The temperature was in the 20s, yet flowers were in bloom everywhere.
The Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, which opened today and runs through Sunday at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, comes at just the right time of year.
I overheard this refrain at least three times this afternoon: “I am so ready for Spring.”
People were out in force, shopping for vegetable seeds, garden ornaments and big bunches of pussywillow branches, checking out landscapers’ displays, picking up ideas and brochures and inspiration, and delighting in the experts’ seminars (I caught Roger Swain’s delightful and information-packed talk on “Vegetables That I Have Known & That You Will Love”).
Vendors displayed everything from fencing, fountains, peonies, pavers, jewelry, soaps, outdoor kitchens, tools and tulips to books, bonsais and butterflies.
Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens of South Deerfield, Mass., displayed a case filled with exquisite, fluttering butterflies from around the world, and was selling cups of tiger swallowtail and black swallowtail butterfly eggs, which will hatch when the time comes. General manager Kathy Fiore also offered information sheets on which plants will attract specific butterflies to yards in New England. She said many people had been approaching her table to talk about the plight of monarchs and the need to plant milkweed, which monarchs require to lay their eggs and which newly hatched caterpillars need to feed.
“”People are aware of it, conscientious about it,” she said. “The plight is out there.”
The lovely sound of waterfalls and water features splashed gently through a number of the 18 lush landscaping displays, including Creative Contour Landscape Design in Middletown, which took best-in-show honors for landscape design (photo at top).
Creative Contour owner Jennifer Noyes created a marvelous gazebo topped with sedum and succulents, over an inviting outdoor table. A river literally ran through it: Water flowing through a narrow trench along the middle of the length of the table then cascaded into the shallow pool surrounded by daffodils and other plantings.
“My whole goal is to make people think differently about their yards,” Noyes said.
The landscape designed by Pondering Creations in Terryville (photo above) as a rock garden packed with plants also featured little waterfalls and a pond. It was honored with the Best Horticulture Award.
And Hillside Landscaping Co. of Berlin earned the Best Design Award.
A waterwheel gently rotated through the koi pond in the display created by Comets to Koi of Branford.
And Rob Townsend, owner of Aquascapes of Connecticut in Portland, had built an Oriental azumaya, hand-cut and hand-planed, with a panel of etched glass. The display (photo above) was landscaped with tulips, Lenten roses and Japanese maples, and an unusual copper fountain sculpted like a Japanese maple shimmered with droplets of water.
The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s flower show boasted several hundred entries in a variety of categories, all with a “Ports of Call” theme — from the “Far East” (very petite arrangements) to “Caribbean Cruise,” “Jacob’s Ladder” trained plants, “Haku Lei” floral hair wreaths, and, in keeping with weather outside the show, “Into the Arctic,” where one cool arrangement paired orchids with silvered English ivy.
In the “Coral Fringed Barbados” division, the arrangement created by Alice Luster of Country Gardeners of Glastonbury (photo above) — with Asiatic lilies, green spider chrysanthemums and dried palm fronds — had collected a number of ribbons, including first place in the design division, the Designer’s Choice Award, Terry Stoleson Award and an Award of Design Excellence.
The show continues Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details, Click Here.
Photos on this page by Nancy Schoeffler.
For more photos at the show by Hartford Courant photographer Stephen Dunn, Click Here.