May 5, 2008

A busy weekend. The Seven States Daffodil Show and the New England Primula Society Show.

The judges we're gushing over this auricula grown by Judith Sellers from New York state.

A Walk at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Massachusetts

Spring weekends in May are busy enough, with all of the transplanting, dividing, seed sowing, rototilling, garden clean-up, pruning, raking, and garden center cruising, when you throw in two major flower shows - it can really get crazy. But we would not do it if we didn't love it, right? This past weekend hosted the New England Primrose Society show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA, a show we annually host at this weekend, a date which we share with the Seven States Daffodil Show.

If you have never been to a flower show, it's a routine that enthusiasts eagerly and grudgingly await for, the highlight of the year for many who love, collect and grow a particular genus. Moreover, it is a social event, a time where one can do more than meet, and compete, since these weekends are more about early breakfasts in the cold, lunchmeat luncheons with coffee and pastry, but since people drive and fly in with thier precious cargo, it is also a time of party's and cocktail events in the evening at local members' homes ( like ours), which is fun. All in all, it's a quite like a holiday, for 'family' members who connect over a passion ( plants) who exchange with thier long lost friends, gifts of highly desired plants, a cutting or a seedling, a glass of wine, and a time to catch up with gardening stories. Here, a group of like-minded people can leave spouses at home, and sit in a room of total strangers, and all have a conversation and glass or two of wine with new friends, all who have an immediate connection with a plant that they love - instant friends.

The gardens at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, a public horticultural center in the middle of Massachusetts formed twenty years ago when the Worcester Horticultural Society sold it's exhibition hall ( Horticultural Hall) in downtown Worcester, and purchased a farm high on a hill in nearby Boylston, MA) with the ultimate goal of creating a major botanic garden. Currently in Phase 2 of a long-term strategic plan, the gardens are beginning to grow into a magnificent space.

A view of the Daffodil hall where tidy rows of Narcissus species and hybrids are displayed and judged against each other, at the Daffodil Society's Seven State Daffodil Show.

Aurucula expert, Susan Schnare exhibited many of her auricla primroses, and many won blue ribbons.

A stunning auricula grown by Susan Schnare, took top honors at the New England Primula Show.

An impressive pan of Primula marginata grown by Kris Fenderson of New Hampshire.

A Late Frost

Our lovely yellow magnolia 'Gold Finch' in now more like a Gold Finch in drab winter plumage.

That Pelargonium bowkerii seedling I grew for a few years, is now frozen solid. I forgot to bring it in from the deck.

The Japanese Petasites seemed quite frozen and limp, but by noon, it's parasol-like leaves were as perky as ever.

Last Thurday night our temperatures dipped near 27 degrees F. Not unusual for this time of year, but one always wished that one could escape a damaging frost when such things as the Magnolias are in bloom. Even though this year has provided the most perfect of springs, with a deep snow, late melt, a steady and slow thaw throughout March, which lead us into April with no scary deep freezes ( we can get 90 deg. F days followed by 18 degree nights, here in New England), all in all, this has been a nice, slow spring, perhaps a little dry, but then we received 2 inches of rain this week.

But the frost, it arrived later in the week and even though most plants could handle it, the yellow magnolias of Elizabeth and Gold Finch, did not. These plants will all survive....driving to work, I can see all of the native trees in the woodland, just emerging, all looking fine. It's these dang Chinese and Japanese imports!