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Gardening and More: Get a start on spring at Botanical Gardens

SEE AND SMELL – Spring flowers such as fragrant lilies and cineraria in an exciting electric blue at the Spring Flower Show April 5-27 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. It’s one of several spring events planned. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko.

HAMBURG — Spring always arrives a little earlier at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens than it does in your backyard. The folks at the Botanical Gardens plan it that way.

The Spring Flower Show will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, April 5-27 at that facility, located at 2655 South Park Ave. in Buffalo. Tickets will be available at the door and cost $9 for adults, $8 for seniors (ages 55 and older) and students (13 and older with ID), $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for garden members and children younger than three.

Kicking off the show is the Taste of Paradise party,from 6-9 p.m. April 4 at the Botanical Gardens. The event includes a preview of the Spring Flower Show, food from area restaurants, tropical drink tastings, a live steel drum band and a raffle. Tickets are $40 and are available at the Botanical Gardens website at www.buffalogardens.com or by calling 827-1584, ext. 204.

In your garden, you might have crocuses, but you’re probably still waiting for tulips. At the show, you can see both at the same time. To make sure that they have flowers in full bloom for the show, the staff forces the bulbs to bloom earlier or later than they would if they were out in a garden.

The bulbs for the show are planted in October and November, then the pots are placed in a refrigerated room in the basement. Spring flowering bulbs usually require a rooting period of 12-15 weeks, at temperatures between 41 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to produce a good root system. This is essential, if the bulbs are to be forced into flowering.

You’ll see many traditional favorites, along with some show-stoppers. This year, there will be yellow fritillaria or crown imperial, a plant that I’m not familiar with and am looking forward to seeing. It gets bell-shaped flowers that are said to be quite showy.

There will be several varieties of allium, which delight kids as well as adults because of their huge size. Giant allium gets 4 feet high or taller, with bell-shaped blooms of green and pink. Sicilian honey garlic gets 3 feet tall, with pendulous flowers in cream and purple that have a sweet, honey-like scent. They have wonderful gray, spiraling leaves that complement the spring landscape.

One of my favorite spring flowers is the hyacinth, because its fragrance is so lovely and powerful. There will be nine varieties of hyacinth, at the show.

In all, the show will exhibit 10,000 plants from bulbs.

For the kids, the Spring Flower Show has an area called Farmer Brown’s Animals with bunnies, chicks, a lamb, goats, a donkey and more, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. The Easter Bunny will also visit the gardens from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 12, 13, 18 and 19. This is included in admission.

An Easter egg hunt for children 7 and younger will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 19. It takes place outside, so participants are advised to dress for the weather and bring a bag or basket to collect eggs. The hunt is pre-registration only and sells out every year, so register early. The cost is $8 for children and grandchildren of Botanical Garden members and $10 for children and grandchildren of non-members. After April 1, and all prices will increase to $12. You can register online at www.buffalogardens.com. Hunters are also admitted free to the Botanical Gardens, on that day.

Have some fun with all the springtime events at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.


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