There was no way I was going to miss the Show. Despite my recent eye surgery, I refused to bail on the long-planned bus trip to the Boston Flower Show with my best friend, Muriel. The sojourn had been paid bought and paid for months earlier; we needed a respite from winter, and anyway, what’s a bandaged eye to a dedicated gardener? On the appointed morning, despite a few misgivings, off we went on the bus taking us northeast.
Truth be told, once we arrived, I caught only glimpses of many exhibits. The dark sunglasses I donned were awkward and clumsy. I bumped into people, and tired easily. I had to stop at regular intervals to administer eye drops.
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Few events are as exhilarating as stepping into an oasis of spring in the midst of a New England February. There’s nothing like inhaling the mingled smells of flowers, moss, green grass and new growth at a Flower Show. The excited babble of eager gardeners is incomparable. What a gift to plunge into the season weeks ahead of when Lady Spring makes her true entrance!
Want to see gardens in full bloom? Survey the latest garden gadgets, fertilizers, tools or what’s new in lilies? How about a fresh approach to deer repelling? Need some information on garden planning, or about those new ultra-sweet cherry tomatoes? It’s all there at the Flower Shows.
There’s something for everyone, but it’s important to have a plan. Grab a site map before entering and scope out what’s most pertinent. If you wish to wander alone, arrange a meeting place with the compadres. Try not haul a purse; instead consider a reusable canvas bag, the better to stuff in free samples, literature, and those purchases you need to hide from your spouse.
Bring a camera; the display gardens are to die for, and though you think you’ll remember how effectively azalea ‘Bollywood’ or humulus ‘Aurea’ was used, your memory will fail when you attempt to recall. Trust me on this.
Lug some snacks in your bag. Though the shows all offer refreshments, they may not have what you hanker for, or the lines may be long and it’s best to keep yourself fueled while you’re burning calories strolling the Show floor.
And then there’s the lectures. Need to learn what’s new in urban gardening? Want to be inspired by the Perennial Plants of the Year? Or to educate yourself and your partner on how to achieve a more eco-friendly lawn? Scan the list of lecturers, and plan to attend one or more of the free presentations. It’s sometimes a chance to meet and greet your favorite garden author, but at a minimum you’ll get a leg up on various gardening topics. Also, most shows offer a bookshop area; be sure to see what’s new in horticultural writings. Often the areas host book signings by folks who deliver the lectures.
The Connecticut show Traditions of Nature, http://www.ctflowershow.com runs from Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26 as does the Rhode Island show, Simple Pleasures, http://www.flowershow.com/ . The Boston Flower and Garden Show http://www.masshort.org/Blooms-and-the-Boston-Flower-&-Garden-Show runs from Wednesday March 14th until Sunday, March 19th, and granddaddy of all, Philadelphia, www.theflowershow.com runs from Sunday, March 4th until Sunday March 11th.
Though I’ve never again attended a garden symposium with a bandaged eye, late winter each year finds me plotting a way to fit in a visit to at least one of those harbingers of spring, the Flower Shows.
I’ll be presenting at the Rhode Island Flower Show on Saturday, February 25th; the Syracuse Flower Show on Saturday, March 3rd; the Chicago Flower Show on Monday, March 12th; and the Boston Flower Show on Saturday, March 17th. Stop by & see me!