Looking For a New"" Flower Show?

hunt4carlJanuary 30, 2013

It's that time of year when posts start appearing discussing the various
flower shows available in New England. . .so here's my annual "head's up"
for anyone willing to venture a few miles beyond the western Connecticut
border to Sussex, NJ, for a visit to SPRINGFEST, my favorite small garden
show held on the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

It's the perfect setting for a winter garden show, inside several huge glass
greenhouses. . .I've attended on balmy, early Spring days - and when there's
a foot of snow on the ground! Way less expensive than other shows (less
than $10), plenty of free parking, and the best darn food tent I've EVER
encountered at these kinds of shows. It is definitely NOT the Philadelphia
Flower Show - which is also coming up the first week of March - but it's
country setting lends it a charm all it's own.

Day trip, anyone?


Here is a link that might be useful: Springfest Garden Show

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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Carl, it sounds interesting but would be an overnight trip for me coming from Providence. Would need two hotel nights and 6 hour drive each way. I hope you get to go though!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:48AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Looks very interesting, Carl. We're not planning to visit the CT or the RI Flower shows this year because both have become less about gardens and more about vendors. Also, I checked the maps and this show is only a bit over 2 & a half hours from us ---- easily be done in a day, especially since you say it's not overwhelmingly huge.

We're actually looking for a flower show with MORE new approaches to gardens and plants rather than a focus on so many non-garden products and vendors; this looks like it might be just right. You say you were impressed with this event and so I'm wondering what there was about the Springfest Garden Show that appealed to you (the setting? information you picked up? plants to purchase?) besides the "best darn food tent" ---- which certainly kicks it up a few notches as far as I'm concerned!


    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Carl - you had me so excited when you said 1st weekend in March. Since we are planning a long extended weekend trip that weekend. But this show is actually the 3rd weekend in March - the 14th thru 17th. So we will be back home then. I haven't made a hotel reservation and this looked like just the thing. Maybe next year?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:44PM
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O.K. Here's what I can tell you about this show: I have gone every year for the past six or seven years (with a friend) and we have always come away feeling
good about it. . .mind you, we have just staggered through the massive
Philadelphia Flower Show (a two-day event for me) a mere two weeks before
each visit to Springfest. The contrast couldn't be more striking. . .so what makes
this show so appealing?

First off, the setting is ideal, mostly under glass. . . and what could feel better
than strolling through a greenhouse on a cold winter's day? Second: the
smaller scale is so user-friendly. . .at the Philly show, there are times that you
feel that you are going to be crushed by the mobs (Side Note: after years of
practice, I've finally figured out how to beat the crowds in Philadelphia. . .I'll
share if anyone wants to ask!) Yes, there ARE a fair number of "landscaper"
displays, but they're not offensive. . .most of the crafts are very "garden
related", also some fresh honey and wine, but NO mops that I can remember.
Several years, there have been a couple of booths reminiscent of a Country Fair: little chicks and rabbits, hutches and such. A terrific birdhouse builder one year, real works of art, but I haven't seen him back in the last couple of years.

Discovered one of my favorite new mail order sources at Springfest, a New
Jersey native (been to her farm!), perfectly named "Peony's Envy" (see
below). . .they were a young start-up company about five years ago, but
they caught on fast, and don't you know, they turned up with the BIG players the very next year at the Philadelphia Show!

Several excellent NJ nurseries have plants available, also a good selection
of bulbs (for summer), and one amaryllii specialist - last year, there was an extraordinary booth selling all the newest "Jacob" series of hellabores, for a pittance! Different years there have been great offerings of garden pots and statuary - don't expect lavish garden displays (again, like Philly), but some are good, others mediocre - last year, however, a newcomer blew my socks off with one of the tightest, most interesting, garden displays that I've seen in years. And that's why I keep going - because you never know what you'll find.!

Finally, the food tent has always been better-than-average. . .just a single
vendor, lots of tables and chairs, clear plastic walls so you can gaze out at
the frigid world beyond, VERY reasonable prices - and when was the last
time you could order fresh, homemade butternut squash soup at one of these events ??? If your schedule allows, I recommend attending on Thursday
or Friday, rather than the weekend. . .and keep checking their website for
the schedule of lectures - we enjoyed hearing Ken Druse in our first couple of years, since he was heavily involved with Springfest (he lives and gardens
and writes his fabulous books not far away).

If anyone decides to attend, let me know here, or via E-mail, and you'll have
yourself a tour guide - although one is definitely NOT needed. Remember:
think small and casual, and you won't be disappointed. . .


Here is a link that might be useful: Peony's Envy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:09PM
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I'm going to the trade show, New England Grows!, next week, and I hope to get over to the Rhode Island show, Feb 21-24. There's one in Boston too, March 13-17, but I haven't looked into it at all - not yet!

NJ is a long drive for me, but one of my sisters lives in Mendham, which is close to this. So, thanks for the heads up, Carl - maybe I'll try to get down there for this one.

It looks like there will be some good speakers, and the show's web site is full of eye candy.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:56PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Diggingthedirt, I'm intrigued by the show "New England Grows!" Never heard of it before. I found its website, but it seems I'd have to be a professional to attend. Is this so? The registration form has a line for one's pro membership, and I don't have any. How can I get a ticket?


    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:56AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Thanks, Carl, for your comments about the Springfest Flower Show.

I checked but it doesn't appear that the owner of Peony's Envy will be at Springfest this year. I've actually bookmarked her website because we were thinking of driving down there some day in the spring, which would be a better time to bring home a peony anyhow.

And then there was the possibility that (an economical) Jacob series of hellebores might also be offered again this year at a booth--- do you remember that retailer's name? I'd like to check for him/her on the listing.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:49AM
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I've seen Peony's Envy at a couple of shows - Philly, I guess, but also Boston 1 year, and maybe PVD too. Love their plants - expensive, but own-root stock, really choice.

Carol, it seems you got your NE Grows ticket, but for anyone else who wants to go, I know my "badge" says I'm from a friend's real estate office, so I don't think they're very fussy about your professional affiliation.

NE Grows is an interesting event, but it's not nearly as much fun as the actual flower shows. The displays tend to be things like seed racks, with seed packets that are not even for sale - it's aimed at the horticultural business people. There are tools for sale, from shears up through gigantic back hoes; some clothing (which you could use if you were a tree guy) but hardly any plants at all. I go whenever I can, because I'm DESPERATE for anything having to do with gardening by this point in the year.

There will be some good talks, too.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Looking forward to SpringFest - I'll see if I can post some photos, or at least some kind of report.

I might try to combine this with a visit to the NYBG or maybe Wave Hill. Wave Hill has a 'behind the greenhouse' tour on Saturday - hope the weather's good enough for that.

One of my sisters lives near Sussex, NJ, and one lives in Riverdale, in the Bronx, so this should be a weekend of horticultural delights for me

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:52PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I don't know whether this is on the way for anybody, but RareFind Nursery is having their opening day on Saturday, March 16.

For the Camellia enthusiasts:

"2013 Camellia Celebration Talk

Join us on 2013 Opening Day for an exciting and informative talk featuring Randy Kobetich as our speaker! Randy is a former judge for the American Camellia Society and has been growing camellias for over 20 years. He's extremely knowledgeable and will discuss growing these beauties up North! Learn about the selection, care and culture of cold-hardy camellias, both spring and fall bloomers. We'll also have a large selection of camellias for sale. Cost: $5.00 (with light refreshments)"


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:51AM
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If you're considering a visit to RareFind (which is just
down the road from me), my suggestion would be to wait until the azalea/rhododendron season in May and June,
when you can wander through their five acres of sandy
woodland (it's the beginning of the NJ Pine Barrens) and
marvel at simply hundreds of blooming specimens. . .
other than that, it's not a "knock-your-socks-off" place,
just interesting plants, knowledgeable staff, and rather
pricey. Yes, I shop there, but sparingly. . .


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:46PM
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