DC’s Horticulture students blossom at Landscape Ontario Congress

Despite the cold weather happening outside, Durham College Horticulture Technician students recently had an opportunity to put their green thumbs to use when they showed off their skills at Landscape Ontario Congress.

Taking place from January 12 to 14, the annual event, now in its 42nd year, is Canada’s largest green industry trade show and conference, showcasing cutting-edge suppliers, educational sessions and keynote speakers. In addition, post-secondary students enrolled in horticulture programs at colleges across Ontario, are invited to build a student garden for the conference, allowing them to experience real-world timelines and pressures while adding green space to the event.

During their second semester, DC’s Horticulture Technician students collectively decided on the theme and design of their garden. To honour the first harvest of the fields at the Centre for Food (CFF), they chose an agriculture theme, which included vegetables and wild flowers grown in the college’s greenhouse. Using knowledge acquired during their studies, students planted the seeds and timed the growth of the various plants to ensure they reached maturity during the show. The evergreen components of the garden were generously donated by Kobes Nurseries Inc. in Bowmanville, Ont.

The students then pre-built some of the garden’s elements during the fall, giving them time to work out any kinks and prepare for the installation of the display in January. In keeping with the rural theme, the display’s structure and fencing was made of rough-cut Hemlock wood secured with mortise and tenon joinery in place of typical hardware.

“This project provides invaluable experience and networking opportunities to our students,” said Shane Jones, program co-ordinator of the Horticulture Technician program. “They thrive in a professional atmosphere year after year, uphold high standards and conduct themselves respectfully and professionally. It’s an honour to stand with them as representatives of Durham College.”

In addition to creating and displaying a garden at the event, the students also attended the tradeshow on January 14 as active participants before disassembling their garden. In addition to the hands-on experience of designing, growing and building their display, they also had the opportunity to mingle with industry professionals and students from other colleges.

“Once again, Durham College students have done an excellent job communicating the values of the college to an audience of more than 13,000 horticultural professionals,” said Tony DiGiovanni, executive director, Landscape Ontario. “The Durham College garden reflects the strong connection between the landscape and food.”