Smith, Mount Holyoke prepare spring flower shows

  • Sanjiv Gupta and Kate Wellspring and their niece, Gretta Darling, 3, all of Northampton, get a close-up view of the 2017 Spring Bulb Show, “Fields of Flowers,” in the Smith College Lyman Conservatory on Monday, March 13, 2017. This year’s show runs March 3-18. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Lily Carone, horticultural assistant, left, and Tom Clark, director of the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden, organize tulip bulbs Jan. 18, 2017, for the school's annual spring flower show last year. This year’s show runs from March 3 to March 18. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 2/20/2018 10:17:54 PM

NORTHAMPTON — For two weeks next month, anyone in need of a dose of beauty, color and fragrance will be able to find it all at Smith College in Northampton and Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley.

The Botanic Garden at Smith is holding its annual Spring Bulb Show at the Lyman Conservatory — featuring blooming crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises, lilies and tulips — from March 3 to March 18. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 8 pm. Friday through Sunday. (The show is open for members only from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.)

The Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden is holding its annual Spring Flower Show at the Talcott Greenhouse during the same period, with thousands of flowers, including tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, pansies and more, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The show’s theme is “Gateway to Spring,” and it will feature a sculptural installation created by art students.

Both shows are free to the public. Mount Holyoke’s bulb show is in it’s 47th year, and Smith’s has been around since the early 1900s.

“We force all of the bulbs to bloom in a two-week period,” said Madeline Zadik, manager of education and outreach at the Smith College Botanical Garden. “All of the flowers bloom together and the fragrance and sight of all of those colorful flowers is really magical.”

To get the bulbs to bloom during the two-week period, students put them into cold storage in October to simulate a period of winter dormancy. At the right number of weeks before the show for each species, the students bring them into a warmer environment to stimulate growth and blooming.

“The process is all about correct timing and keeping the bulbs at the right temperature,” Zadik said. “It’s both a science and an art.”

After the show ends, the public can purchase many of the bulbs from the show. That sale runs at Mount Holyoke College from March 19-23, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and at Smith College on March 23, from noon to 3 p.m. and March 24, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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