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Smith College Bulb Show

A Turkish Delight

Robert Nicholson, Manager of the Lyman Conservatory at Smith College complained about the challenges of all the cloudy weather we have been having, but, once again, he and the crew more than met the challenge of forcing 5000 bulbs to bloom all at the same time. The Conservatory is a Turkish Delight of flower and fragrance, with all the usual bulbs, but also many freesias and delicate species tulips from Turkey.

Opening Night

On Friday evening I attended the lecture by Smith alum, Lynden B. Miller. She described the public gardens she has designed over a long career, and what she has learned about plants that work in public gardens. Fortunately, if you missed the talk you can get all that information in her beautifully  illustrated new book Parks, Plants and People.

Lynden B. Miller and her book

After her talk in the new Campus Center, attendees were invited to a preview of the Bulb Show which will run for two weeks until March 21. The Conservatory is open every day from 10 am to 4 pm. A $2 donation is requested.

Botanical Radiography

In addition to the Bulb Show, there is a beautiful and fascinating display of radiography, The Hidden Beauty of Plants, in the Church Gallery of the Conservatory. These exhibit is a collaboration between the Smith Botanic Garden, Dr. Merrill Raikes, retired radiologist and Robert B. Hallock of the UMass physics department. This exhibit will continue until September 30.

Gardens appeal to every sense. This year there is an audio installation in the Palm House, What Every Gardener Knows. This piece by Susan Hillier (Smith ’61) is presented in collaboration with the Smith College Museum of Art. It will continue only until March 31.

7 comments to Smith College Bulb Show

  • Lisa at Greenbow

    What a delightful day. I bet the scents and colors were amazing.

  • What a sight! Incredible what can be done with bulbs, even when they’re not “supposed” to be blooming. Seeing them massed together like that is beautiful. Sure must’ve brightened things up!

  • Sounds like a wonderful day. Bulbs are such a sweet, cheap thrill. I see these pics and have to ask myself: why don’t I force more bulbs in my own indoor garden??

  • Pat

    Lisa – The fragrance at the bulb show is always amazing. We can smell spring coming.
    Garden Junkie – The bulb show is an amazing sight. I heard a neighbor say his first snow drops are up in a sheltered spot – but not 5000!
    Kate – I didn’t force any bulbs at all this year, and I have no idea why not. Wait til next winter.

  • I am so glad to see this Pat. I had wanted to go but was not up to it… last year was so fun to walk around the greenhouse at night. I will have to look for Ms. Miller’s book.

  • Oh and you have great photos here!! ;>)

  • Pat

    Carol – I appreciate the kind words about the photos. I found out that using my simple camera at night in the greenhouse was less than ideal.

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