Crafting New Careers with NYBG Summer Intensives
“You can turn your life around very quickly, which is exactly what I wanted to do.” Amy Roberts laughed as she described how NYBG’s Floral Design Summer Intensive reshaped her career in 2017. “I used to work in the art world, and I wasn’t happy. I had an epiphany that I wanted to be a floral designer, and I wanted to do that as quickly as possible. In April, I had never taken a floral course. By the end of the year, I was working as a full-fledged designer and wedding consultant for Starbright Floral Designs! Where else can you do that?”
Roberts is one of many students who changed their life’s course by taking one of NYBG’s Summer Intensives—in Floral Design, Landscape Design, Gardening, Horticultural Therapy, or Botanical Art & Illustration. Each Program gives students the opportunity to accelerate their progress toward an NYBG Certificate, a well-known and respected credential that helps students stand out as they embark on new careers.
NYBG’s Summer Intensive Programs are immersive experiences that equip students with practical skills they need to succeed. Over the course of the five-week Floral Intensive, students create 40 arrangements in diverse styles, from ikebana to grand-scale arrangements for special events. Roberts emphasized that the botanical knowledge and industry know-how she gained at NYBG help distinguish her from her peers. “Classes such as Flowers A to Z taught me the names and needs of a huge variety of flowers, while Shopping the Market meant that I started my new job knowing not only where to go for which flowers, but also whom to talk to for the best service.”
Similar to Roberts, Jamie Miller took a Summer Intensive in Landscape Design because she wanted to change her life’s direction. She was a stay-at-home mom and former assistant director in the film industry who wanted to take the fast track to a new profession. She is now the proud owner of J Miller Design Associates with her first official client. “I’m currently designing two different areas on a large property, including a small Japanese garden. It’s very exciting!”
The Landscape Design Intensive is an immersive five-week experience in which students learn history, drafting, plant identification, and design. “The growth that I see over the course of a few weeks is astounding. Students arrive, often not knowing how to draw, knowing little about the design process or landscape design history, and leave the Intensive bursting with skills and knowledge,” said instructor Nancy Gerlach-Spriggs.
Miller is also quick to mention the caliber of the instructors, all experienced professionals with impressive credentials. She singled out Bill Einhorn, NYBG’s beloved graphics teacher. “Bill is extraordinary. He really cares about his students, and is always available for our questions. He helped me realize that the more precise you are when drawing your plans, the better you will be able to execute them. Every corner has to be perfect!”
Both Miller and Roberts spoke of how they bonded with fellow students. Miller said she is grateful to her classmates, who are all open to sharing ideas, concepts, concerns, and issues about their fledgling landscape design businesses, something they continue to do on weekly phone calls. Roberts echoes the importance of this camaraderie: “Five of us have a text thread constantly going in which we discuss our business challenges and successes. We’re all burgeoning florists who are very supportive of each other. We’ve made important contacts for life!”