In case you haven’t heard, the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show 2012 opens at 10:00 am Thursday, February 23 and runs daily through Sunday, February 26. It features many Connecticut-based nursery and horticulture-related businesses and organizations under one roof so visitors get a taste for what’s available once the local gardening season really begins humming.
If you’re one of the Nutmeg State garden and plant lovers still undecided about visiting the show perhaps one of the reasons I attend will help you decide to do the same.
- It’s Local. It puts a face on nurseries, garden- and landscape-related vendors, and horticultural organizations Connecticut residents are most likely to use and seek advice from. Some of my favorite booths at past shows include Ballek’s Garden Center (this year at booths 900 and 902, and Landscape #2) for their fragrant welcome, inspiring display, and sage advice; Adam’s Watergardens (this year at booth 1052 and Landscape #6) and Pondering Creations (this year at Landscape #9) for creative water garden ideas; and Connecticut Greenhouse Growers and Connecticut Nurserymen (this year at Landscape #7 and #16, respectively) for their CT grown plants.
- It’s in February, in my mind the dreariest month of Connecticut’s year. I need the emotional lift I get walking by racks of blooming plants and smelling spring bulbs and potted herbs.
- I can touch things. I can test how a pruner or other gardening tool feels in my hands, try on gloves,feel the weight of pots and planters, or check out the construction of a product I might only have seen in magazines or on a website. Plus, many vendors run special show prices which can save money.
- I collect information. By the time my visit is complete my tote bag is heavy with plant and product catalogues. Not yet a Connecticut Gardener subscriber? Sign up at booth 831, get a glimpse of the latest issue, or pick up some back issues at a reduced price. Learn about Connecticut Historic Gardens at booth 413. Pick up soil sample kits at the UConn Master Gardeners booths (#415 and 417) or, better yet, bring a soil sample for free testing there. You can learn about Master Gardener classes, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (booth 555) and its local chapter CT NOFA, The Connecticut Horticultural Society (Landscape #1), and many other local groups, or sit through one of the numerous gardening seminars.
- I go with friends. This is the best part. I share my hours sniffing scents, noting plants, and taking in the start of the growing season with gardening friends. We compare observations, discuss experiences and make plans for future gardens.
Don’t go to the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show expecting something on the larger scale of the Boston or Philadelphia flower shows. Go with a local eye to meet and greet the plant, landscape and hardscape resources you are most likely to deal with on a regular basis in your own home state.
On the whole, it’s a great way to spend a February day in preparation for gardening thoughtfully in 2012.