PLANET was a Blast!

PLANET Student Career DaysThis past weekend, NC State University hosted PLANET’s 39th Annual Student Career Days (SCD). It’s a big gathering of horticulture students from across the country. They compete in events, network with potential employers, and generally have a fantastic time.

Hoffman Nursery was proud to be a part of SCD. We sponsored and organized the Annual & Perennial Identification event, which took place on Saturday morning. Members of the Hoffman Nursery team were on hand to help with that event and to volunteer for other duties. Many of us were able to attend some of the other events as well.

This is a meaningful event for our nursery. Connecting with these students and hearing their stories, their enthusiasm and interest is apparent. We want to make sure they feel supported, encouraged, and welcomed into our industry. That’s why being here is important.

We had a blast at SCD, and we wanted to share it with you!

Annual & Perennial Identification event
The Annual and Perennial Identification event tested students on 50 different plants. Hoffman Nursery was the lead sponsor, with assistance from Brickman and Stihl, Inc.
Annual and Perennial Identification
The students were given a master list of plants ahead of time, which included the proper botanical name and acceptable common names. There was some serious concentration going on during the event.
Every student at the idetnification event recieved an HNI glass
Once students finished the event, they turned in their tests and received a Hoffman Nursery glass and an internship application.
Grading the ID exams
As students handed in their tests, our grading team got to work. Each test was hand-graded according to a set of rules established by PLANET. Then another group tallied the score for each test. Maggie Griffith, Jessica Smith, Shannon Currey, and Magan Agee did the initial grading.
Tallying the scores
Once the tests were graded, scorers went through and tallied the points. Dr. John Dole, chair of NC State’s Department of Horticulture, not only served as scorer, he also provided the annuals for the competition.
John and Jill Hoffman
John and Jill Hoffman put in many hours organizing the event and preparing. Here they are at the end of the event, filling out the offical scoring sheets and wrapping up. They love being a part of SCD.
Irrigation competition
The weather was a mixed bag during SCD. Saturday morning and early afternoon were pretty rainy. Good thing the irrigation competition is used to getting wet.
Muddy times at the Landscape Installation event.
The Landscape Installation event is always a big draw. Teams are given a landscape plan, plants, and materials. They must install the landscape according to the plan within the time allotted. The rainy weather made this year’s competition a bit of a mud bath.
The students were great sports and plowed ahead even in the deepest mud. Three cheers for the effort! And yes, many chose to be hosed down before going back to their hotels.
Students from Virginia Tech
Hoffman Nursery invited student groups attending SCD to visit the nursery. Several came out for a tour. Virginia Tech brought a great group the day before events started. Thanks for visiting us!
Students from University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln came out to the nursery and got the grand tour, too. They came a long way, and we were happy to welcome them to North Carolina. Thanks for coming!
Dr. Jared Barnes, a graduate of NC State’s program in Horticulture, is on faculty at Stephen F. Austin State in Texas. He’s been a good friend, and we enjoyed seeing him again. He brought two students to SCD and took time to visit us at the nursery. Thanks for stopping by!

Student Career Days was a wonderful experience, and we couldn’t have done our part without lots of help. Thanks to Plantworks Nursery for providing the perennials and to NC State and Dr. John Dole for providing the annuals. And a big thanks to the Hoffman Nursery team for their efforts as well.

A few weeks before the event, PLANET announced it’s new name and brand. It will now go by National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). At next year’s event, Student Career Days will become National Collegiate Landscape Competition. By any name, it’s a rewarding and worthwhile event. We’re already looking foward to next year when Mississippi State will host. See you there!

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