Plant and flower sales raise money for Schuyler organizations

May 8, 2019

Two Schuyler-area groups recently hosted a few events with the goal of generating some valuable dollars that will be put toward future projects.

The Schuyler Historical Society held the first of three garage sales on Friday, May 3, to raise funds for the society’s operations. Also on that Friday, Schuyler Central High School held a plant sale in its greenhouse to support agricultural education and the greenhouse’s overall future.

The garage sales are being held in the former garage of the Schuyler Sun, the back of a building that was bought out by the historical society in 2017. The sales will continue from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. the next two Fridays (May 10 and May 17) in the old garage.

Society treasurer Betty Brichacek said that after a successful first year with the flower fundraiser last year, she and her colleagues wanted to continue the momentum.

“Last year was the first year that we did (the flower fundraiser),” Brichacek said. “It was successful, so we decided to go ahead and take care of it (again),”

Planning for the event typically takes place after Memorial Day when Schuyler Cemetery removes flowers as part of its grounds maintenance. The historical society picks up the flowers and sells them for half price at the three garage sales the following year.

“They’re very nice flowers,” Brichacek said. “We save them (Schuyler Cemetery) at least $500, plus we are able to make money, so it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Without the flower sale, Brichacek said that the cemetery would likely dispose of the flowers.

“They would have had to rent the big dumpsters and hire extra people to take the flowers down,” Brichacek said.

Brichacek said the society uses fundraisers like the flower sale to maintain buildings like the old Schuyler Sun building.

“Being a nonprofit organization, we are not subsidized by anybody,” Brichacek said. “So, we work really hard at various fundraisers in order to do repairs (and) do some improvement. It’s a good thing (for us).”

At Schuyler Central High School, faculty and students sold plants on Friday and Saturday in the school’s greenhouse. The greenhouse is designed for hands-on work by students in horticulture and floriculture classes at the high school.

Among the plants on sale were annuals, like petunias and geraniums, hanging baskets, vegetables, tropicals, foliage and succulents. Erin Trotter, manager of the SCHS greenhouse, said that almost all of the planting was completed by students taking horticulture classes.

“They’ve had a hand in pretty much all of it,” Trotter said. “A lot of the annuals, the floriculture class did a lot of the planting (and) they’ve helped with the transplanting and the trimming. I did a lot with the peppers because it’s a very specific process with planting those seeds and getting those going. But they’ve had to help with a lot of it.”

Students at SCHS helped with the sale, including Natasha Macholan, a member of the school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter. She likes working in the greenhouse - it gives her some time off during the school day when she needs it most.

“I have a love for plants and I love being around the greenhouse,” Macholan said. “It’s a way for me to take a break during school if I have to come out and water during my ag class or horticulture (class). It’s a way for me to be outside and be around the plants.”

Macholan typically buys from the sale - usually petunias, a favorite of her grandmother. Natasha’s favorites are bright, beautiful flowers bursting with color. However, she also enjoys grasses and turf, as well.

“I usually have to limit my budget because of how much I would like to buy,” Macholan said.

Both sales are hoping to continue moving forward. Brichacek said that the society is always hoping for money to repair expected building damage.

“There’s always a spot for money,” Brichacek said.

Trotter said she hopes that the money raised from the sale goes to the purchase of plant seeds and potting soil for next year’s classes, as well as supporting other projects in agricultural education.

“All of the proceeds go towards the greenhouse,” Trotter said. “We do other projects with the classes, so we can use the proceeds to purchase tools for the kids to use in the classroom, like pruners, gloves and things like that.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at zach.roth@lee.net