Did I hear? Yes, there it is! The glorious song of the red-winged blackbird! They have arrived back at their nesting grounds as the marshes start to thaw. To me, it is a sign that spring is right around the corner. When the sunshine begins to feel a little warmer on my skin, the birds start to sing their mating calls, and buds begin to appear; I can sense that a new season is being ushered in. Excitement builds as I take a stroll around the yard. I observe snow melting, peony buds at soil level just starting to emerge, buds on my lilacs and blueberry bushes-small but present, and a few brave garlic shoots that have stuck their heads out of the ground. They, too, are all telling me that spring is on its way.
Another telltale sign of spring is when our local greenhouse, Adams Fairacre Farms, holds its annual spring garden show. The Adams family started with a 50-acre farm and a small farmstand back in 1919 and has grown to include four store locations. They added their first garden center in 1960, and they will hold their 38th Annual Lawn and Garden Show this year. I have been attending this event for many years now, and it is always a delight. Each year it seems to arrive precisely when I think I can’t possibly bear to be away from nature’s bright colors and flowers any longer. The dull grey skies of winter are just starting to give way to the sunshine, and I am ready to get back in the garden.
The Adams landscape crew spends several weeks converting part of their greenhouse into a garden show, highlighting their landscaping installations and plants available for purchase. When you step into the show, it is like being transported into another world. The cold, grey winter you just came from is left at the door as you step into the warmth of the greenhouse in full bloom. It is not uncommon to see ponds, waterfalls, patios, walkways, fountains, and gazebos intermixed with flowering trees, shrubs, bulbs, annuals, and perennials-all of which are sited indoors within the greenhouse. Various wildlife statues, hidden among the plantings, await children to find them as part of the garden show’s annual scavenger hunt. As you stroll through the displays, you forget for a time that you are indoors and not actually out in nature visiting someone’s garden.
This year, due to COVID protocols, the show had some slight changes. Capacity was limited, and the paths that normally meander had a designated one-way route. There were also no seminars or vendors this year. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, mere days after I attended the 2020 Adams Garden Show, the world shut down. This year, I visited the greenhouse early in the morning and had the show practically all to myself. An older woman was also there, enjoying the view while leaning on her walker. Although it was invisible behind our masks, we both smiled at one another. We had a brief, socially distant conversation about how beautiful the show was and how we appreciated it all the more because of the past year. Yes, we needed this.
The temporarily erected beds burst with colorful blooms in shades of red, white, yellow, pink, and purple. Spring bulbs, including tulips and daffodils, showed off their cheery personality among flowering shrubs of hydrangea, lilac, and azalea. A large fountain provided the soothing sound of running water as I strolled along the path. Cheeky garden gnomes peered out from behind the foliage as if begging me to come and join them. Everywhere I looked, flowers bloomed, and plants demanded my attention. The optimism, joy, and serenity that the displays generated were palpable, and I could feel my spirits lift as I walked among the garden beds.
It isn’t easy to choose my favorite part of the garden show this year, as just being able to walk among the flowers was extraordinary. Perhaps it was the miniature garden display with its small village and train set among succulents and pint-sized daffodils and tulips. Or the meditating garden gnome statue that put a smile on my face. The vegetable garden display also spoke to me, probably because I miss my edible garden so much this time of year. However, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time at this year’s garden show.
The show itself runs for just over a week, and in years past, I’ve found myself visiting several times within that span, simply because it makes me happy. I’m sure this year will be no different. I like to be reminded that spring is coming and that soon I’ll be able to enjoy flowers not just within a greenhouse but within my garden. Until that day comes, I am thankful for field trips like the Adams Spring Garden Show.