Boston’s famous flower show has been signaling the wind-down of winter since 1834. This year’s edition, The 2013 Boston Flower & Garden Show, blooms indoors at the Seaport World Trade Center Thursday through Sunday.
The theme “Seeds of Change” embraces both environmental concerns and the down-home pleasures of vegetable gardening. The dozens of scheduled presentations include tips on how to raise chickens and keep bees — two fast-growing hobbies. Ecologists will lecture on controlling invasive species and reusing water. Local chefs will show how to grow, use, and preserve herbs and produce. There will also be plenty of pops of color, such as Deborah Trickett’s lecture on creating “Jaw-Dropping, Traffic-Stopping, Get-Your-Neighbors-Talking Container Gardens.”
Most appreciated will be the instant gardens in full bloom. (If they can do this for the flower show, why can’t they do it for your daughter’s backyard wedding?) Favorite returning exhibitors include Miskovsky Landscaping of Falmouth, Earthworks of Leverett, Heimlich Nurseries of Woburn, and Peter R. Sedeck of Lakeville who includes exotic birds in his Eden-like designs. Debi Hogan and Warren Leach of Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth will contribute one of their crowd pleasing miniature gardens where 1 inch represents 1 foot in scale and a begonia does a good imitation of a Japanese maple tree while nasturtium seedlings stand in for lotus leaves.
The roots of the Boston flower show go back to 1834 when the Massachusetts Horticultural Society held its first large show in Faneuil Hall, primarily for farmers and gentlemen to exhibit their homegrown produce, especially new fruit varieties. The Concord grape was introduced at the 1854 exhibition. The Society ran the show for 137 years before its financial meltdown in 2009. This resurrected version of the show is produced by Paragon Group of Needham with long-time director Carolyn H. Weston.
But Mass Hort still has an important role. It oversees all the amateur competitions, including a floral design show and an Ikebana International Exhibit. Seven small gardens, called vignettes, trace Mass Hort’s long history, including its role in the creation of Mount Auburn Cemetery in 1831, the Window Gardening Movement of the 1870s, the School Yard Experiment of 1891, and the Victory Gardens of WWII. The noteworthy designers include Julie Moir Messervy, Paul Miskovsky, and Marisa McCoy.
There will also be educational children’s activities and the state Master Gardener’s Association on hand for your questions. For hours, ticket prices, and more information, visit www.bostonflowershow.com.
Carol Stocker can be reached at stocker