The Horticulture Department at BYU-Idaho is busy with projects and shops on campus for the public to enjoy. 

Purple poster of the Bloom Room and another sign with the hours of operation

One of these shops is the Bloom Room, which has a wide assortment of stemmed flowers for purchase. The shop is run by students in the Flower Center class. 

Before the pandemic, the students did floral arrangements for banquets on campus. Some of these banquets included alumni banquets, the Snow Society, retirement banquets, and devotionals, which Floral Design majors still put together. 

After a devotional, if the flowers are still in good condition, they’ll either be given to BYU-Idaho President, Henry J. Eyring, for his office, or they’ll have giveaways. On Fridays, they bring out a flower bus, which they park on campus in the Taylor Quad for the giveaways. 

“We’ve lived in a great little area of campus that always smells good and the gardens are close by. It’s just a nice resource for students to be able to just grab something really quick if they want or just enjoy a little bit of the beauty that God has created,” said Tricia Johnson, the instructor of Floral Design and the Flower Center class. 

You can check out the Bloom Room in the Ezra Taft Benson Building room 144. To stay in the loop on the flower bus, follow @byuibloomroom on Instagram.  

BYU-Idaho also has a plant shop, where you can fill up on house plants to your heart’s content. There are succulents, herbs and more. 

A chalkboard that says Life is Short, buy the Plants with pots and plants on the counter The Plant Shop is also run by students and they have a self-checkout service with a QR code so you don’t have to deal with lines. 

Mitzi Pruitt, the office assistant for the Applied Plant Science Department, recommends people come enjoy the atmosphere in the Plant Shop. 

“It’s just so fun just to come up and walk around and just to see that we actually have these little shops on campus, which is really cool,” Pruitt said. 

You can follow the Plant Shop on Instagram at  @byuiplantshop

We can also thank the Horticulture Department for the Thomas E. Ricks Gardens. The gardens were originally started in the 1970’s for plant research. Plant breeders need to see how plants survive in different climates, so they send plants to different parts of the country to be tested. With our low winter temperatures and high summer temperatures, Rexburg is a great place for this kind of testing. 

“If you were here in the late 70s and early 80s, you would’ve walked out to the gardens and you would’ve seen rows, like research plots and rows of flowers and plants. Over time as faculty have retired and new faculty have come on, they have transitioned to not as much research and more ornamental, design, spatial composition and the gardens that we see out there today,” said Skyler Westergard, a faculty member of the Applied Plant Science Department.

Westergard has done a lot for the Ricks Gardens, and their latest project is the Japanese Garden called Satori No Roji, which means “Path of Enlightenment.” 

A sign on a rock that says Satori No Roji with Japanese and characters and says Path of Enlightenment

Westergard worked with students to decide the name of the garden, and then students did research on the name, and met with Japanese members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make sure they got the translation right. 

The Japanese Garden will include a tea house, which is still under construction. Students helped

Student's drawing of a tea house with the design with some guidance from Westergard. 

“I solicited ideas in the form of drawings or perspective drawings and sketches from students. Like here are some parameters, give me some ideas,” Westergard said. 

Although students are heavily involved with the gardens now, in Spring Semester of 2020, the classes that worked on the gardens took a hiatus due to COVID-19. That said, the gardens still provided a place of peace where people could be outside. 

“Just to be outside with fresh air with you know with the country shutting down and stuff a year ago, it’s really hard mentally and the mental health of a lot of people are affected by COVID. So the gardens then became an escape when we could get out there to release from that,” Westergard said. 

Visit to learn more about the projects and resources of the Horticulture Department.