Dad’s touching gesture cultivates NJ FFA student’s talent


For as long as New Jersey FFA member Julie Piancone can remember, every Tuesday her dad would come home showering both Piancone and her mom with the most beautiful flower arrangements.

“I would find myself mesmerized and studying each individual flower for hours at a time,” Piancone said. “Flowers have always been sentimental to me.”

What started as a touching gesture from her father has flourished into a talent for the President of the Monmouth County FFA Chapter.

Piancone took first place individual in the 2017 state FFA Floral Design competition at the 40th annual New Jersey FFA Horticultural Exposition. The Wall Township High School senior also captured Best of Division in Horticulture with her Magical Miniature Garden and was on the first place Monmouth County FFA Floral Design Career Development Event team.

“I’ve been a member of the FFA since my sophomore year and ever since my first day I immediately realized that this was my passion,” Piancone said. “I have always been fascinated with plants and flowers, but it wasn’t until I began working with them that my true creativity flourished.”

Julie Piancone, first place individual in the 2017 NJ FFA Floral Design

Piancone spent hours upon hours watching YouTube videos and scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration and tips. However, the young florist said she would have never received the award without the full support and guidance of her class and teachers.

“They educated me as well as inspired me,” Piancone said. “If it wasn’t for them, I would still be the shy girl in the back of the class clapping for the people who got the awards.”

Piancone said she encourage other FFA members to enter a floral design competition, but has a few tips for budding horticulturists:

  • Try to use colors and textures that complement each other best.
  • Balancing the size and shapes of individual flowers is key to creating a full and eye catching arrangement.
  • Have confidence in your skill and abilities, yet be open to criticism and suggestions.

Piancone said these tips are what helped her create her award- winning Magical Miniature Garden. It also helped that it’s one of Piancone’s favorite things to design.

Piancone also captured Best of Division in Horticulture with her Magical Miniature Garden.

The FFA florist said she can’t stress enough to not be afraid to think outside the box and let creativity take control.  “Of course, knowing a thing or two about plants doesn’t hurt either,” Piancone said.

“Thanks to FFA that gave me, not only the resources to explain my interest, but also the confidence to go after my dreams,” Piancone said. “To me it’s not just about plants and flowers, it’s about life and living.”

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