Pierson Willhite, a senior studying Horticulture Production interned with Perennial Favorites, located in Layton, Utah. Perennial Favorites grows and sells annuals, natives, ornamental grasses, shrubs, edible plants, and, yeah you guessed it perennials. Pierson stayed with his parents, who live only an hour away, during his internship. Pierson said this was well worth it since his wife was pregnant with their third child. She could be comfortable and she could have help with the other kids. Pierson didn't quite have a day to day routine which goes along with many careers in our industry; your day depends on the season. In the beginning of the season, Pierson planted quite a few cuttings, mums, Shasta daisies, and lavender, among other species. To prepare for spring bedding plant sales Pierson also transplanted plug trays into 4” pots. He was also given the opportunity to work with Perennial Favorites managers to learn how to mix fertilizer and apply PGR’s, fungicides, and pesticides. He also learned not only how to identify a plant by its flower but by leaves as well, due to pulling orders for shipments. Pierson’s favorite task was watering. “In their propagation greenhouse there were plants that needed daily watering and I loved taking an hour or two showering the plants in the morning. The sun would just be warming everything up and the greenhouse was always high in humidity. It felt like a tropical paradise.” During the busiest time of the season work hours were 7 am-5 pm and sometimes employees stayed till 9 pm pulling orders for the next day. Once the season died down, work hours changed to 8 am-5 pm. Pierson said the skill he learned the most was Plant Identification. “Plant I.D. is very important in this industry. If you can't I.D your plants you can't grow them properly or know what they need. It’s just as important to horticulture as knowing what the parts of the body are to a doctor. You can't heal a patient without knowing the functions of that specimen.” Perennial Favorites is a great internship and Pierson offered some advice if you are preparing for your internship, “Be willing to work hard, learn on the job, take responsibility, offer suggestions, and take advice.”
Our aim for the Department of Horticulture at Brigham Young University-Idaho is to nurture understanding of both the art and science of Horticulture. Students learn experimentally in the classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, and ten acre Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden as they pursue an Associates or Bachelors Degree. Using the medium of plants, students develop habits of hard work, enlightened minds, and healthy living that assist in gainful employment opportunitues.