The BLOG: Lifestyle

Nurtured by Nature: A look inside the Boston Flower and Garden Show

March into the Seaport World Trade Center seeking inspiration and you’ll walk out of the Boston Flower and Garden Show sown with enough ideas to fill an April wheel barrel. Anyone who longs for a glimpse of what earthy delights lie just weeks ahead will be treated to a chorus of color shouting the spirit of spring now through March 20th as they visit this annual harbinger of the growing season.

The exhibition begins with a wave of blue hyacinths streaming around white tulips flirting with a patch of flashy purple primrose. Ceramic planters of cobalt burst with daffodils, pansies and azaleas snuggling into a spot where ivy spills beside a softly splashing pool and contemplative sanctuary.

Colors and contours continue on to a sphere of stone and a rattle-snaked wall built by four young masons who live in New England but have earned an international reputation. Splitting 300 man hours, the collective hand-positioned 24 tons of stone to complete their exhibit. Using synergy, tension and talent, two creations grew from granite to greatness.

Antithetical to the statement of stone is a one room pastel palace or “she-shed.” Aesthetically, it’s a warm answer to uber-cool man caves. Sumptuous in its simplicity, delicious in its indulgence, the shed stands in a girl-gone-crazy, estrogen-laced garden. Complete with frilly ferns, wicker furniture and chintz pillows, the call of the she-shed may lead guests of the flower show on to the lumber yards with building specs in mind.

The theme of the event, “Nurtured by Nature,” carries throughout the exhibition creatively. Some presentations include chicken coops, some feature container herb gardens also planted with flowers and vegetables. One exhibitor colorfully coaxes gardeners to consider the plight of bees in an interactive design entitled “Planting Something for Pollinators.” With the support of Massachusetts horticulturists, www.plantsomethingma.org encourages all Massachusetts residents to help stem the Commonwealth’s declining bee population by getting dirty and planting something that attracts pollinators.

“Nature’s Classroom” is a not-to-be-missed exhibit presented by The Massachusetts Horticulture Society. Its contribution represents gardens as outdoor classrooms where families can learn and play together. Raised garden containers formed by saplings remind gardeners all plant materials are re-useable. The entwined saplings or “wattle beds” featured in this show were also typical features of medieval and colonial gardens. Filled with organic materials, wattle soil remains nutrient dense and easily tended. The beds in this design form a compass of planting opportunities around a rustic gazebo. After the flower show ends, the gazebo will be reused as a belvedere, or look-out-tower, in Weezie’s Children’s Garden which is part of the Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley. The “classroom” includes a playfully painted beehive cross pollinating the idea that plants and people share a role in environmental stewardship.

Massachusetts Horticulture Society Director of Horticulture and Education John Forti encourages vegetable planting in every garden. Beyond beauty, gardens can be a source of nourishment for the family as well food panties. Forti said each year the Gardens at Elm Bank are planted with the intention to share harvests with those in need. For home gardeners inclined to share that sentiment he suggests planting a rotation of cherry tomatoes, organic non-roasted peanuts, rhubarb or anything else that speaks to your garden and nurtures you by its nature.

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For a list of lectures, demonstrations and children’s activities at the Flower Show visit: www.BostonFlowerShow.com.

To learn more about The Gardens at Elm Bank visit: www.MassHort.org.

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