Saddleback College Horticulture Partners with Casa Romantica

This academic year Saddleback College’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Design and Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens will initiate a unique partnership through Saddleback’s Cooperative Work Experience (CWE) program. The partnership will give students the opportunity to gain real-world work experience for program credit in a unique public garden setting.

Casa Romantica will benefit from the enthusiasm, knowledge, and abilities of students in the college’s horticulture and landscape design program  each semester as they assist in the development of the extensive gardens surrounding this historic estate.

The effort was spearheaded by Jodie Cook, Casa Romantica Director of Gardens, and Ken Lee, Saddleback Horticulture and Landscape Design faculty.  Beginning August 19th the new student interns will be working on all aspects of garden development including interpretive signage, planting and container design, grounds improvement, expanding the library of docent reference materials, and various special projects planned for the gardens.  There will also be an opportunity for the students to assist in the slate of garden programming planned for the upcoming year.

“I feel the alliance with Casa Romantica is a wonderful opportunity to extend our students’ learning environment into a working public garden”, said Professor Lee.

The Casa’s stunningly situated 2.5 acre site features a native California garden, two succulent and cactus gardens, as well as butterfly and pollinator gardens.  It also contains a number of plant species unique to the Southern California coast.

The horticulture and landscape design program at Saddleback College was established in 1975 and offers the following courses:  Introduction to Landscape Design; Plant Materials – Trees and Shrubs, Introduction to Horticultural Science, Landscape Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Introduction to Planting Design, Soils and Fertilizers, History of Landscape Design, Hardscape and Construction Materials, Ornamental Native Plants, Professional Practices of Residential Landscape Design, and Advanced Irrigation Design.  Occupational Skills Awards are offered in general horticulture and plant identification.

Both Casa Romantica and Saddleback College are enthusiastic in anticipating the success of this program and believe the benefits will be rewarding for both the Casa’s award-winning gardens and Saddleback’s horticulture and landscape design students.