Kelly Yacobucci ’06August 2, 2016
Alumna to Speak About ‘Connecticut’s Changing Landscape’August 24, 2016
Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Sammons
Horticulture B.T., Class of ‘12
Where You'll Find Her Now
I earned a Bachelor’s of Technology in Horticulture at SUNY Cobleskill. I also earned my certificate in Floral Design while attending.
I currently own my own flower farm business called Jayflora. We specialize in growing cut flowers for weddings and other events. We also offer a CSA. Being the owner of a business requires a lot of responsibilities. Right now I am in charge of maintaining the farm, planting, harvesting, designing, installations, sales, social media, advertising, public relations… and the list goes on and on.
“I am just so grateful for this journey I am on; my path stems from my time at SUNY Cobleskill."
A Blossoming Florist
The Horticulture program taught me a lot about the growing aspects of my business. Plant propagation, herbaceous plants, floral design are some of the classes that I took that have invaluable information. I also interned at a nursery and cut flower farm and that's what really got me headed in the direction I am now.
I learned a lot of my design skills by taking the floral design courses. I received a certificate in floral design after completion. A lot of my clients like to see the formal certificate hanging on the wall of my business.
Herbaceous plant material was another amazing class. When I place my plant orders in the winter everything is labeled by scientific names. Without herbaceous plants teaching me all of the scientific and common names of the plants, I would be so lost when it came to ordering. Now scientific plant names are like a second language to me.
The professors encouraged me and helped me find the perfect internship. I knew I wanted to grow and I loved the aspect of designing, so becoming a flower farm just seemed to be the perfect fit.
In school I searched for an internship that would be the right fit for me. I knew I loved growing, but I really loved designing flower arrangements as well. I looked into florist internships, but just designing didn't seem exciting enough; I needed something more, something different.
My first day in floral design class the teacher brought us out to the gardens in the back of the college. She allowed us to cut anything out of the garden to use in our designs. That whole concept blew my mind! I felt like I walked around that garden for hours, cutting anything that intrigued me. To this day that first arrangement I made is still one of my favorites, and I now grow a lot of the same stuff I chose to put in that arrangement.
That's when I knew I wanted to base my internship around cut flower growing and designing. I knew that that's what I wanted to do for a career. I was confident that I wanted to start my own farming business one day.
I was also so lucky to be able to travel with SUNY Cobleskill to Holland and Germany for a study abroad program. The whole trip was structured around horticulture and I got to experience the floral trade first hand. It included going to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, one of the largest floral markets in the world! Not too many florists can say that they've actually seen it in person.
A recent achievement I have had was winning a scholarship to Floret's Flower Farm's Floral Intensive Class. Erin Benzakein is also a flower farmer—or should I say "farmer-florist"— who owns Floret Flower Farm in Washington State. She has been my idol for some time now and I have been dying to meet her and see her farm. She offers a scholarship each year to attend her floral design three day intensive class. This year I was selected to attend! How lucky is that!? I am just so grateful for this journey I am on; my path stems from my time at SUNY Cobleskill.
Students, Take Note
It's so funny where life will take you. Never did I think I'd be where I am today when I first attended school. When I first started school, I knew a couple things; I knew I wanted a Bachelor's degree, I knew I liked to grow things (I had been working at a greenhouse at the time), and I knew I liked meeting new people. What I didn't know was that it would lead me to this wonderful life I have now.