ROCKVILLE — The horticulture building at Solano Community College smelled like a forest Friday with the aroma of pine needles filling the air.
The smell of pine signaled the Horticulture Department’s annual winter sale was back.
Volunteers and Horticulture Club members sell their seasonal plants and Christmas crafts every winter to help support some of the department’s year-round costs.
Although the fall and winter seasons aren’t usually viewed as prime planting time, volunteers on hand were eager and ready to show customers the many possibilities for gardening in colder weather. Students and members of the Horticulture Club also assembled planted pot decor with Christmas themes, such as budding perennials with daffodils, tulips and more.
Faculty adviser and instructor Ken Williams said some of their more popular items during this sale are their hand-crafted wreaths and swags, or door decor. The students assemble the wreaths and shags a few days before or on the spot using a handful of different pine branches and materials found in their gardens.
The sale is one of the department’s two annual fundraisers. The second is a three-day sale in the spring before Mother’s Day.
Williams said about half the department’s funding comes from sales. They use the money to purchase extra tools, periodicals and seeds and to fund four student scholarships each year.
One of the reasons the Horticulture Department remains popular is because the club is open to both students and those who are not students.
Club member Dixie Hasbrouck said the club, which meets once a month, is a great educational tool. Every meeting, the club has a guest speaker with expertise on different facets of gardening.
“It’s like coming to the horse’s mouth,” she said. “You get expert advice.”
Jim Darling, a longtime volunteer, said even though the department has grown in popularity, many don’t realize the program exists.
“It’s the best-kept non-secret,” he said.
The winter plant sale continues from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Building 1000.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.