Speakers to Share Tips at OCtech Foundation’s Home and Garden Symposium

Photo of Home and Garden Symposium invitation cover 2018Learn how to make your very own beautiful cut flower arrangements and easy charcuterie board creations during the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Foundation’s 14th annual Home and Garden Symposium on Wednesday, May 9.

Kathleen “Katie” Dickson, senior horticulturist at Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, and The Oaks’ Director of Dining Service Roy Dickson will share their expertise in floral and food presentation with the audience. Faye Gooding, CEO of Le Creuset North America, will also be on hand to talk about the iconic enameled cookware and its place in kitchens around the world.

“I am so looking forward to the opportunity to share one of my true passions in life: cut flowers,” Katie Dickson said. “At the symposium, I’ll discuss my favorite species and varieties of cut flowers – both annual and perennial – and then share tips and tricks on how to arrange and prolong the life of your blooms.”

Dickson graduated from Clemson University in 2011 with a degree in environmental horticulture. Favorite studies included arboriculture, propagation, entomology and urban landscape design. Following employment in an apple orchard, garden center and children’s garden, she landed at Moore Farms Botanical Garden. She said she is particularly fascinated by xeric plants and ephiphytes – the more bizarre, the better.

Roy Dickson, former regional sales manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines, has served as dining director for the S.S. Norway Conversion in Oslo, Norway, and a catering specialist at Reid’s. He completed a culinary course at Miami Dade Community College.

At The Oaks, Dickson is responsible for planning all menus, including special events, holiday dining, and everyday meals served to residents, guests and staff.

Dickson will demonstrate how to arrange select meat, cheese, fruit, olives and sliced French baguettes to create an exquisite charcuterie board perfect for gatherings.

“I’m making two boards. One will already be put together to show the audience the finished product, and I’ll create one on stage to show them how to build it,” he said. “Both will be given away as door prizes. It will be fun.”

Faye Gooding, chief executive officer of Le Creuset North America, began her career with the French cookware manufacturer as assistant controller and later served as president of retail USA and chief operating officer. The U.S. subsidiary of Le Creuset serves as the North American headquarters with offices in Charleston and Hampton County, where the distribution center is located.

The day will begin with flower show entry drop-off from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., followed by a silent auction and brunch catered by Buckridge Plantation from 10 to 11:45 a.m. in the atrium of OCtech’s Math and Science Center, Building R. Speakers will begin at noon in Roquemore Auditorium. Guests will have an opportunity to explore the flower show and purchase plants following the presentations.

“This year’s Home and Garden Symposium is going to be wonderful,” said Kaki Williamson, who is co-chairing the event with Lynn Garrick. “Katie will show us fresh ideas for using her favorite flowers in beautiful home arrangements, and Roy’s charcuterie board demonstration will entertain and delight the audience. I’m especially excited about Faye’s Le Creuset presentation. I’ve cooked in those pots for the 46 years I’ve been married, and everything I make in them turns out delicious.”

Melissa Plummer, OCtech’s Agriculture program coordinator and dean of Math and Sciences at the college, said her students have been prepping for the plant sale for months.

“Students gained experience in plant material preparation by starting our fern hanging baskets in February and were introduced to plant propagation,” she said. “Cuttings were rooted in trays with sphagnum peat moss that floats in our fish tanks, and we propagated succulents that will be for sale, as well. The tomato seeds we sowed will be potted soon. Our teaching garden also has several varieties of potatoes that may be ready in time for the sale.”

Money raised from the plant sale helps Agriculture students purchase textbooks for summer classes and participate in other educational opportunities, Plummer said.

“I just paid $1,000 for 10 students to go through the Clemson Extension Pesticide Applicator’s Training in order for them to get their license,” she said. “This will benefit them on the farm.”

Tickets to the Home and Garden Symposium are $45 per person. Funds raised assist in providing scholarships for deserving OCtech students and special projects at the college. This year’s signature sponsor is Super-Sod.

For more information or tickets, call the foundation office at 803-535-1246, email blanchardmr@octech.edu or click here.