When Ann Leppke’s horticulture class decided to sell floral greetings for Valentine’s Day in 2015, Leppke had the perfect delivery option already in mind. With a group of rather gregarious high school boys in the class, she felt good about incorporating a technique she had observed years earlier on a college campus.
“When I was at Southwestern College in Winfield, a local flower shop had a young man dressed as Cupid delivering Valentine’s flowers on campus,” she said. “He was dressed in a one-piece red union suit with wings attached, carrying a bow and arrow and a vase of flowers. What can I say? Some things just stick with you.”
Leppke put together Cupid costumes for several of the boys in horticulture class and they made the Valentine’s Day deliveries.
This year class members are offering cut flowers for Valentine’s Day. Students in the art department have donated greeting cards to the project and a culinary class has made chocolate lips and hearts, which can be added for a nominal fee. Team Cupid will make the delivery with fun and a flourish.
Paul Baatrup and Breanna Lett were trying on Cupid costumes in class Monday afternoon. Neither were involved in the Valentine’s Day adventure last year. Baatrup thought they would have a good time.
“Yeah, I think I’ll enjoy doing it,” he said. “It should be fun.”
Leppke said, “Breanna is a performer so I know she’ll have a good time with this.”
Leppke said the Valentine project is more of a learning experience than a fundraiser.
“It is more about seeing if we can do this flower thing more than a couple of times a year. The Cupids make it memorable for our customers,” she said. “We want them to think of us when they have floral needs.”
“We cover expenses, with a little left over. Last year our deliveries were limited. We planted Gerbera daisies and red zinnias in hopes of having them ready around Valentine’s Day, but the daisies were early and zinnias were late so it wasn’t a huge success,” she said. “We just delivered them to people like Liz Harder at the central office who is a great greenhouse customer, Ann Jones at the elementary school because she works so hard for those kids, and Luba Holm, because who doesn’t love Luba?”
“We are hoping to have better luck with our timing this year,” she said. “The kids are ready and it should be fun.”
Leppke said she wished more people in Peabody and Burns knew that the greenhouse and horticulture students are on site at PBHS.
“I am always amazed at how many people don’t know we exist,” she said. “We take special orders and requests every year and yet there is a big portion of district patrons that don’t realize we are here.”
She said she is hoping to expand use of the greenhouse for project-based learning experiences for some students.
“I’d like to get a little more into the floriculture area. I have some students very interested in this,” she said. “We’d like to have plants on hand all year that would make great gifts or would fill a need for a local celebration or funeral service.
“With advance notice we can do cut flowers now. I think this has great potential and will help students with business planning, learning about customer satisfaction, advertising, and other facets of working with the public,” she said. “And without a florist in town, we can do it without stepping on anyone’s toes.”
Leppke also would like to expand the horticulture program to include planting fruit trees in the garden area at the back of the gymnasium and pecan trees in an area near the school track.
“And I would love to have a greenhouse totally dedicated to vegetables during winter months,” she said. “This year we have 18 tomato plants that are producing. Nice in January! We tried cucumbers, but they developed a fungus so they had to go. All of this is part of the learning experience for our students.”
In the meantime, Cupids will be out and about on Valentine’s Day distributing bouquets of love from the PBHS horticulture class.
For more information or to place an order, contact Leppke at PBHS (620) 983-2196.