Student discovers budding talent through horticulture program

Lucy Raleigh

Most art forms live on to last lifetimes; paintings, sculptures, even films stand the tests of time and are still viewed and appreciated years after their creation. One art form that differs from this common characteristic is the art of horticulture, otherwise known as floral design. Although floral arrangements will one day wilt and lose their beauty, designers are no less passionate about their work and still strive to create art through flowers and other plants. Senior Christina Vinson discovered this art form and has prospered in it under the direction of floral design teacher Barbara Volk-Tunnel.

“I took [floral design] for an art class because I needed it to graduate,” Christina said. “I ended up falling in love and seeing a talent that I didn’t even know I had. I ended up participating in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo because Mrs. Volk-Tunnel saw talent in me as well.”

Christina’s new found talent has also been recognized by her teachers, enabling her to compete with her floral designs.

“It was exciting to see Christina compete in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” Volk-Tunnel said. “You can tell that some of your students just have a natural knack for things like floral design, and Christina’s a creative young lady so I was excited when she said she wanted to compete in the show.”

Competing with her new found talent proved successful for Christina and has also brought her happiness through the acquisition of a new skill.

“Winning was amazing,” Christina said. “I was so surprised that I gasped and grabbed the knee of my friend next to me, not believing that they said my name for first place. My face was full of tears because it was such a happy moment for me.”

Christina gained not only a first place win with her arrangement, but valuable time with her friends and family members both in the arrangement process and the competition.

“My favorite part about competing was the time I got to spend with my dad building my star container,” Christina said. “Getting to arrange something so beautiful and getting to spend the day with my friends was great.”

Using only natural flowers, Christina was able to showcase her talent by using flowers she knew she could work with and that would look beautiful together.

“You have to use real flowers,” Christina said.  “A lot of people were disqualified because of the fake and dyed flowers. We had to use real and natural colored flowers, so I had the natural colored roses, delphinium, sunflowers, and Baby’s Breath.”

Floral design isn’t just throwing pretty flowers into a pot and hoping for the best, it requires skillful thinking, strategy, and method.

“I just thought about the flowers I wanted and the spots I wanted them in,” Christina said. “I wanted my delphiniums to be in the middle because they’re the tallest, and then my sunflowers kind of circling around them, and then I had Baby’s Breath flowing towards the triangles of my container to go with the roses.”

To set herself apart from the other contestants, Christina built her own container to be unique and different from other store-bought containers.

“It was a little difficult to build the container because I didn’t know much about building with wood,” Christina said. “I had to have my dad help me because I didn’t know how to build it, but it was fun working with my dad.”

Many students join extracurricular activities in school to reap whatever benefits they may provide, but some students participate in these activities to learn valuable skills while being creative and having fun.

“These classes and competitions have reinforced how to get along with a group and work together and encourage teammates,” Volk-Tunnel said. “Christina had another teammate that was in the same competition so they encouraged each other and were very supportive and happy for each other when the other person won. Students learn to be good winners and good losers through these types of programs though Christina already exhibits a lot of those kinds of natural abilities.”

Christina is happy to have gained skills within horticulture as she looks to continue refining them in the future.

“I’m hoping to possibly open a shop one day with flowers,” Christina said. “Though it is not really my main goal, being able to work with flowers is kind of awesome.”