Afternoon: Arrival at the Assembly Inn, check in between 3 - 5:30 p.m. Registration for our program will be in the lower lobby from 4 - 5:30 p.m. Pull up to the Assemby Inn porch to unload, then park your vehicle in any designated spot close to the Inn or by the lake.
Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Galax Dining Room, on the first floor of the Assembly Inn. A relaxing break after your day of travel. All our meals are served buffet style, so grab your plate and utensils and settle in for some comfort food. A choice of two entrées (or have both), good-for-you vegetables, a complete salad bar, bread and, of course, some yummy desserts. Tea (sweet and unsweetened), coffee, milk, and water available.
Evening: Our opening program/orientation will be at 7 p.m. (usually in Convocation Hall, also on the first floor of the Inn). We will spend some time learning a little about Montreat, meeting your instructors, going over the schedule, and answering questions. We know you're tired from your travels, so we'll wrap up around 8 p.m. with some "getting to know you" activities. Refreshments and fellowship follow in the lobby, or retire to your room to rest.
Activity note: classroom based in the morning, afternoon field trip to Biltmore House Conservatory (board transportation, travel approx 25 miles... 30 to 45 minutes) one way.
Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet is served from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the Galax Dining Room. Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? Then you're in for a treat this week! Breakfast options change each day, but will incorporate lots of your favorites. Biscuits and gravy, French toast, pancakes or waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, hash browns, oatmeal (and not the packaged kind either), and lots of others. Standard offerings include fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, granola, baked pastries, orange juice (and another juice option). Fresh coffee or hot tea will start your morning off right!
Morning: Note: This program is aimed at beginners and intermediate growers, although veterans will also reap valuable cultural tips. As anyone who has read Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief or has seen the movie Adaptation knows, orchids inspire a passionate following. And their popularity is rising: according to the USDA, more than 12.7 million orchids were sold in the U.S. last year. We'll begin our morning with the Basics of Orchid Growing. Next, we will talk about growing orchids without a greenhouse. Years ago, almost all orchids were grown in greenhouses. This is just not so today. In fact, more are now grown on windowsills and under lights. Some can actually be grown better this way without the big cost and trouble of building and maintaining a greenhouse. Steve will give us pointers on how to have great success with this approach and will discuss the most recent efficient and effective lighting sources and equipment and how to make best use of windowsills. He will present a fine array of orchids ideally suited to this type of culture. After a morning refreshment break, we'll return to the classroom for our discussion on Perfect Companion Plants to Orchids. All of us love our orchids, but there also are many spectacular plants that are ideal companions to orchids. They thrive in the same environment and can add a welcomed variety. The plants that will be discussed are spectacular and are easy to grow and flower. He will show his favorites that he has grown over the years.
Lunch: Lunch in the Assembly Inn dining room.
Afternoon: Immediately after lunch, we board the provided transportation and make a visit to the Biltmore Estate Conservatory (we will not be going into the house). There, we will enjoy the beautiful orchids in bloom. After our visit to the conservatory, we will make one more stop to see a private collection of orchids.
Dinner: dinner at the Assembly Inn. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Evening: This evening we talk about Fabulous Fragrant Orchids. Only one experience is more breathtaking than seeing a gorgeous orchid in bloom and that is smelling a fragrant gorgeous orchid in bloom! Ask the insect pollinators who depend on fragrance rather than beauty to lead them to the right flower. Yet, orchid growers have traditionally paid more attention to flower size, substance, color, and shape than to scent! Steve's presentation shows exquisite images and descriptions including cultivation information along with detailed notes on the plant’s fragrance and intensity, which can range from elegant and sophisticated to downright nasty, from fruity and spicy to medicinal and fishy, from light and fresh to heavy and overwhelming.
Activity note: classroom time, then afternoon field trip to private collectors (walking).
Breakfast: Another yummy buffet breakfast is served 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Get your morning off to a good start! It's the most important meal of the day...
Morning: Saturday morning, we'll start out in the classroom with Fantastic Phalaenopsis. With their refined beauty and elegant flower form, moth orchids (members of the genus Phalaenopsis) are often referred to as the basic black of the orchid world. In fact, moth orchids are the most popular orchids in the world, accounting for a staggering 75 percent of all orchid plant sales. More than merely beautiful, they are also among the easiest orchids to grow, whether in greenhouses, on windowsills, or under artificial lights, and the individual flowers can last for up to three months in pristine form. These appealing traits make moth orchids the first choice of every orchid fancier, from rank beginners to dyed-in-the-wool fanatics. Most flower lovers are familiar with the elegant white, pink, and striped hybrids, but a revolution in phalaenopsis breeding has resulted in an entirely new, diverse, and wonderful array of flower colors and patterns previously unimaginable. Steve will focus on these new stars while also providing a detailed look at the classic hybrids and species. Viewers will be enticed by gorgeous color images and gratified by the wealth of practical advice on selecting and buying moth orchids. Most importantly, Steve will share his secrets on how these glorious plants can be grown to perfection, with recommendations about light levels, potting media, watering, and feeding. Especially useful are his clearly illustrated step-by-step directions on how to repot, trim, and propagate moth orchids.
Lunch: Lunch at the Assembly Inn.
Afternoon: After lunch, we will venture into Asheville to visit the homes of private orchid collectors, returning to Montreat in time for relaxation before dinner.
Dinner: 5:30 - 6:30 dinner
Evening: This evening, we will gather to talk about Marvelous Miniature Orchids. Although miniature orchids have been grown and admired for quite some time, they have, until recently, been a very small niche market. This situation has changed rapidly as some of the most popular new orchids today are miniatures. Examples are multi-floral and miniature phalaenopsis (better suited as a pot plant then the standard larger white and pink hybrids); miniature and equitant oncidiums; small growing primary paphiopedilum hybrids, including some of the parvisepalum and the brachypetalum species and hybrids; “minicatts” that are now are in higher demand than their space-hogging full-sized plants; and many different color forms of dwarf dendrobiums like Den. kingianum and other very compact growing selections of Dendrobium phalaenopsis are now coming into the US market. Vandaceous miniatures using ascocentums have always been popular, but now newer hybrids using Neofinetia falcata, and dwarf angraecoids are producing a new range of charming and fragrant orchids. Even the more esoteric genera that contain many different miniatures, suited for growing in terrariums, including Maxillaria, Masdevallia, Pleurothallis, Bulbophyllum, Lepanthes, and Dracula are receiving much more attention in popular orchid literature and at orchid shows.
Activity note: all classroom based this morning
Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast
Morning: Our morning starts out with Choice Mexican Orchid Species. Mexico is home to more than 1200 orchid species, many of which are not commonly grown by US orchid fanciers, even though they much deserve to be. This illustrated talk will feature those that are most spectacular and easiest to grow including laelias, encyclias, prosthecheas, oncidiums, epidendrums, maxillarias, stanhopeas, and lycastes. After a brief refreshment break, (where you may want to make time to check out of your room... checkout is required by 11 a.m.), we'll return to the classroom to visit with Steve's Orchid Clinic. Although orchids are not plagued with as many problems as some plants, they can still be haunted with pests that can mar their beauty, or in some cases, can threaten their lives. In this program Steve will give a presentation of the most common disease, insect, varmint, and cultural problems and will give safe, effective ways to eliminate or control them. After the presentation there will be time for participants who have brought in troubled plants to have these plants diagnosed and for questions to be answered about individual plant growing or pest problems.
Lunch: Lunch in the dining room. If you have to leave before lunch, you may request a box lunch to take with you!
Afternoon: We invite you to stay on and join us for a fun week beginning on Sunday. Steve will be teaching a course on Gardening (23124), and there is also a program on Christmas at the Biltmore, Victorian Christmas and Appalachian Mountain Christmas (10345)