PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For some students at Battle Ground High School, stopping to smell the flowers (and assemble them into bouquets) is a required assignment.
Horticulture science teacher Carissa Folgner teaches a class at the school on floral arrangements. Students who take the class do more than stick stems into pretty bunches. Folgner told KOIN 6 News the students have to learn the rules before they start jamming stems into vases — and to learn those rules, they have to understand the history.
Humans have been arranging flowers and plant materials for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians did it — as we can assume from the pictures of bouquets they left behind on walls and inside of tombs.
The Greeks and Romans also had a passion for floral design, as did the people of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Floral design was finessed over millennia until it finally bloomed during the Victorian Era and turned into a legitimate activity, complete with official rules.
Folger teaches the standards that are still in place today to Battle Ground students because she believes they can be turned into marketable skills, especially for students who may not want to take traditional routes after graduating.
“They don’t necessarily want to go into the college realm — they’re learning customer service,” Folger said. “The things they’re learning they could walk in with their final portfolio for Floral 2 and get a job in a floral shop.”
While the class can help students after high school, it also has immediate rewards.
Those who take the Floral 2 program can work in the school’s floral store, where bouquets can be ordered by students and sent to other people at the school.
All of the flowers used in the program come from the Portland Flower Market. The membership-only market features dozens of vendors who sell wholesale flowers, plants and supplies to floral customers who sell retail to the general public.