Metro-East Living

Mum sale helps send student to spring training

How to care for new mums

Greenhouse manager Dehlia Meunier started growing mums in June for the Southwestern Illinois College Horticulture Club to sell. She talks about how and when to water and fertilize newly planted mums.
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Greenhouse manager Dehlia Meunier started growing mums in June for the Southwestern Illinois College Horticulture Club to sell. She talks about how and when to water and fertilize newly planted mums.

The mum sale at SWIC helps grow connections to baseball fields in Jupiter, Fla., and the St. Louis Zoo gardens.

The Southwestern Illinois College’s Horticulture Club benefits from the mum sale, which continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, and Sept. 21 and 22. The club’s biggest expenses, said SWIC instructor and club sponsor Heidi Clark, are attending conferences that include job and internship possibilities. The next conference, the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, has 28 events including plant identification and sales presentations, and is where many students find their next step.

Mitchell Moenster, who will graduate in December, has already reaped an internship reward. He was on the turf management team at the Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., winter and spring home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mitchell Moenster, a Southwestern Illinois College horticulture student, interned at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., where he worked with the turf management team to learn more about how to care for Bermuda grass.

Mitchell, 22, of Highland, said he learned “loads” in that seven-month internship, including “vertical cutting” and more about the many varieties of Bermuda grasses.

“They showed a lot of interest in me coming back in December and working full-time,” he said, and he’s interested in that ability to partner his love of baseball with working in turf management.

Steven Sumeersarnath, another horticulture student, is working at the St. Louis Zoo. He was perusing the 18 varieites of chrysanthemum available at the sale, trying to decide what would look good with the mums already at his home. He said the plants should prove hardy enough to be perennials.

“If they’re planted next to the house and mulched heavily, then they should come back,” he said.

The 1,100 mums for sale were all planted in June by greenhouse manager Dehlia Meunier who has watered them every day since and fertilized them at least twice a week to get them ready for the sale. She did have some help mixing the soil and planting from the Horticulture Club students.

One thing she had to be careful about was to keep the mums with white flowers away from the others because the white flowers could take on pigment from the others when they are all young.

Dehlia said they are not selling “mixed” mums, but do have yellow, orange, purple, red, burgundy and white flowers. The sale also includes a few indoor plants left over from the spring sale that Dehlia has nurtured since.

If you go:

What: Mum and indoor plant sale

Where: Southwestern Illinois College greenhouse

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 21 and 22

Cost of plants: $5 for mums; $4 for indoor plants

Benefits: SWIC’s Horticulture Club

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