Where It’s At ... Maine’s annual Flower Show

“It was such a pleasure to sink one's hands into the warm earth, to feel at one's fingertips the possibilities of the new season.” - Kate Morton, “The Forgotten Garden”
Wed, 03/13/2019 - 1:00pm

The Maine Flower Show in Portland each March is always a joy, that something to look forward to in the midst of spring snow and mud month.

Last year, the stonework garden exhibits were spectacular! For those of you who went last year, the People’s Choice Award went to Billy Goat Landscaping – the design featured an antique truck … My favorite Natural Stone and Maine Grown Plants featured a gorgeous stone table and seating surrounded by gorgeous plants by Terrapin Pierson- TJ Dewan. It also won an award. Last year was really cool … the best year to date. The displays and varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees were outstandingly inspirational.

One of the best things about going to the annual flower show is the earthy and floral scents wafting through the air. It just makes you want to go outside and dig. Plant. Repeat. So, the demonstrations led by gardening experts are on my list.

This year’s show “A Walk In Maine” will feature gardens visitors can walk through including water scapes and stone structures; interactive environments ... Oh baby! Thirteen display gardens, 115 exhibits … a veritable gardener’s playground it is!

The vendors run the gamut from well, flowers, to seeds and baby plants; gardening tools, soils, stone, and garden decorations to gemstones, coffee and … over the top confections by To The Queen’s Taste out of Massachusetts. I mean, oh, my, God … your tastebuds will clamor for satisfaction … but, look away! Run away! from the temptation – if you can! Those of you who have been to the flower show know the vendor of which I write.

Another, less caloric option is to feed your head by going to a talk or workshop or two held throughout this glorious event. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Irene Brady Barber’s program “Gardening With Ease” is on Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m. Irene is a horticulture program coordinator, educator and registered horticultural therapist at CMBG. She’ll be sharing design strategies and methods gardeners can work with reduced pain – good news for those of us with arthritis, knee, back and joint pain!

Other program topics include growing perennials, how not to treat your soil like dirt (Downeast Turf Farms), English paintbox gardens (!), how to grow dahlias, hydrangea, peonies, and how to make seed bombs. And that’s not all of them! For complete details visit https://maineflowershow.com

Premiere night is Wednesday, March 27 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, March 28 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30 – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, March 31 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking is the tricky part of the annual adventure, at least it is for me. Enter the show via the “brick south” building at 8 Thompson’s Point (Exit 5A off I-295. Drive around the Portland Transportation Center and the road takes to the Point – however, there is construction going on there so a free shuttle service is being provided from the Maine Mall at Gorham Road and Philbrook Avenue (across from Hannaford) and the Italian Heritage Center at 40 Westland Ave., off Congress Street to and from the show. Directions from other starting points are on the show website.

Remember to bring: a small notebook and pen to write down the names of oh, say, lilacs or unusual shrubs that would look mighty fine in your yard; a few shekels, your imagination, curiosity and sense of humor ( it is always quite crowded there). Here’s to the possibilities of a new season!