Mount Holyoke bulb show offers color, ‘a little bit of spring’

This article originally appeared in the Tuesday, March 12, 2013 issue of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. See Mount Holyoke's gallery of images from this year's flower show.

By Etta Walsh

Gazette Contributing Writer

Hundreds of spring-blossoming bulbs and plants are showcased at the annual spring flower show through March 17 at the Botanic Garden at Mount Holyoke College.

Amherst resident Cheryl Wilson, garden columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, said Mount Holyoke’s bulb show is “a more informal show” than many others, which makes it an ideal spot for home gardeners to gather landscaping ideas for their own gardens.

“I do think that home gardeners can take away real design ideas as well as ideas for combining bulbs with herbaceous plants,” she said.

The show is free and open to the public. It runs daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the college’s Victorian-era Talcott Greenhouse, off Park Street.

Greenhouse manager Russell Billings called the event “lovely and peaceful.”

“It’s really colorful,” he said. “Everyone wants to see a little bit of spring right about now.”

This year’s show theme is “Primavera” (Spanish for “spring”), featuring a reflecting pond, terra-cotta urns and herbs set among flowering shrubs and plants. Also showcased are hyacinths, freesia, narcissus, ipheion, pansies, daffodils, lachenalia, crocuses, tulips, snowdrops, primroses, cineraria and cottage-garden favorite salpiglossis, also known as painted tongue.
Also featured will be anemones, ranunculus, scilla, muscari and calceolaria, or pocketbook plant.

The greenhouse has plants from all over the world used for research, education and aesthetic purposes, Billings said. The collection includes orchids, bromeliads, cacti and succulent ferns, aquatic plants, begonias and ivies, along with other plants from tropical, subtropical and temperate zones.

The conservatory, with its warm, humid atmosphere, showcases larger tropical specimens such as banana plants, bamboo, ficus and palms, along with small citrus trees, anthuriums and crotons.

The greenhouse is wheelchair accessible and groups are welcome. For information, visit the visit the Botanic Garden website or call the greenhouse at 538-2116.