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Poinsettia project
Portal ag students grow 200 each year
W Horticulture 2
Poinsettias are shown growing inside Portal High School's greenhouse. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special

To order a Portal poinsettia:

Call Dr. Thomas Marshall at (912) 865-2150 or email him at tmarshall@bulloch.k12.ga.us.

       A tradition each year, agriculture students a Portal High School grow some 200 poinsettias for sale during the holiday season.
      Students planted the 2010 crop in their classroom in August and they will be for sale to the public beginning Monday for $8 per plant. Proceeds made from the sale of the poinsettias goes back into Portal's horticulture program to support continuing education, said Dr. Thomas Marshall, agricultural education teacher.
      They start with "rooted cuttings" which they placed in 6" pots lined with gold foil sleeves.
Marshall said a number of Portal churches have reserved some plants, and the rest "will go fast so orders should be placed right away." Call Marshall at (912) 865-2150 or email him at tmarshall@bulloch.k12.ga.us.
      Marshall teaches a series of three horticultural classes, beginning with the basic agriculture class. The second is a general horticulture class, which includes students that grow and care for the poinsettias. His third class, and, he said, the most intense, is landscape management.
      Poinsettias are an American holiday favorite. They were brought to the United States in 1825 by Joel Robert Poinsett, the American ambassador to Mexico, who discovered them growing wild in Taxco, Mexico and brought some home for his family's enjoyment.
       "Growing poinsettias like this allows students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom, including plant parts and functions, plant growth and development, pest management and control, and even marketing them once they're ready for sale," Marshall said.
      Marshall said part of the "growing experience" is a field trip for his general horticulture class of students to J&J Greenhouses in Claxton. Each year, J&J grows more than 20,000 poinsettias, which come in 20 different color arrangements and in some 60 different varieties.
      As such a large producer of all kinds of plants, Marshall said, J&J is the "perfect place for his students to see just what the nursery trade has to offer them once they graduate from high school."

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