The Vermont Flower Show

Categories: Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Much like the Shameless Commerce division of Car Talk, I’m veering slightly from the ‘educational institution’ blog to plug one of the finest things you should be doing this winter, which is attending the Vermont Flower Show at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, on March 4-6.

It’s been my pleasure to help set up this show for many, many years (10, 15?) I was the central display designer twice-a herculean task that was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I look at set up for the show much like baseball players going to spring training, the smell of soil and green plants, the movement of mulch fork and shovel getting your muscles in shape for the upcoming year.

I’ll tell you what goes into the display, but you won’t believe me. More than 150 yards of mulch ( a yard of mulch fits in the back of a small pickup truck), an entire commercial greenhouse of forced bulbs, hundreds of perennials, and trees and shrubs forced for blooms as well. Yes, entire trees. We’re a little crazy, admittably. And that’s just the plant material. Read about more of the design for more of the scoop, including a sketch of the design.

What makes the construction of the flower show all the more remarkable, though, is the hardest to explain. At most flower shows, individual landscapers and garden centers construct their own booths, miniature landscapes amongst a green mall for a week or weekend. In Vermont, though, the green industry is a little smaller, and not many firms have the resources to pull off a booth of forced plant material. So, many years ago, the Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association teamed up to hold a flower show, then at the Sheraton, where everybody got together and built one central display, for the betterment of the industry on the whole. Competitors the rest of the year, everybody teams up and shares tasks, and creates a spring world inside on a snowy weekend.

There are many other things to do at the show as well, not just walking through the central display. The admission price alone is a steal for all the talks and hands-on seminars that are possible to attend, and kids have their own room to ‘craft’ in as well. There are even cooking demostrations, along with vendors selling gardening merchandise, and plants. I dare you to walk out of there without some forced flowers in your hand.

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