Narcissus, Tulipa & Fragrant Hyacinth: Smith Botanic Garden’s 2018 Bulb Show

March 7th, 2018 § 0 comments

Tulipa, Narcissus & Sweetly Fragrant Hyacinth at Lyman Conservatory

It’s 3:30 p.m. and snow is falling steadily here in Southern Vermont. The forecast is calling for 5-8  inches overnight. These late winter storms can really give a gardener the blues, but I knew this nor’easter was coming, so I prepared. Bread and milk? Oh, no, no, no. Tulipa, Narcissus and Hyacinthus, thank you very much. I skipped the grocery line and did my pre-storm prep at Smith College Botanic Garden’s 2018 Bulb Show at Lyman Conservatory . . .

Layers of Beauty: Narcissus & Tulipa Stepped Below a Regal Cycad in Lyman Conservatory

Gloriously Fragrant: Deep Violet Hyacinth with Osteospermum & Primula

Classically Arranged Tulips and Daffodils Surround Statuary, Backed by Columnar Thuja

Visiting the Smith Botanic Garden Bulb Show is great fun, of course. However, it can also provide wonderful design inspiration for your own springtime garden. I love seeing how the show is curated each year. With beautifully combined tropical plants and wild tangles of bare and blooming native branches, 2018’s Bulb Show is a strong thematic departure from last year’s Impressionist-inspired installation. The color combinations and fragrant selections were particularly stellar this year.

Bold Color & Texture to Inspire: Red Twig Dogwood & Pussy Willow Branches Combine with Hot Hued Tulips and Clivia at Lyman Conservatory

If you’ve popped a few daffodils in here and there, but never seriously considered planting bulbs en masse, visiting a spring bulb show or a large public garden in April or early May is quite likely all the convincing you’ll need. Looking critically will also provide evidence for why the creation of a well-considered design and planting plan is so important. Flower color, fragrance, form, texture, foliage and plant height are just a few of the obvious considerations when planting spring bulbs. Bloom time and length of flowering, moisture and sunlight requirements, drainage, foliage yellowing/die-back and perennial cover as well as nearby shrub or tree companions must all be taken into account. Bulb shows provide the perfect opportunity to spot flowers you like and combinations you prefer, in real-time. Take a notebook and use your camera to snap shots of plant tags as well as individual flowers and vignettes.

Stepping Up and Back on the Stairs to Observe the Drifts of Color in the Planting Scheme at the 2018 Smith Botanic Garden Bulb Show

Nothing compares to the joy of the first blossoms of springtime. If you happen to be in Northampton, Massachusetts between now and March 18th, 2018, I highly recommend a visit to the Spring Bulb Show in Lyman Conservatory at Smith College’s Botanic Garden. Visiting hours are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday extended hours 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The suggested donation is $5 per person. With so much fragrance and color, it’s like stepping out of a black and white film, on over the rainbow, and into the Land of Oz.

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