Popular Poinsettia Trials Open House and Evergreen Fair will help ring in the season Dec. 4-6

Friday, November 7, 2014

UNH's Memorial Union Building and The Macfarlane Greenhouses will come alive with holiday cheer, decor and gift ideas during the first weekend of December, thanks to two popular annual events.

The Poinsettia Trials Open House will be held at the Macfarlane Greenhouses, part of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, Thompson School and College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Visitors to the free event, now in its ninth year, will enjoy more than 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, and will include those with names like Red Soul, Prima Donna, Milky Way, Autumn Leaves, Christmas Ribbons, Harlequin Red, Christmas Wish, Sorbet and Saturnus Marble.

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. Want to be really inspired? Be sure to swing by the 12-foot poinsettia tree in the lobby of the Whittemore Center.

The Poinsettia Trials 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 varieties. This valuable information provides a basis for choosing the best cultivars for a particular growing environment and market.

A broad selection of poinsettia varieties will be available for purchase from Thompson School students on all three days and throughout the holiday season. The Thompson School Horticulture Club will again host a wreath decorating activity during the Poinsettia Open House. Fresh wreaths will be available for purchase, and visitors will be guided by club members to create their own holiday wreath. All proceeds will benefit the Horticulture Club. Learn more here: http://www.thompsonschool.unh.edu/hort/greenhouse-sales.

The Evergreen Fair

Visitors to campus can also swing by the popular Evergreen Fair at the Memorial Union Building. The event runs during the same three days, and features fine arts and crafts by local and regional artists. The fair has been a Seacoast tradition for the past 37 years, especially for shoppers looking to escape crowded malls and support local businesses and artists.

Says Suzanne Connor, organizer of the Evergreen Fair for the past 17 years, "Evergreen Fair continues a long tradition of fine handcraft at UNH.  I was approached by UNH 17 years ago, and we still consider them our co-sponsor. The faculty, staff and students of UNH truly support the craftsmen who participate.  It’s a good fit!"

You can read more about the 50 Evergreen artists here; Connor points out that there are a range of prices, to accomodate anyone who might be looking for a big-ticket item or just a small gift for someone for the holidays.

"We have some professors who come over during the fair and get all of their holiday shopping done at once. And we offer the price-range variety to also appeal to students who might be on a budget," she says. But no matter the price, "The craftmanship level is high, and that's always our goal."

Lori Wright, communications and information coordinator for N.H. Agricultural Experiment Station, contributed to this article.

Make A Day of It in Durham:
The Poinsettia Trials Open House
Where:  Macfarlane Greenhouses, 296 Mast Road (west edge of campus)
When: Thursday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Transportation Info: 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 Evergreen Fair
Where: Memorial Union Building
When: Thursday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Transportation Info: Check out the Evergreen parking map to find parking near the MUB.