SPARTANBURG -- As the prom draws closer, a few Spartanburg High School students are slowing down long enough to smell -- and tend to -- the flowers.

For nearly two decades, Spartanburg High students have grown flowers for the prom -- and other special occasions -- greening their thumbs and saving some green at the same time.

This year, the greenhouse is filled with about 50 ferns, 20 red geraniums and 15 potted yellow pansies. Flower colors are at the request of the prom committee to coordinate with each year's theme.

The flowers and ferns will be taken to the Spartanburg Marriott at Renaissance Park, where they will mainly be used to decorate the entrance and the DJ stage for the big event. The plants also will be used later for events such as Senior Recognition Day.

Social studies teacher Bruce Woodfin oversees the annual plant project and treats it as a lesson in economics. He recruits volunteers to tend to the plants a few days a week after school and occasionally enlists his classes to help with plant maintenance, like picking off dead leaves, watering and fertilizing.

Woodfin calls the process a working lesson on the land (the space where the greenhouse is), labor (student helpers) and capital (equipment) economic system.

That's not to mention the sense of pride he hopes students take with them to the prom.

"They'll go to the prom Saturday night and say, 'Hey, see those plants, we did that,' " Woodfin said.

Students agree.

"It's kind of fun because we get to help with the plants," senior Takerra Mills said. "We're seniors, and we're helping with our own prom."

"It'll be cool seeing the work you've actually done being used for your senior prom," senior Louis Howell said.