From papayas to philodendrons, celery to camellias, 4-H youth participating in the N.C. State Horticulture Contest used keenly developed observational skills to identify 180 horticultural plants. Craven County’s 4-H junior horticulture team — members Nathaniel Glasgow, David Lynch, Zane Zechmen and Seth Schneider — placed first in the junior division.
The contest is composed of three different parts: Horticultural plants identification; plants quality judging; and a written exam that tests youths’ knowledge of fundamental horticultural concepts. The four youth spent the spring and summer working to properly name a plant not just on the commonly identifiable part, but also from its flower, fruit, seed or twig. They studied ideas like plant physiology, landscaping, soil management, plant nutrition and greenhouse structures to be able to correctly answer exam questions.
Last year, Nathaniel Glasgow participated in the state contest as a young plant geek and as a credit to his determination placed first as an individual in the novice division. He decided to recruit a few of his friends who had expressed an interest in learning about plants. With the mentoring from their coach Craven County Extension Director Tom Glasgow, the team adventured into gardens, markets and the woods to prepare themselves for this year’s state contest, despite sweltering summer temperatures.
The youth have the opportunity to compete at a national competition through the National Junior Horticultural Association as they progress into the senior division. They hope to continue their success next year and have already begun to make plans to renew their practice this fall.