The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) congratulates Leala Machesney as the 2017-2018 recipient of Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow Jr. Scholarship.
Machesney is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Maine pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Horticulture with hopes to eventually attend a graduate program in horticulture. Machesney has always been passionate about horticulture, but is specifically interested in breeding cultivars of edible perennials with ornamental appeal.
The Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow, Jr. Scholarship was created in 1988 by the Bigelow family to aid students from New England who are seeking a career in horticulture. The scholarship was dedicated initially to one of the family's children, the late Timothy Bigelow. At Palmer W. "Bill" Bigelow's death, the name of its creator was added.
The Bigelow family considers student scholarships the most important commitment the horticultural industry can make to ensure the growth and development of the nursery and landscape industry.
At her university, Machesney is involved with the student Horticulture Club, serving as vice-president. The club plans numerous activities on campus for students to enjoy and participate in. Machesney has been active as a volunteer at The Green Gem in Bangor, Maine, where she was tasked with taking flowers donated by local florists that weren’t suitable for sale and turning them into floral arrangements.
Machesney has also been recognized academically. She maintains a 3.5 GPA and was acknowledged as an exceptional grower in her greenhouse management class for which she was awarded a scholarship for having the highest quality crop. Her professor, Dr. Stephanie Burnett noted that Machesney was a key component in reinvigorating the horticulture club and providing a variety of interesting activities for its members.
Upon completion of her formal education, Machesney hopes to open a nursery with specialization in unusual edible shrubs, trees, and vines. Additionally, she has a very strong interest in conservation and has a desire to contribute to the propagation and planting of endangered species know as Prunus maritima in Maine.
Scholarship applications for the 2018-2019 Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow Jr. Scholarship, and six other HRI scholarship funds, will be accepted online through September 7, 2018 at HRI’s website.