As the calendar turns toward spring, longer days and warmer winds usher in the scent of a new season. Annually this newness is showcased at an oasis of gardening, the annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show. Hosted at the Connecticut Convention Center, the show features fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden equipment, beautifully landscaped gardens, a design & horticulture competition, and 80 hours of seminars and demonstrations on garden-related topics. Colorful, fragrant and abundant, the show covers over three acres. This year’s theme, Connecticut Springs into Earth Day, was filled with creative and practical ideas for house, apartment and condo dwellers alike. It’s a destination for families, flower garden aficionados and the horticulturalists behind it all.
That is where Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Horticulture team applies the lessons of applied, relevant curriculum. NVCC is the only community college in Connecticut that offers a degree in horticulture. Through the program, students may continue their education at a four-year university or apply for employment in landscaping, greenhouses, garden centers or landscape design centers. Participation in the annual flower show is an opportunity for students to interact with the leaders in this local industry.
According to Christopher Tuccio, NVCC Professor of Horticulture, preparing for the show is actually incorporated into the curriculum. “As part of my Landscape Construction classes, students designed and built the structures used in the Connecticut Flower Show. In the class, students learn how to use proper construction practices and equipment in order to create the innovative landscape.
Additionally, students in my greenhouse class propagated and grew many, if not all, of the plant material used in the landscape display. They needed to identify nutrient requirements, pest issues, and properly maintain the plants for the show.”
NVCC’s Horticulture team won the Excellence in Design Award at the CT Flower Show in Hartford this past weekend. This is the highest honor awarded at the CT Flower Show. Professor Tuccio acknowledged Academic Assistant, Mike Schwartz for his tremendous effort in guiding, mentoring, and helping the Horticulture students to build the award-winning display.
The NVCC team also won awards for Most Educational Landscape, Most Environmentally Sensitive Landscape, and Best Fulfillment of Intent.
Having attended the Flower Show and seen NVCC’s displays and awards, President De Filippis commented, “I am so happy my husband and I were able to experience it personally. It touched my heart to meet Michael Schwartz and his family, and to hear Michael explain to the many visitors how nature and nurture come together – it was a labor of love and talent, the heart, mind, soul and body engaged to create this amazingly beautiful display. Bravi, students, family and staff at NVCC”.