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Designing a Future

The students in Professor of Horticultural Technology Rene Gingras’s Flower Show Design and Construction class plan and execute an exhibit at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Open House each year. The class takes place in the fall and spring semesters at the Thompson School of Applied Science during which students conceptualize their long-term strategies for the final display. “They come up with a concept, decide on the plants they’ll use, overwinter them, and force them to grow in the spring,” says Gingras. “A week before the show, it’s crazy.”

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Students Mike Boyden, Josh Jones, and Mitch Andrea all share an entrepreneurial spirit in common. Boyden, a dual major in Horticultural Technology and Applied Business Management at the Thompson School, plans to eventually carry on his family’s Pelham-based business, Boyden’s Landscaping. Through the two-semester Flower Show Design and Construction course, Boyden has learned to be creative and flexible in response to unexpected change. “Even if you have a plan, you have to be able to think on the spot,” says Boyden.

Like Boyden, Josh Jones is also a Horticultural Technology and Applied Business Management major. When not in class, he works as a landscaping foreman contractor in Massachusetts and has plans to start his own company after graduation. Boyden and Jones, along with fellow Horticultural Technology major Mitch Andrea, enjoyed the challenges and results of developing the display at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Open House. Andrea, who has lined up a job with the Northeastern University grounds crew and is considering starting his own landscaping business in the future, says the Open House is a great venue in which to showcase students’ hands-on education in horticulture.

The trio was part of a larger team that created the display, which included a footpath around a garden of annuals, a fountain, walls of flowers, stone work, and a set of child-sized table and chairs that were hand hewn by students in the Thompson School’s Forestry program.

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For more information about the Horticultural Technology, Applied Business Management, and Forestry programs at the Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH, please see http://thompsonschool.unh.edu.