135th New England Spring Flower Show in Boston
Complete with a blinking lighthouse, bursts of fog, and the sound of gulls and waves, this authentic looking sandy dunescape welcomes visitors to the 135th New England Spring Flower Show in Boston.
Photo courtesy of Mass. Horticultural Society

There's still time for flower show visit!

By Pat Waring - March 16, 2006

Some Vineyarders look for robins and ospreys and others wait for the first lamb. But for our money the annual New England Spring Flower Show in Boston is the most inspiring harbinger of the season you can find. This 135th Massachusetts Horticultural Society garden extravaganza burst into full bloom last Friday at the Bayside Expo Center with more than five acres of lush exhibits.

Whether you're looking simply for an uplifting break from our gray March landscape, seeking ideas for sprucing up your yard, or seriously searching for information on types of plants, design options, and garden maintenance, the flower show will satisfy your needs.

Walking through the big doors of the cavernous Expo Center to find it filled with mini-forests and elegant formal gardens is breathtaking. "Welcome Home! Celebrating Our Great New England Landscape" is this year's theme, reflected in nearly 40 gardens, landscaped entryways, and back yards we would all love to call our own, done by professional landscapers. It's what a gardener's summer dreams are made of - a tea table set amidst the herb garden, Adirondack chairs waiting beside flower beds, even a back-yard putting green. Sounds of cascading fountains, bubbling brooks, and bird calls fill the air.

Area garden clubs have gone all out to create dramatic designs, while junior horticulturists have fashioned educational and inspiring exhibits.

Vineyard visitors will feel at home when they view the atmospheric dunescape installation, complete with beach grasses, seashells, a sandy path beside a lighthouse, and even fog! And they will take a second look when they catch a glimpse of a trio of Tom Maley dancers tucked into a woodland display.

The stats are impressive: two million blossoms, 1,500 varieties of plants, trees, shrubs; 20 tons of rocks and boulders. The show is the second largest in the U.S. and third largest in the world.

When you're tired of just looking, there's plenty of shopping. More than 250 vendors offer plants, garden tools, supplies, and landscaping and greenhouse paraphernalia. And the society's booth displays a wealth of books. There are tempting options for lunch and snacks too, so plan to make a day of it and celebrate spring!

Directions: From the Cape take either Rte. 3 or 24 north to Interstate 93-N. Exit at either #14 or #15 and follow signs to Bayside Expo Center. On the MBTA, take the Red Line to JFK/UMass for free shuttle. Tickets $20, military and senior $17, student $12, children $10.Visit or call 617-474-6311

Watch for more Escapes in future editions of The Times.