Monday, November 30, 2015

Secret Life

Since Labor Day I have been living a secret life ... and hiding it from you.  Hiding my secret life as a coed.  Well, maybe not quite a "coed", but i am back in school. 

The Virginia Community College System has a strong emphasis on one- and two-year professional training in a zillion specialties.  This is not the traditional college-transfer stuff, but rather preparation to go into the work force in just one or two years.  

[Full disclosure:  my first two jobs out of grad school were in the VCCS system, so I am a fan!]
Entrance to campus
Fortunately for me the local CC specializes in Horticulture, among many other things.  The Hort program is centered on their western campus, which is about 30 minutes west of me, but their central campus is only 5 minutes away and some of my classes are held there, too.

In September I started in "Principals of Horticulture" - a survey course - and "Landscaping Plants I" - woody plants.  For this semester we have studied trees and shrubs that bloom in the fall and winter, as well as the conifers.  I've learned something nearly every week, and, I have loved every minute of it. 
Four greenhouses for propagation and winter storage
Once a week I volunteer a few hours working in the greenhouses and demonstration gardens.  I've been doing things like weeding, planting pansies, digging out dead annuals, deadheading perennials and cleaning up inside the greenhouses .... in other words, exactly the same things that I have been doing at home ...  well, except for the greenhouse part!

A demonstration space with conifer garden behind it

Cleaned-up perennials in demonstration beds
Winter beds ready for covers

and, covered

My favorite view of the demo spaces
Exams are the next two weeks and then I can register for Landscaping Plants II.  Once I have finished that, I will move into the landscape design classes, and maybe a bit of flower arrangement.
I can hardly wait!