JACKSON TWP.  The juniors and seniors in the horticulture program at Jackson High School have been busy all winter in the greenhouse planting and growing a variety of spring and summer flowers for the annual spring plant sale.

Their hard work and talents have resulted in a greenhouse full of vegetable plants, geraniums, new guinea impatiens, spikes, begonias, petunias, hanging baskets and much more. Roy Dria is the instructor for the program and said this year they have 60,000 plants in the greenhouse.

“We have 1,400 tomato plants, 1,000 different pepper plants and many of the flowers that everyone likes to have over the summer,” Dria said. “Some of the plants are grown from seeds and some from plugs that we started growing in February. We have many return customers every year for the vegetable plants because we don’t use any pesticides or growth regulators, they are grown all natural.”

The first day of the sale was May 1 and the greenhouse was packed by noon with shoppers. Students from the program were helping people select plants, load up their carts and helping them load their purchases into their cars and trucks.

Dria said they have always pretty much sold out. Any plants that may be left will be donated to places like Stark Fresh, churches or the Jackson elementary schools.

“We’ve donated some flowers for the kids in the elementary schools to plant for their mothers for Mother’s Day in past years. The sale itself is a great way for our students to learn customer service and for the community to see how hard the students work in this program,” Dria said.

Students in the program have won a couple of prestigious awards this past year including second place in the Horticulture & Floriculture state wide competition and first place in the Ohio Nursery Landscape Olympics (OHLO).

Dria said he typically has 34-36 juniors and seniors in the program with this year being the biggest class with 36 students.

The annual spring plant sale is open every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the greenhouse sells out. Watch the Facebook page at Jackson Local Plant Sale for details or call Dria at the high school at 330-837-3501.

The horticulture program provides students with knowledge and hands on experience to help them enter the workforce or continue on to college.  The program provides a foundation in Plant and Horticultural Sciences, Greenhouse and Nursery Management, Landscape Systems Management, and Turf Science and Management, Landscape Hardscapes, and an Agriculture and Environmental Systems Capstone Project.  Students are also introduced to Urban Forestry and Landscape Systems Management, Floral Design and Marketing.  Students earn a science credit by taking this course (counts towards an Honors Diploma) and are exempt from a fine arts credit and personal finance credit if they complete the Horticulture program.