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Gardening & More: Get an early start on spring at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens

SPRING HAS SPRUNG — See and smell spring flowers such as fragrant lilies and cineraria in an exciting electric blue at the Spring Flower Show April 5 – 27 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. This is just one of several spring events planned. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko.
[Photo1]HAMBURG — Spring always arrives a little earlier at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens than it does in your backyard. Those folks plan it that way.

The Spring Flower Show will take place from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on April 5 – 27 at the gardens, located at 2655 S. Park Ave. in Buffalo. Tickets will be available at the door and cost $9 for adults; $8 for seniors aged 55 and older, and students aged 13 and older, with identification; and $5 for children aged 3 – 12. Admission is free for garden members and children younger than 3.

Kicking off the show will be the “Taste of Paradise,” a tropical party, from 6 – 9 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at the gardens. The event will include a preview of the Spring Flower Show, food from area restaurants, tropical drink tasting, a live steel drum band and raffle prizes. Purchase the $40 tickets at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens website, www.buffalogardens.com, or call 827-1584 ext. 204.

You might have crocuses in your garden, but you are probably still waiting for tulips. See them both at the same time, during this show. The staff ensures the flowers to be in full bloom for the event, by forcing the bulbs to burst earlier or later than they would if they were out in a garden.

The bulbs for the show are planted in October and November; the pots are then placed in a refrigerated room in the basement. Spring flowering bulbs usually require a rooting period of 12 – 15 weeks at temperatures between 41 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to produce a good root system. This process is essential, if the bulbs are to be forced into flowering.

Attendees will see many traditional favorites, along with some show-stoppers. This year’s event will feature yellow fritillaria, or crown imperial, a plant that I am not familiar with and am looking forward to seeing. It gets bell-shaped flowers that are said to be quite showy.

Several varieties of allium will also be on display, which delight kids as well as adults, because of their huge size. Giant allium can grow up to 4 feet high or taller; they have bell-shaped blooms of green and pink. Sicilian honey garlic can grow to 3 feet tall, with pendulous flowers in cream and purple that have a sweet, honey-like scent. They have wonderful gray spiraling leaves that complement the spring landscape.

One of my favorite spring flowers is the hyacinth, because its fragrance is lovely and powerful. The show will display nine varieties of this flower.

In all, there will be an exhibition of 10,000 plants.

The “Spring Flower Show” will welcome kids to an area called Farmer Brown’s Animals, which will feature bunnies, chicks, a lamb, goats, a donkey and more, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., daily. The Easter bunny will also visit the gardens from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on April 12, 13, 18 and 19. This is included with admission.

An Easter egg hunt for children 7 and younger will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 19, outside; participants should dress for the weather and bring a bag or basket, to collect eggs. The hunt is available by preregistration only and sells out every year, so register early. The cost is $8 for children and grandchildren of garden members and $10 for the youth of non-members.

After April 1, all prices will increase to $12. Register online at www.buffalogardens.com. Hunters will also be admitted free to the botanical gardens, on this day.

Have some fun with the springtime events at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.
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