“After that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air.” — Willa Cather, “My Antonia”
If you’re yearning for the intoxicating fragrances that are the very breath of spring, “the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere” that Willa Cather so aptly described, there’s no need to feel discouraged by the mounds of snow that still abound.
The 34th annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, and while the show is not the same as an actual spring day, it does offer a tantalizing preview of springtime to come, which is particularly welcome this time of this year.
The show covers nearly 3 acres and includes 18 professionally designed gardens that cover more than an acre. Yes, these gardens are indoors, but the sights and scents are so pleasing to one’s winter-weary senses.
Nancy DuBrule-Clemente of Natureworks in North Branford said her winter-battered spirits were completely turned around when she started setting up for the show earlier this week. “Huge witch hazel trees forced into perfect bloom, piles of mulch and sod, flowering plants absolutely everywhere — my soul was soothed and I came home singing a joyful song!”
There are more than 300 booths with displays of flowers, plants, garden ornaments, bulbs and seeds, gardening books, patio furniture and more. If you can dig beneath the snow in your yard, bring along a half-cup of soil to the UConn Cooperative Extension’s booth for a free soil test.
I always love the eye-popping creativity of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s Advanced Flower Show — more than 250 entries that could inspire you to new heights of artistry when arranging a few flowers of your own.
And through the show there will be more than 80 hours of seminars by horticultural, garden design and gardening experts, including:
Mar Jennings on “Creating Casual Luxury in Your Home and Garden”;
Garden photographer and author Ken Druse on “Making More Plants: Propagation” and on “Natural Companions”;
Garden author and photographer Amy Ziffer of Sherman, whose “Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening” is an invaluable guide, on “Shade Revealed”;
Roger Swain, former host of “The Victory Garden” on PBS and HGTV’s “People Places & Plants on “Vegetables That I Have Known and You Will Love”;
Bob Buettner, Connecticut Florist of the Year in 2010, on “Floral Arranging”;
Organic gardener, photographer and lecturer Karen Bussolini of South Kent on “40 Great Plants for Connecticut Gardens” and “Gardens in Winter.”
The list of seminar topics goes on and on — “Create and Enhance Wildlife Habitats in Your Surroundings,” “Rain Gardens,” “Daylilies,” “America’s Romance with the English Garden,” “Composting and Soil Health,” “Water Gardening Basics,” “Working with Wetlands on Your Property,” “Disease Control in Home Vegetable Gardens,” and many more. For the complete seminar schedule and details about the presenters, Click Here.
The seminars are included in the price of admission, which is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors age 62 and over (Thursday and Friday only); $4 for children age 5 to 12, and free for children under age 5.
Hours are Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Convention Center is at 100 Columbus Blvd.
For more information and details on parking, including free parking, Click Here.
Photos courtesy of Connecticut Flower & Garden Show