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Popular Poinsettia Open House at UNH Is Dec. 1 – 3, 2011

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Winter Rose Early Marble is just one of many unusual varieties of poinsettias on display at the University of New Hampshire's Poinsettia Trials Open House. Credit: David Goudreault, UNH.

The Macfarlane Greenhouses, New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and Thompson School Horticultural Facility host the popular Poinsettia Trials Open House Thursday, Dec. 1 through Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. Visitors to the free event, now in its sixth year, will enjoy nearly 100 poinsettia varieties and assist in ongoing research.

Poinsettias on display will go far beyond the traditional red to shades of pink, apricot, and deep burgundy; variegations of red, white and pink shades; and those with names like Polar Bear, Red Glitter, Pink Candy, Ice Punch, Stargazer, Tapestry and Ruby Frost. Visitors to the trials will assist in research by recording their favorites from among new and different varieties; completing this survey will enter visitors into a drawing to win a poinsettia. In addition, visitors may also tour the greenhouses and see the 12-foot poinsettia tree in the lobby of the Whittemore Center.

New this year, researchers will trial three dwarf tomato varieties to evaluate their suitability as holiday potted plants. “Planting vegetables among the flowers in our summer landscapes is increasingly popular, particularly where space is limited. With this increased interest in vegetables as both ornamental and productive, we decided to give tomatoes a try,” says David Goudreault, greenhouse assistant manager. “Tomatoes for holiday gift-giving? We’ll let you decide.”

Visitors at the University of New Hampshire's Poinsettia Trials Open House can assist research by recording their favorite poinsettias from among many new varieties. Credit: David Goudreault, University of New Hampshire.

In addition, with a continuing focus on sustainable horticulture, researchers from UNH Cooperative Extension are exploring the use of controlled release fertilizers to produce poinsettia crops. These fertilizers have the potential to decrease the cost of producing a crop as well as reducing the environmental impact of poinsettia production.

The Poinsettia Trials at UNH is a collaborative event to bring research to breeders, growers, and the public. Similar trials take place at universities and commercial greenhouses across the country, allowing breeders and growers to evaluate regional differences in the growth and performance of new cultivars. This valuable information provides a basis for choosing the best cultivars for a particular growing environment and market.

The Poinsettia Trials Open House is at the Macfarlane Greenhouses at 296 Mast Road, on the West edge of campus, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A broad selection of the many poinsettia varieties will be available for purchase from Thompson School students on all three days and throughout the holiday season (until Dec. 24). On Thursday and Friday metered parking is available at the UNH Visitor Center across from the greenhouses; parking on Saturday is free. The greenhouses are also served by Wildcat Transit’s free shuttle service: www.wildcattransit.com.

The MacFarlane Greenhouses are funded and managed by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at UNH. Learn more about the greenhouses at http://www.colsa.unh.edu/aes/macfarlane.