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Fallbrook FFA wins Outstanding Student Landscape Garden trophy at fair

The San Diego County Fair display created by Fallbrook High School's Future Farmers of America horticultural students received the Outstanding Student Landscape Garden trophy cup presented to the best landscape exhibit by a student or youth group.

The judges awarded the "Wanted: Home on the Range" display 97 out of a possible 100 points given for educational value, practicality of design, use of new or repurposed landscape materials, quality and quantity of plant material, and visual appeal. The Fallbrook FFA project received 20 out of 20 possible points in the educational value, use of new or repurposed materials, and visual appeal categories.

"The kids did really exceptionally well. They did a good job planning and putting it all together," said Fallbrook FFA advisor Scott Duffin. "I was very happy with it."

This year's San Diego County Fair theme is "Where the West Is Fun" and features a Western theme. The "Wanted: Home on the Range" display has a cardboard cutout saguaro cactus which is planted with hens and chicks succulents and sorghum moss.

Purple fountain grass symbolizes "purple mountain majesties" which is part of the song America the Beautiful inspired by author Katherine Lee Bates' visit to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. The display also includes re-creations of horseshoes, wheelbarrows, and milk wagons.

The students utilized pancake cactus, aeonium black rose, sticks on fire, crown of thorns, pencil milk bush, blue arrow grass, giant red aeonium, two species of hens and chicks, wax agave, Von Nurnberg, morning beauty, donkey's tail, purple mountain grass, Texas Ranger, purple trailing lantana, and Spanish lavender plants.

Duffin taught three horticulture classes during 2016-17: floral design, environmental horticulture, and horticulture judging. Approximately 80 students from his three classes participated in the work for the display although approximately 10 students were responsible for most of the work.

"I'm excited this year," Duffin said.

"It's fantastic," Duffin said. "It's a very pleasant way to go into retirement."

Duffin will retire after he and his students remove the display from the fairgrounds. He taught at Fallbrook High School for 17 years and was a teacher for a total of 32 years.

Duffin graduated from Fallbrook High School in 1974, and his two children are also Fallbrook High School graduates. He taught in Mariposa before a Poway High School position became open. He then obtained a teaching position at Escondido High School before becoming a member of the Fallbrook High School faculty.

"I'm honored and I'm very happy that I was able to come back to Fallbrook and teach," Duffin said.

Megan Alvarez will replace Duffin as the FFA horticulture teacher. "I think she'll be very successful, too," Duffin said.


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