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Pretty in Poinsettia

The Thompson School of Applied Science hosted its eleventh annual Poinsettia Open House this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The free event, located at the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses at 13 Botanical Way, showcased many different varieties of student-grown poinsettias.

The poinsettias, all grown by the horticulture technology students and faculty, consisted of colors that stemmed far beyond the traditional red; various shades of pink, yellow, orange and green could also be spotted throughout the two rooms. Winter Rose Red, Gold Rush and Princettia Hot Pink are just a few of the 59 varieties that were available for purchase this year. Selling at $12 per plant, all of the proceeds from this event are set to directly benefit the greenhouses.

“Every penny goes to this facility,” Horticultural Facilities Manager Jonathan Ebba said. “The aquaponics, irrigation systems– everything here comes directly from the sales.”

Brendon Burns/Staff Sold for $12 a plant, poinsettias filled the UNH greenhouse during the Thompson School’s annual open house.
Brendon Burns/Staff
Sold for $12 a plant, poinsettias filled the UNH greenhouse during the Thompson School’s annual open house.

Ebba briefly explained how the poinsettias are grown. After the plant cuttings are made in July, they are then tended to and cared for over the next five months by the horticulture technology students and faculty before they’re displayed at this event.

Other plants were also available for purchase during the open house, including orchids, cyclamen, English ivy and various house and air plants. Like the poinsettias, these plants were grown by horticulture technology students and faculty, and benefit the greenhouse through their proceeds.

For 10 years, the open house was put on as a part of the collaboration between the Thompson School of Applied Science and the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES). The purpose of the collaboration was to research how poinsettias behave at the facility’s specific latitude.img_0701-copySCAN-TV

This year, however, is the first year that NHAES will no longer be participating in the collaborative effort. Since the event has been popular with the community over the years, the Thompson School wanted to continue the tradition of hosting the open house for the public. After changing the name from the Poinsettia Trials to the Poinsettia Open House, the event was up and running for the eleventh year.

The community members can attest to the popularity; they excitedly bustled throughout the greenhouse, only stopping to make purchases or compare the different varieties. They also were not shy when it came to asking Ebba questions regarding the poinsettias, highlighting their enthusiasm.

“This is the second time I’ve bought a poinsettia from this event,” Monica Ziegler Evans said. “My niece goes to UNH, and I like to support the school.”

Evans went on to talk about how impressed she was with this year’s selection. She eagerly showed off her purchase– a full, bright pink jubilee.

“We have a great public community,” Ebba said. “We are very grateful.”

Ebba also commented on this year’s turnout, describing it as “fantastic.”

Aside from the plant growers, other horticulture technology students were also involved in the event. Members of the Horticulture Club hosted the wreath decorating activity. Here, visitors were able to purchase fresh wreaths and were then guided by club members to create their own holiday wreaths. All of the proceeds from this activity benefitted the Horticulture Club. Students taking Flower Show Design were also involved by decorating the workroom to resemble a winter wonderland. 

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