NASHUA, NH – One of New Hampshire’s most popular winter attractions is returning to Nashua. The New Hampshire Orchid Society will present, A Bounty Orchids, March 25 – 27, at the Courtyard Marriott, 2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua. Off Exit 8, Everett Turnpike.
Held a month later than previous Society shows, A Bounty of Orchids, gives attendees a unique opportunity to enjoy an unprecedented variety of rare and exotic orchid cultivars on display and for sale by hobbyists and professionals from across the United States and across the world. From cool to tropical species, hundreds of colorful exhibits will grace the show from orchid societies in New England.
A distinguished panel of judges from the NH Orchid Society as well as the American Orchid Society will award honors in multiple categories. Among them, Manchester’s own Jean Stefanik, a lifetime member of the NH Orchid Society and accredited American Orchid Society judge with over 10-years training and numerous national and international shows to her credit.
An experienced naturalist and educator, Stefanik’s passion for orchid conservation in the wild has led to extensive travel in such far-flung destinations as Costa Rica, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Australia as well as many areas of North America where rare species of native orchids struggle to survive in an era of endangered habitat. She is a frequent speaker at garden and orchid clubs, sharing both the beauty of one of nature’s most photographed subjects and the importance of protecting biodiversity.
Both novice and serious hobbyists will want to take advantage of the many scheduled tours and educational programs presented throughout the weekend by Society members on Repotting and Dividing Orchids; Orchid Culture and Habitat; and others.
Like Stefanik, George Newman of Bedford, also a lifelong member of the NH Orchid Society, developed a love for exotic plants in childhood.
“I grew up half a mile from New York Botanical Gardens,” the retired pathologist recounted. “I could have just as easily walked to the Bronx Zoo and collected snakes so my mother was very happy with my interest of choice.”
Today, Newman’s greenhouse is home to 400 -500 orchids and carnivorous plants ranging in size from barely distinguishable to too-heavy-to-lift. He prefers raising cool-growing orchids – those common to cloud forest environments, thriving in temperatures between 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit by day and 50 to 55 degrees at night. As such, and living in New Hampshire, a greenhouse is indispensable.
“Having a greenhouse is like having a baby,” Newman deadpans as he explains sophisticated temperature monitors and humidity timers, water filtration systems, and how dependent the health and vitality of his plant collection is on maintaining a problem-free system.
“Going away even for a few days is a pain in the neck but I have close friends I have trained and trust to help when I’m gone.”
Otherwise, Newman is happiest tending to his legions of plants both native and non. With encyclopedic recall, he shares that New Hampshire boasts over 40 native varieties of orchids; the most celebrated among them, the Pink Lady Slipper.
“Right here in Bedford, we have 10 native species but they are fast disappearing from habitat loss in the face of continuing development.”
Famous for blooming in their own time, Newman is cautiously optimistic about the selection of orchids he’ll submit for judging at this year’s show.
Both he and Stefanik strongly advocate for conservation projects and grants as part of the New Hampshire Orchid Society’s Conservation & Education Committee.
Make plans to attend A Bounty of Orchids, the 29th Annual Orchid Show and Sale presented by the New Hampshire Orchid Society, Fri., March 25 from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Sat., March 26 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sun., March 27 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Courtyard by Marriott, 2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua. Off Exit 8, Everett Turnpike. Tickets are available online at www.nhorchids.org or at the door: adults – $10, seniors (65+) – $8, children under 12 – free. 3-day, daytime pass $18 (no discount). Check the Society’s website for the latest updates about the event.