Monday, March 14, 2011


I spent most of yesterday volunteering at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston helping to set up for the 2011 spring flower show which is presented by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.  This year’s theme is: “A Burst of Color: Celebrating the Container Garden”.

Volunteering meant getting up at 5:15 am (which was really 4:15 am EST) so that I could drive to Brookline and pick up Carolyn who signed us both up through “Boston Cares” a volunteer organization that matches volunteer needs in the Boston area with people who want to help. 

We had time for breakfast first and headed to “Zaftig’s” on Harvard Street.  Carolyn had a conservative and nourishing breakfast of poached eggs, toast and home fries.   Not me,  I went right for the carbs and ordered “granola pancakes” with date butter and strawberries! 

We got to the WTC a little after 9:30 am. NE Flower Show Sneak Peak 2011 016 On Sundays the metered parking on Seaport Blvd is free but we still had to ride around looking for a spot because of the flower show prep and a gaming convention. 

At 9:45 am we met up with our volunteer coordinator, Shelly, signed in with Mass. Hort and were told we could start by helping to unload the two large trucks that were crammed with plant stands, display cases, props and benches and everything in between.  NE Flower Show Sneak Peak 2011 023

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As we unloaded each truck, the aisles became more congested with exhibitors vehicles and plant materials that were being unloaded.  It was funny to see huge piles of mulch and stone in the middle of this convention center but it was also hard work navigating all these roadblocks with dollies and hand trucks while scissor-lift cranes were hanging signage at the same time.

After the largest items at the back of the trucks were unloaded and  moved to their areas, we were sent to the ballroom to help set up for the Opening Night Party on Tuesday for show sponsors and Mass.Hort’s VIP guests. 

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We did get a few behind the scenes glimpses too.  Like “The Orchid Room” where Mass. Orchid Society and Mass Hort Volunteers were primping orchids for the show. 

No show dog at Westminster got the care and attention that these plants got.  One particular orchid managed to fill the room with a scent I can only describe as “opium for the soul”.   It hit you even before you entered the room. 

NE Flower Show Sneak Peak 2011 045This is the orchid that was responsible for the perfume.

Do you remember when ladies wore orchid corsages like this flower at Easter or for weddings? 

Doesn’t this plant look like a clump of ornamental grass?   It’s actually another orchid whose sprays of tiny blossoms are only 1/16th of an inch!NE Flower Show Sneak Peak 2011 048

Here are some more sneak peeks of the show.  Before we left I got permission to walk around and take pictures of the exhibits as they were being built.  It was a long day on our feet but always fun to spend the day with Carolyn and interesting to see the displays being set up but the best part….A free show ticket as a thank you !

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More orchids, dancing ladies on the left.  The orchids on the top right are a hybrid cross of two different orchid species.  Not all of the orchids were labeled yet so I didn’t get names.

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One of the display gardens being set up for the show.  It’s amazing how fast the exhibitors got these major landscaping projects put together.

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Another shot from the back.  I’m not sure what this year’s show theme is but there seemed to be a lot of woodland type gardens being created for the show.

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This is a lighted tree-house that was being built while we were there.  During the five hours Carolyn and I were at the show they brought in the mature trees and had it almost completely landscaped.  We watched one of the carpenters put the finishing touches on  the stairs for the tree house.

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That’s a mature 8 foot orange tree in full bloom with oranges! 





After seeing this tropical patio garden I’m wondering if the theme isn’t outdoor living spaces.  If I lived in Hawaii, this is what I’d like to have in my backyard.

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This exhibitor was trimming and tweaking her trees so they’d look perfect for the judges.  You can’t believe the effort and care that goes into creating each of these exhibits.

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Another incredible display in the making. Can you believe this was built in ONE DAY!   We saw them putting together the wall on the right while we were there.

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More shots:

Crates and crates of flowers arrived and will all be planted before Tuesday.

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Look at this cherry tomatoe vine?  I wasn’t sure where it was headed, but thought it was pretty cool just standing on the side of the exhibition hall.  Here’s a close up too.!

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I hope you can make it to the New England Flower Show this year.   It runs from Wednesday, March 16th through Sunday, March 20th at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.  The info number is: 800-756-7606 or you can visit:   Update—this year’s theme is container gardening. 

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Gail Smile


  1. Wow....the show looks like it will be amazing! Thanks for the sneak peak! Wish I could go, but I'm leaving tomorrow for 10 days in CA....poor me, right!?!

    Those orchids are lovely, and I can't believe they put that rock wall up in a day! Amazing!

  2. That is going to be quite the show, would love to do my yard in gardens and ponds.


  3. WOW, how cool is that?! Never been to a show like that. Bet it would be a definite memory maker!


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