's love for plants. The unit, which includes the Arboretum and over six greenhouses, works together with the floral design class and Poly Plant shop to create bouquets for the community. Hover over the dots to hear the day in the life of workers at the unit.

Do It Yourself

Stumped about how to start crafting your next masterpiece? Here is a step by step guide to get you going.

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them." Henry Matisse