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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

From passion vines to perennials—plant sale set for weekend

Jazmyne Cushenberry
This drought tolerant plant is one of many to be sold at the Environmental Horticulture Department’s upcoming annual plant sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 9, in the Lifescape Gardens on East Campus at City College. The Crassula tetragona, or Mini Pine tree, is a succulent native to South Africa. It should reach to about 2 ft. tall and will gain small white blooms in the spring.

City College’s Environmental Horticulture Department will be fulfilling the community’s plant fixes at their Spring Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 9, at the Lifescape Garden on East Campus.

The Plant Propagation Class has cultivated a variety of flowers, sages, fruits and vegetables all selling for between $3 and $6. All of the plants were grown by students in a class meant to teach them all about the commercial nursery industry.

“They learn the basics about plant propagation,” said professor Mike Gonella. “That’s all you really need to get started. The rest is learned on the job.”

The class essentially imitates the real life experience by allowing students the opportunity to utilize the Lifescape garden and greenhouse and grow unique plants using a variety of methods.

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Gonella changes up the class each semester, basing it on what skills he would like the students to gain. These skills range from cutting to divisions, both of which involve dividing plants in order to spread them over larger areas.

“All of the plants are healthy with really good rootstocks,” said Gonella. “There are some perennials, all kinds of salvias, and also some angels.”

The plants are all perfect for landscaping. Susan Carmola, Lifescape garden landscaper, said all the plants are meant for a larger space and perfect for people’s homes.

“People are taking up their lawns and re-landscaping them,” Carmola said. “And these plants need to get in the ground. They need to spread their roots.”

Carmola mentioned the abundance of tomatoes and basils, both of which are anticipated to be big sellers. There will be cherry, heirloom and grape tomatoes, in addition to some zucchini and other squashes. While there are a large variety of plants being sold, each one was specially picked out because of its selling potential by students in Gonella’s class.

“Part of the class is for students to put on the sale,” Gonella said. “We have groups dedicated to publicity, hospitality, pricing, record keeping, labels and artwork.”

Essentially, the students put on the sale themselves and it’s their job to make sure they are selling plants that the community wants to buy.

“The recording group will go through past sales statistics and guide us based on what sold best last year,” he said. “Usually passion vines sells well. Succulents and vegetables sell well too.

Unique to this year, there will also be compost for sale, courtesy of a former student of Gonella’s.

“It’s not like your regular stuff you get from Home Depot,” he said. “It was made to make compost tea, which is composed of very biologically active microbes.”

Gonella emphasized that this is a small plant sale, meant simply to showcase the student’s work and provide some money for the department. He says each time it’s a learning experience and each time the sale grows and improves.

“The proceeds go into our Garden Trust account, which can be used for student events, student awards, departmental supplies, a lot of different things,” Gonella said. “But it’s all for the department.”

Along with a wide array of plants to choose from, the sale will also have coffee and pastries to accompany the early morning shopping.


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