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A & E

3 plant sales in New Lenox area benefit people with disabilities

Horticulture programs for people with disabilities offer many advantages

NEW LENOX – Gardeners, beginning and experienced, purchase plants and help people with disabilities.

Trinity Services’ horticulture program’s spring sale opens May 5. In addition, the Lincoln-Way Transition Program will host its flower and vegetable sale on May 6 and May 13.

A spring plant sale May 6, May 13 and May 20 will benefit the House of Blooms program at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort.

The Trinity program benefits people of all ages with developmental disabilities and mental illness whom Trinity serves.

Proceeds from the flower and vegetable sale benefit the needs of students in the district’s transition program, while proceeds from the spring plant sale benefit Lincoln-Way East students in the House of Blooms program, which is run through special services, said Taryn Atwell, community relations director at Lincoln-Way District 210.

Norma Akdemir, associate director of the Trinity adult learning day program, said Trinity’s horticulture program began in the 1990s and hosts four sales each year. These include, in addition to the spring sale, sales at Christmas (featuring poinsettias and little trees), Easter (featuring lilies) and fall (featuring chrysanthemums, pumpkins and floral decor).

Of the 60 people in the day program, about 13 participate in the horticulture program, Akdemir said. Pam Van Hess, also an associate director of the day program, said the horticulture program is designed to accommodate any person with any disability.

For instance, raised beds make gardening easier for people in wheelchairs.

“They can roll up to water plants, plant a plant and help with weeding,” Van Hess said.

Akdemir said the resulting quality surpasses any of the plants found in “chain or big box stores” and that everyone takes pride in the entire process.

“The greenhouse is heated so they can work there year-round,” Akdemir said. “Sometimes they might even separate seeds. That’s a little project, but it helps them to know what they are growing.”

Mary T. Harrison, director of special services at Lincoln-Way School District 210, said this is the second year the district has offered horticulture through the transition program, which is used as a vocational tool to teach students skills.

Of the 55 students in the transition program, 20 are involved in the greenhouse project. It’s very hands-on for the students, from the initial planting to working the sale, Harrison said.

In addition to gaining horticulture skills, the students also learn to follow direction and work as a team, Harrison said.

“Working on something from start to finish gives them a sense of accomplishment,” Harrison said.

House of Blooms offers similar benefits, Atwell said.

Like Trinity, the students at Lincoln-Way turn out quality products. Harrison mentioned the poinsettias leftover from the Christmas sale as an example.

“They still have leaves on them,” Harrison said. “That’s pretty good for poinsettias.”



WHAT: Trinity Services’ horticulture program’s spring sale

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday or by appointment at 815-485-8146.

WHERE: Trinity Services’ horticulture program greenhouse, 100 N. Gougar Road, Joliet.

ETC: Flowers are available in cells for $2 each or flats for $14 each. Baskets range from $14 to $17, and planters range from $18 to $26. All herbs are on sale for $3. Grasses range from $4 to $7.50. Individual plants are either $3 or $4 each.

PROCEEDS: Benefit the men, women and children with developmental disabilities and mental illness who Trinity supports.

INFO: Call 815-485-8146 or visit



WHAT: Lincoln-Way Transition Program flower and vegetable sale

WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon May 6 and May 13

WHERE: Lincoln-Way Central High School greenhouse, 1801 E. Lincoln Hwy., New Lenox.

ETC: Petunias, begonias, zinnias, salvia, marigolds, impatiens, celosia and alyssum are $2 per six-pack or $12 per flat. Geraniums are $3 per six-pack or $18 per flat. Coleus, vegetables, spices and herbs are $2 per potted plant. Wandering Jew, Swedish ivy, spider plants and citronella are $5 per potted plant.

PROCEEDS: Will be reinvested into the transition program.

INFO: Email


WHAT: Spring plant sale

WHEN: 8 a.m. to noon May 6, May 13 and May 20.

WHERE: Lincoln-Way East High School greenhouse, 201 Colorado Ave., Frankfort

ETC: Flowers for sale: zinnias, petunias, wave petunias, marigolds, celosia, coleus, snapdragons, salvia, spiderwort, geraniums, impatiens and begonias. Vegetables: grape tomatoes, bush early girl tomatoes, garden salsa peppers, big bertha peppers and golden bell peppers.

PROCEEDS: Will be reinvested into the House of Blooms program.


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