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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gardening: Horticulture students creating ‘Wonderland’

As a kid I always loved the story of “Alice in Wonderland.” I thought it would be great fun to slide down that rabbit hole and see if the Cheshire Cat really existed.

Nearly 60 years later, I get to do that in a couple of weeks, and you all can join me.

On April 12, Spokane Community College’s floral design students and the school’s Horticulture Club will take us “Through the Looking Glass” and into Alice’s world done in flowers at their fourth annual Spring Flower and Garden Show.

The students are using their floral design skills and imagination to create larger-than-life floral “Alice in Wonderland” characters including the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts’ soldiers. The characters are set in the Wonderland garden that will include giant mushrooms and flowers. The mushrooms will be covered with different colored carnations densely packed on the mushroom caps. Vegetables will also find their way into the designs; one of the mushrooms will be topped by a large caterpillar whose belly will be decorated with broccoli florets. “The floral design students and instructors used a pavé technique to create the floral exhibits,” instructor Loretta Etchison said. “The technique packs flowers into tight pavement-like designs,”

Originally used to refer to describe a setting of densely packed gemstones, pavé floral designs use just the flower head and enough stem to anchor it to a form. The designer then packs the flower heads closely together using different colors and textures.

The show also features a European-style fresh flower market where you can pick out individual stems of flowers that the students will then hand-tie for you. The show will have a number of vendors offering a wide variety of bedding and house plants, herbs, yard art and arts and crafts for sale. Children’s activities include a Mad Hatter button toss, planting a marigold they can then take home and of course, face painting. Last but not least, no show with a theme revolving around “Alice in Wonderland” would be complete without Alice being there as well. Stop and say hello.

The show serves as a fundraising project for the horticulture students to raise travel funds for several national competitions each year. SCC’s students always place well in these competitions which often include some highly respected four-year college horticulture programs.

Beyond a fundraiser for their programs, preparing for the show gives the student experience in event planning, Etchison said.

“This is extremely valuable for them as they move into the workforce and the broader floral industry,” she said. “It broadens their base of experience which helps them find good jobs.”

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