Flower show a wake-up call for spring
■ Featuring a 'New American Garden,' the eighth annual event is expected to draw over 30,000 visitors.
By MARIANNA RZERKA
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
It’s a jump start to the season, the traditional harbinger of the year’s greenery.
The annual Ann Arbor Flower and Garden Show, which runs from April 3-6 this year, can act as a wake-up alarm for gardeners who have been in hibernation for the past six months.
“This is kind of Ann Arbor’s spring festival,” said Paul Little, project designer at the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens, which sponsors the annual event. This year’s show will be the eighth.
The idea is to present the public with ideas in gardening, he said. “We want people to think gardening is part of their lives, not just plopping things here and there,” Little said.
More than 30,000 visitors are expected to travel through the exhibits this year at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds on Ann Arbor-Saline Road.
Only about 35 percent of those people will be from the Ann Arbor area, said Faye Traskos, Matthaei’s flower show manager. The rest of the crowd will be from widely scattered areas, mostly in Michigan, she said, including the Detroit area, Toledo, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing.
The theme for this year's show is ‘‘An American Bouquet,” with the featured garden titled “The New American Garden,” which incorporates a walk through a forest, a meadow and a prairie.
The theme will be earned through display gardens that depict a Martha’s Vineyard cottage, a spring Appalachian scene and a Spanish-influenced California garden.
Other smaller exhibits will include one from the city of Ann Arbor. “A Woodland Garden Walk" display, that includes native Midwestern plants.
Ypsilanti will have an exhibit of “The Victorian Gardens of Depot Town,” that emphasizes the country’s small towns.
Other exhibits include:
■ “American's Gateway to Oriental Gardens," a Japanese-style garden gateway by Great Northern Jangles, of Milford.
■ “The Melting Pot,” that blends native and exotic plants with various shapes, colors and textures. The display is by Lodi Farms Nursery.
■ “A Room with a View,” by Abbott’s Landscape Nursery, includes an island garden with a bouquet of cut flowers, and a view of a garden.
■ “American Splendor,” showcasing the plant named as “Hosta of the Year” by the American Hosta Society. Bordine Nursery of Rochester Hills sponsors the exhibit.
■ “The Mill Pond,” by The Flower Market in Monroe, will include an old mill powered by a small stream.
In addition, more than 500 businesses and individuals will enter 8-by-8-fbot displays that will be eligible to win the 200-plus prizes to be awarded by a group of 60 judges.
Also featured at the show will be “Rosie's Diner,” a 20-foot-long reproduction of a 1950s diner, presented by a design club with the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan. A photo display of great American gardens, including the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens and the Henry Ford Estate, also will be And more than 40 vendors will be at the show to sell plant and gardening items, including plants, arts and crafts, antiques and landscape services.
As part of the show, a drawing will be held to give away a fully automated greenhouse, with cedar shelves and a work station. Visitors can enter their names in the Antique’s Market area.
The show is wheelchair-accessible, and strollers are permitted. There is free parking at the site, but organizers encourage visitors to park at Briarwood Mall and take a free shuttle bus to the show.
Traskos suggests the best time to stop by the show is when crowds, especially those from out of town, are sparse. “The evenings are lightly attended,” she said, “but Saturday and Sunday are a zoo.”
The show will kick off with an opening night preview at the Farm Council Grounds from 7:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, April 2. Keeping with the American theme, music at the preview will come from a jazz band and a gospel choir. There also will be American beer and wine, as well as appetizers.
Guests can bid for items, such as a stained glass window designed for the show, at a special auction during the preview.
Tickets for the preview are $50 in advance, $60 at the door, and can be ordered by calling the botanical gardens, 998-7002.
And after the show is over, you can go home with a part of an exhibit. The gates of the exhibition buildings will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, then re-open at 5:30 p.m. for an hour, so exhibitors can sell some of the plants on display at rock-bottom prices.
It’s an idea that has been tried at other shows around the country, Traskos said. It will be entirely up to the exhibitors as to which bulb, bush or even tree they will sell, she said.
Check the accompanying “Coming in April” box for show hours and ticket prices.
1997 Ann Arbor Flower and Garden Show
Here is a look at this year’s Flower and Garden show which will be held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds (5055 Ann Arbor - Saline Road). Thursday, April 3 through Saturday, April 5. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, April 6 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
COMING IN APRIL
When: Thursday through Sunday, April 3-6.
Times: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 3 through April 5; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 6.
Location: Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline
Flower & Garden Show
What’s there: The show will feature more than 500 displays and exhibits, including a Marketplace with about 40 vendors. Nearly 200
awards, ribbons and trophies will be given out at the event, which is sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Tickets: Can be bought in advance at Kroger’s and at the Michigan Union ticket office. Tickets are $8 for adults in advance, $9 at the door; $3 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under are free. Senior tickets are $8 on April 3 and 4.
Parking, buses: There is free parking at the site, but parking at Briarwood and taking a free shuttle bus to the show is encouraged.
Ann Arbor Flower & Garden Show
Gardens & Gardening
Fairs & Festivals
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Great Northern Jungles
Lodi Farms Nursery
Abbott's Landscape Nursery
Clubs & Organizations
American Hosta Society
Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan
John Hollowell Associates Inc.
Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds