Poinsettias are springing up in offices across campus, but they’re not being brought by elves — the holiday plants are part of a new horticultural program launched by Landscape Management and employing the skills of students from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.
Late last week, Landscape Management began distributing the first of some 220 poinsettias to various departments. The three varieties — Red Jubilee, Pink Jubilee and Red Glitter — were grown from rooted cuttings purchased last spring from a California nursery, according to Gary Glazier, manager of Landscape and Construction Services.
The plants were placed in a new greenhouse at Tillson Farm built earlier this year with the help of other Stockbridge interns. The poinsettias were cared for by three interns from the Stockbridge School: Christopher Phillips, Natasha Blarney and Nicholas Capp. The students worked with Glazier and two of his staff, Raymond LaClaire and Jennifer Konieczny, and gained some hands-on experience in horticulture.
The new venture also had some assistance from several campus experts, including associate professors Susan Han and Douglas Cox, Chris Joyner and Jeff Anderson of the Bowditch greenhouses, and Tina Smith of UMass Extension, who advised on integrated pest management techniques.
“This just makes so much sense,” said Glazier. “We have a great program at Stockbridge and so many projects for students to work on. Growing our own plants can really save money and creates a learning experience.”