Plants, flowers ready for new homes

WESTFIELD-Students in the Horticulture Technology Department at Westfield Technical Academy have been planting and grooming a greenhouse full of plants and flowers for months which are now bursting with color and awaiting new homes this spring.

Westfield Technical Academy seniors Josh McGorty and Layla Williams check the status of herb bowls in the greenhouse under the watchful eye of Nathan Sperry, horticulture technology instructor.

The department’s annual spring plant sale is slated May 8-12 at the Greylock Street greenhouse. Hours are May 8, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; May 9, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; May 10, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; May 11, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and May 12 from 9 a.m. to noon if there are still plants to purchase.

On Tuesday morning, seniors Layla Williams and Josh McGorty were in the greenhouse nipping buds and examining the condition of herb bowls – one of the more popular sale items each spring.

Williams, majoring in special education, relishes her time spent in the Horticulture Technology Department.

“I have a garden and enjoy being outdoors so I also enjoy my time here,” said Williams.

McGorty, who is majoring in horticulture, echoed those sentiments.

“I enjoy landscaping and being outside,” said McGorty. “Every day is a different experience.”

Nathan Sperry, horticulture technology instructor, said the plant sale has a twofold approach for students.

“The plant sale helps students understand their trade has a value to it,” said Sperry, adding there is a benefit to growing plants and selling them. “With money raised we can also acquire new equipment for our programs and buy materials for next year’s sale.”

Sperry added that over the years the plant sale profits have also helped to pay for repairs of existing equipment and purchase computers for landscape design software.

“We hope to purchase laptops this year with plant sale profits,” said Sperry.

Area residents visiting the sale can expect to find more than 12 varieties of Coleus, Dahlias, Nicotiana, Gerbera Daisies and Scaevola, with prices of 4” plants for $4 and 6” plants for $5. Flowering hanging baskets are also a popular item and range from $15 to $18.

Vegetable plants including tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers will also be on sale for $3 each.

For cooks seeking out the freshest herbs in a beautifully manicured pot – there are three distinctive herb bowls being offered this spring – “Italian Chef’s Choice,” “Country Kitchen” and “French Cuisine.”  The Italian Chef’s Choice herb bowl consists of Basil Dolce Fresca, Basil Amethyst, Thyme Lemon Variegated, Oregano Hot ’n Spicy, Oregano Variegated and Rosemary Barbecue. The Country Kitchen herb bowl features Basil Dolce Fresca, Chives Garlic, Parsley Moss Curled, Thyme vulgaris English, Marjoram Sweet and Sage Purple. The French Cuisine herb bowl contains Parsley Moss Curled, Rosemary Barbecue, Sage Purple, Thyme vulgaris English and Tarragon French. 

All herb bowls require full sun and are priced at $14.

Sperry is hopeful that area residents will once again this spring turn out and support the students and their efforts.

“It’s a great deal on plants and a good way to support our school and students,” said Sperry. 

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