PLANT CITY — More than a dozen students with green thumbs won ribbons at the annual youth ornamental plant show and sale at the Florida Strawberry Festival.
The winners spent months nurturing them with skills they learned through 4-H and FFA.
“This is their plant project,” said show chairman Shawn Steed, who works for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science.
Plant City High School freshman Taylor Harrell, who won grand champion, said she started growing her monstera deliciosas long before the festival started.
“I got them in July of 2013 and I’ve been growing them ever since,” the 14-year-old said.
Harrell said that she has participated in the festival plant show and sale through her Antioch Critters 4-H club for six years. She said that she looks forward to working with her plants every year in the months leading up to the event.
The rich foliage of her plants earned her this year’s top prize.
“I love going out and working on them and coming here to sell and show them,” she said.
Entries were judged on quality, beauty and uniformity.
Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, the strawberry festival and the Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Service, the event marked its 40th year promoting horticultural education among Hillsborough County students.
Besides Harrell, other plant show winners included: Kendall Gaudens, reserve champion; Chloe Wineinger, champion woody ornamentals; Morgan Gaudens, champion foliage plants; Adam Koenig, champion hanging planters; Stephanie Boehmier, champion miscellaneous; Chase Guynn, champion liners; Jennessy Trushel, champion size; Hannah Jones, champion size; Rylee Moorman, champion size; and Kendall Gaudens, Carver Wineinger, and Joy Bordner, awards of distinction.