Going to school on a sunny, spring day isn’t as difficult when your classroom is a greenhouse.


“It’s more hands-on. You can work and learn how to do things,” said Wes Burton, a junior at Eagle River High School.


He’s one of 50 students in King Career Center’s horticulture program.


“Instead of getting a sheet of paper and writing an essay, you’re learning how to deadhead flowers and it’s nice because it’s a different scenery change,”Burton said.


The teens spend the spring semester learning botany basics and applying their knowledge in the plant nursery.


“If you don’t pinch them they’ll grow too long and lanky and they won’t look as nice as if you did,” Emily Cullen described her work. “So by pinching them they grow fuller and have more flowers and they’re just a happier flower altogether.”


Cullen—a senior at South High School—and her peers started in January to have everything ready for the annual plant sale where they’ll send off 800 hanging baskets and 55,000 potted plants.


“The greenhouse is 45 foot by 60 foot so we pack a lot in to a small area,” said instructor Adam Reid.


He’s headed the horticulture program for 15 years. Reid said it’s fun to see his students grow as much as their plants.


“Where they really learn it is in the greenhouse where they can see the results of things they do,” he said. “How we can control the conditions and control temperature and the light and water to make the plants grow how we want them to grow.”


Students get skills they can use to find summer jobs. The greenhouse is also a class project they can be proud of.


“You’re always doing something new, learning something new. You’re always getting your hands dirty in the process,” said Cullen. “I’m going to be sad when all these flowers go because they almost become like our children,” she laughed.


The KCC Plant Sale is Wednesday, May 4 beginning at 9 a.m.