Sequim High students proudly display their flower baskets that hit city streets on June 1. Pictured, from left, are city flower basket program coordinator Emily Westcott, Susannah Sharp, Emma Sharp, Roslyn Guile, SHS agriculture teacher Bill McFarlen, Jayden Aiken, Guillermo Aguilar and Weston Opdyke. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim High students proudly display their flower baskets that hit city streets on June 1. Pictured, from left, are city flower basket program coordinator Emily Westcott, Susannah Sharp, Emma Sharp, Roslyn Guile, SHS agriculture teacher Bill McFarlen, Jayden Aiken, Guillermo Aguilar and Weston Opdyke. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim springs to life by the basket

Another dazzling display of local flora — courtesy of Sequim High School students and community volunteers — is nearly ready to once again line city streets.

The annual flower basket program, a partnership between the school and City of Sequim, will see about 135 hanging flower baskets and 10 ground baskets loaded with flowers of varying colors decorate the streets in early June.

SHS agriculture science teacher Bill McFarlen said this year’s flower baskets will have more variety of colors than in previous years.

“We wanted to change it up (this year),” he said last week.

Organizers started the Sequim High flower basket program in 1996 to support the FFA with about 50 baskets. The fundraiser normally brings in about $12,000-$14,000, and last year’s program set a record with $15,000, said Emily Westcott, coordinator for the flower basket program.

She is seeking sponsorships for the flower baskets at $100 per basket — or $50 split between sponsors — by calling her at 360-670-6294. She said people can sponsor a basket on behalf of a business and/or split the cost with a friend.

“Let’s beat that (record) this year,” she said.

Each school year, as many as 300 students participate in agriculture, horticulture and FFA classes in the greenhouse and classroom space, teachers said. Last year’s program was interrupted by the COVID-19 shutdown and teachers and school staff helped complete the baskets.

“This year, the students are back in school and they made all the flower baskets; they are great!” Westcott said.

The school district receives half of the funds and uses it as seed money for the school’s plant sale that brings in about $28,000, McFarlen said.

The other half helps Westcott pay for lights and supplies for Christmas lights in downtown Sequim.

The flower baskets will go up through mid-October along Washington Street, and city crews will drive through every-other-day to water the baskets in the early morning. Wescott said the 130-plus baskets will be placed out Tuesday, June 1, by City of Sequim staff.

Those who participated in the program by sponsoring a flower basket will be contacted by Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce representatives this year as well, Westcott said.

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