In the Garden:
Visit a flower show near you and get a preview of summer's bounty, even as the snow flies outside.
It's Time for Flower Shows
Last week it got down to minus 20 degrees; today it's snowing with a forecast of up to 20 inches by tomorrow. What a perfect time to plan a pilgrimage to a spring flower show! There's probably one within a few hours' drive of you.
Most flower shows include lavish indoor display gardens, demonstration areas, workshops, and exhibits of new plants and products. They're a great place to get inspired, get ideas, and get a gardening "fix" weeks or months before you can dig in outdoors.
Here are a few things to consider:
-- Purchasing tickets in advance can save you a few dollars.
-- Most shows post workshops and special events online; review these ahead of time so you don't miss anything.
-- Check show Web sites for transportation and parking information. Sometimes parking at a remote lot and using the show's shuttle service is the most convenient and inexpensive option.
-- Dress in layers. Some areas of the show floor may be cool to keep displays fresh; others may be over-heated.
-- Wear your most comfortable shoes.
-- Bring an empty canvas bag for goodies.
-- Wait to make purchases until just before you leave, so you don't have to carry heavy bags through the show.
-- Crowds may be lighter during lunch and dinner hours.
-- Reduce waste: Take only the brochures and freebies that you'll actually read and use.
Keep in mind that many of the extravagant floral displays are just that -- displays -- and may not be reproducible in your home garden. Nurseries force plants into bloom just in time for the show, and you'll often see combinations of flowers that naturally bloom at different times in the garden.
A Sampling of Shows
Visit show Web sites for more details and to confirm show times and locations.
Taking place February 19-22, 2009, the 28th Annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show has moved to the Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut and will include nearly three acres of displays and exhibits. This year's them is "America the Beautiful." Learn more at http://www.ctflowershow.com.
"From the Mountains to the Sea" describes the essence of the Portland Flower Show, which takes place on March 11-14, 2009 at the Portland Company Complex, 58 Fore St. During the show, the interiors of antique buildings on the city's eastern waterfront will be transformed into lush garden exhibits. Look for activities for gardeners of all ages. Learn more at http://www.portlandcompany.com/flower.
For the first time in almost 140 years, the New England Spring Flower Show will not take place. However, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is planning another event: the Mass Hort Greenway Gardens "Blooms!" Held in Boston from March 12-15, the show takes place at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway at One International Place, 125 High Street, and the InterContinental Hotel. For more information visit http://www.masshort.org/Events.
The Flower and Patio Show, held at the Worcester's DCU Center, takes place on February 27-March 1, 2009. The them is "It's All About Spring!" Browse garden displays, watch the waterfall-building contest, and shop for home and garden products. Learn more at http://www.centralmaflowershow.com
The 15th Annual Seacoast Home and Garden Show takes place from March 27-29 at the UNH Whittemore Center in Durham. The show includes lectures, self-guided tours, and children's activities. Learn more at http://www.homegardenflowershow.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=seacoast.home.
The 16th Annual Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show, "Gardens of the World," takes you on a journey to exotic lands, including the Australian Outback, Mayan and Incan ruins in Mexico and South America, and on into Tuscany, Spain, and more. The show takes place February 19-22, 2009, at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Learn more at http://www.flowershow.com.
The theme of the 2009 Vermont Flower Show is "Child's Play," and the goal is to stimulate the imagination of gardeners of all ages. The show takes place from March 6- 8, 2009 at the Champlain Valley Exposition. Learn more at http://www.greenworksvt.org.
The 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show them is "Bella Italia" and focuses on the natural beauty, culture, and spirit of Italy. The show takes place on March 1-8, 2009 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Philadelphia Flower Show is touted as the oldest and largest indoor show of its kind; be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to visit this extravagant event. Learn more at http://www.theflowershow.com/.
Care to share your gardening thoughts, insights, triumphs, or disappointments with your fellow gardening enthusiasts? Join the lively discussions on our FaceBook page and receive free daily tips!