Enjoy Spring’s Beauty in Full Bloom

Join the Office of Alumni Relations, fellow alums and friends for the spectacular Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens on Sunday, March 11.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Punxsutawney Phil might have seen his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter, but orchids will be in full bloom at the upcoming Rider University Philadelphia Regional Alumni Event.

Join the Office of Alumni Relations, fellow alums and friends for the spectacular Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., on Sunday, March 11. Tickets are $25 per person and include entrance into the gardens, lecture and lunch.

 The lunch at l p.m. will feature a presentation by Westminster Choir College alumnus Thomas Purviance ’74, co-owner of Parkside Orchid Nursery in Ottsville, Pa. Purviance, who received a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from WCC and a master’s degree in Music from Temple University, has been involved in the orchid business for more than 20 years.

Purviance’s fascination with horticulture began as a child, growing up in the rural, southern town of Wakefield, Va, where his family owned a funeral home. During funeral services, he would often head over to the nursery nearby.

 “I grew up working in green houses,” he said. “I started collecting orchids as an adult. While working in the alumni office at Westminster, I started growing it into a hobby and eventually, I started making that hobby into a career. We bought the nursery in 1992.”

Purviance has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, where he displayed six different orchid varieties from his nursery and shared how to care for the plants.

After lunch, take in the beauty of the artful orchid displays during a tour of the gardens at 2 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to wander back to the Ballroom at 3 p.m. to hear Westminster alumnus Justin Hartz ’85 perform on the Longwood Organ. Hartz is a member and former dean of American Guild of Organist-Central Jersey Chapter and Organist Director of Music at Christ Church Riverton, N,J. He received his master’s degree from The Juilliard School in 1987 and has been playing at Longwood since 1989.

Please register online at http://alumni.rider.edu/eventregistration by Friday, February 24. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 609-896-5340 or alumni@rider.edu. Longwood Gardens is located at 1001 Longwood Road in Kennett Square, Pa., 19348.

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Parkside Orchid Nursery co-owners (from left to right) John Salventi and Thomas Purviance '74.