It’s orchid time in Asheville, as the Western North Carolina Orchid Society (WNCOS) and The North Carolina Arboretum host one of WNC’s favorite flower shows — the 21st annual Asheville Orchid Festival April 6-7 at the NC Arboretum. This year, the festival is themed, “An Orchid Expedition,” and will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the Arboretum’s Education Center.

Picture the magnificent orchid bloom. It represents love and refinement. Whether people grow orchids, or are merely in awe of this amazing flowering plant, the annual Asheville Orchid Festival is a must-see in spring.

“The Asheville Orchid Festival is one of the Arboretum’s largest plant shows of the year,” said Whitney Smith, marketing and PR manager for The North Carolina Arboretum. “From the magnificent orchid displays, to the educational programs to the orchid marketplace, there is something for everyone to see — and smell — at this event.”

The Asheville Orchid Festival is one of the premier orchid events in the Southeast and is a sanctioned judging event, recognized by the American Orchid Society.

Orchid education

This is not only a beautiful festival, it’s a learning experience for those who want to grow orchids.

“World-class orchid growers and breeders, along with regional orchid societies, will exhibit hundreds of orchids in carefully crafted displays during the two-day event,” Smith said.

Throughout the weekend event, the WNCOS will host orchid programs and educational lectures, including a bilingual Spanish/English presentation from Dayaneth Loja Portilla of Ecuagenera Orchids of Ecuador, plus and a program on native orchids with naturalist and Arboretum educator, Scott Dean.

“The Asheville Orchid Festival is the product of 21 years of synergy, passion and experience from some of the best growers and well-respected orchid experts in the country,” said Mike Mims, festival chair and president of WNCOS. “We are very excited to have 10 incredible orchid vendors from across the U.S., as well as from Ecuador, coupled with many of our sister orchid societies from across the Carolinas exhibiting this year.”

In addition to the educational programs, members of the WNCOS will be at the festival to answer questions for all orchid lovers, from novice to expert.

Admission

Admission into the Asheville Orchid Festival is $5 per person (collected at the door); children 12 and under are free. Standard parking fees apply for non-members of The North Carolina Arboretum.

The Arboretum member preview night, April 5, is sold-out.

Admission proceeds to the April 6-7 festival will benefit WNCOS, a 501©(3) non-profit organization, and will help expand the orchid society’s mission of “sharing the excitement and joy of cultivating orchids and promoting orchid conservation.”

Schedule

The 21 annual Asheville Orchid Festival events are:

Saturday, April 6

• 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Orchid exhibit viewing and market place.

• 10 a.m. – “A Walk through the World of Orchids” by Marc Burchette, a guided expedition through the fabulous orchid exhibits.

• 11:30 a.m. – “Decoding Dendrobium” by Mark Reinke of Marble Branch Farms, featuring ‘the surprising orchid you thought you knew.’

• 1 p.m. – “The Enchanting Orchids of Ecuador,” by Dayaneth Loja Portilla of Ecuagenera Orchids, Ecuador. Discover the wonderful orchid species from Ecuador.

• 2:15 p.m. – “Our Native Orchid Species of WNC” by Scott Dean. Learn about the many orchid species found in the WNC region from a native orchid enthusiast.

Sunday, April 7

• 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Orchid exhibit viewing and market place.

• 10 a.m. – “A Walk through the World of Orchids,” by Marc Brochette, a guided expedition through the fabulous orchid exhibits.

• 11:30 a.m. – “New Phragmipedium Hybrids and Culture,” by Jason Fischer of Orchids Limited. Learn from one of the premier Phragmipedium breeders in the world.

• 1 p.m. – “Complex Paphiopedilums and their Culture,” by Hadley Cash of Marriott Orchids. Learn the best kept secrets on how to grow award-winning Paphiopedilums.

• 2:15 p.m. – “Repotting with New Zealand’s Finest,” by Graham Ramsey — an in-depth look at Orchiata Bark, Sphagnum Moss and Tree Fern.

“We are thankful for our continued partnership with the Arboretum to be able to host this popular event,” Mims said. “If you are in Asheville in April, this is a festival not to be missed.”

The North Carolina Arboretum is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 393. From I-26, take Exit 33 and follow Blue Ridge Parkway signs for two miles to the entrance ramp. For Arboretum information, visit www.ncarboretum.org or call (828) 665-2492. For information on WNCOS, visit www.wncos.org.

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