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Delta College dedicating new Horticulture Center
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Golden poppies are now growing in Delta Colleges meadow garden. - photo by Photo Contributed

STOCKTON — Delta College celebrates its new state-of-the-art Horticulture Center with a dedication on Tuesday, April 14, at 1 p.m. 

This project was made possible with funds from Delta’s 2004 Measure L Bond. 

The Horticulture Center includes two greenhouses, a shade house, a storage building and parking for customers all in one convenient location. The Center provides students with hands-on learning experiences and a location to market plants to the public. Plants include vegetables, flowers and a variety of ornamental flora.

Mike Toscano has been teaching horticulture for 32 years, 20 at Delta College. Construction and design of the new center has been a labor of love that finally came to fruition. 

“Our new Horticulture Center gives Delta College a top notch learning environment,” Toscano said. “Our curriculum provides horticulture training for employment in nurseries, greenhouses, residential and commercial landscape, landscape architecture and more.” 

Toscano noted horticulture students may also choose to continue their education at four-year colleges, and then enter such fields as teaching and research. The program offers both a Certificate and an Associate of Science Degree.

The greenhouses include new high-tech features, such as an automatic shade puller that covers the roof to help control heat, and a mini weather station that monitors the greenhouse environment.

Vibrant demonstration gardens adjacent to the Center serve as instructional labs. Their flora is about to give the college another colorful show as they awake for spring. “With the facilities finally finished, the program can continue to develop our campus gardens, which serve as hands-on cultivation labs,” says Toscano. Upgrades will include a succulent section, newer types of garden plants and walkways. Toscano adds, “The public is welcome to visit Delta’s Demonstration and Meadow Gardens to enjoy our students’ work.”

Toscano points out that California’s drought conditions will mean additional emphasis on resourceful use of water, including appropriate vegetation choices. 

“We have always trained our students in efficient water use techniques and technologies. Next year, a section of our garden will be developed exclusively for low water landscaping.” 

Toscano invites the public to Horticulture Program plant sales every Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through May.