From this past Thursday morning until last night, the UConn Home & Garden Education Center, the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory and Master Gardener Coordinators and Volunteers staffed our booth at the CT Flower & Garden Show. We weren’t sure how big a turn out to expect as in the past we have found that the more severe the winter, the greater the show attendance – probably because folks really needed encouragement that spring was on the way. This year, however, despite the warm winter, the show was packed! We must have performed more than 250 free soil pH tests and answered hundreds of gardening questions. The large number of soil pH tests was obviously due to the fact that most soils were not frozen solid – in fact there are many areas that only have frost in the top inch of soil – and that’s only on colder days.

Answering questions at the Flower Show

There were a lot of vole and deer control questions and many folks wanted suggestions for dealing with some of the diseases their vegetables, especially tomatoes, had been plagued with last summer because of all the rain. Moss in lawns was also a frequent topic of discussion and many visitors have heard of the boxwood blight that is infecting these lovely evergreens and wanted to know more.

The CT Flower & Garden Show has a lot to offer, from incredible landscapes to a multitude of vendors of largely garden related items, to the creative arrangements by Federated Garden Club members. I think I counted over 200 exhibitors in this year’s flower show program! The work that goes into some of the landscape displays is awe-inspiring! Years ago a company I worked for had an exhibit in the Boston Flower Show and the amount of time, effort, gardening expertise, and physical labor that went into designing, growing and setting up a landscape display left a team of us exhausted but happy with the outcome.

The CT Flower Show also gives local plant societies a place to introduce themselves to potential new members and give folks advice. One could find out information on African violets, bonsai, rhododendrons, orchids, carnivorous plants and much more. Representatives from UConn’s EEB Greenhouse and Invasive Plant working group were there to share their resources.

The theme for the juried Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticuts floral arrangements was ‘The Fabulous Fifties’ and there were so many creative, fun and artful entries it was hard to pick favorites, never mind winners. I would have had a tough time deciding who the awards should go to as all the entries were wonderfully creative.

Here’s some that caught my eye!

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The above 3 pictures taken by Clinton Morse, UConn EEB

Till next time,

Happy Gardening!

Dawn