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GardenSMART :: Flower Shows Bring Their Own Spring

Flower Shows Bring Their Own Spring

By Therese Ciesinski, In The Dirt Editor
Photographs courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

They’re almost here, those eagerly awaited harbingers of spring. Not robins, or pussy willow catkins, but the flower shows. Like the earliest spring bulbs, they appear when snow still blankets the ground, and t-shirt weather seems light years away. Below are some of the biggest indoor shows coming up in the next couple of months, plus suggestions for having the best flower show experience.

Northwest Flower & Garden Show
February 17 – 21, 2016
Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
Theme: America the Beautiful

Philadelphia Flower Show
March 5 – 13, 2016
Philadelphia Convention Center
Theme: Explore America, 100 Years of the National Park Service.

Chicago Flower and Garden Show
March 12 – 20, 2016
Navy Pier
Theme: Chicago Is

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
San Mateo Event Center
March 16 – 20, 2016
Theme: Discovery!

More Shows:
This site lists flower shows around the country:

Flower Show Tips:

  • Wear your most comfortable shoes. In fact, pack a second pair if you can. The floors are concrete and places to sit can be hard to come by. Your feet may surrender long before your interest does.
  • Dress in layers. Halls are kept chilly to keep the plants comfortable, not the visitors.
  • Go when it’s the least crowded: weekday afternoons before 4:00 p.m. Package deals with area transit or hotels or restaurants can reduce the price of a ticket.
  • Don’t buy what you can readily find elsewhere. Those pussy willow stems everyone lugs around are sold at your supermarket at half the price. Support the artists making one-of-a-kind items instead.
  • Most shows have a coat check or an area where you can leave your purchases while you stroll around. Some have “man caves,” with big-screen TVs tuned to sporting events, beer, food, games, and giant lounge chairs where those uninterested in flowers can stay happily occupied.
  • Food at flower shows used to be of the hot dog and nachos variety, and ridiculously overpriced to boot, but shows have wised up and now offer what can be loosely considered “dining experiences.” It’s still expensive, but there’s much more variety, and it tastes better.

So go and marvel at the fabulous displays, attend gardening or cooking seminars, get landscaping inspiration, or shop the markets. Flower shows offer an unforgettable taste of spring, and reassurance that the snow will melt. Eventually.

Therese Ciesinski is the editor of GardenSMART’s In The Dirt Newsletter. She writes about gardening, interior design, organics, the environment, people, and pets for national print and digital publications, including Garden Design, This Old House, and Vegetarian Times magazines, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, and An editor at Organic Gardening magazine for many years, Therese has given seminars and lectures at flower shows and garden clubs across the country, and has appeared on television and radio. She lives in southeastern Pennsylvania.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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