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Flower and Garden Show A Welcome Distraction From Winter

Four-Day Show At Connecticut Convention Center In Hartford Ends Sunday

Crystal Maldonado

February 25, 2011

While standing in line for a ticket to the 30th annual Flower and Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center Thursday, just the sight of the red, pink and yellow potted tulips lining the entrance was enough to get the crowd chattering excitedly.

"I can't wait for spring!" one woman confessed to the ticket seller behind the window.

This was the sentiment expressed by many arriving on the first day of the four-day show in Hartford. It's an annual event but given the harsh winter, this year's staged gardens are especially welcoming. There are hundreds of vividly colored flowers — daffodils, hyacinths, hydrangeas — strewn together in 25 exhibits incorporating everything from waterfalls to gazebos. The smell of mulch hangs in the air as the pond water bubbles, a gentle breeze flutters and birds chirp cheerfully.

Of course, the bubbling water is powered by a machine, the gentle breeze is just ventilation and the chirping birds are fake, but it doesn't much matter for the throngs of people at the show: It feels as though spring has arrived, at least inside this hall.

"This is just what we've been waiting for," said Carrie Martin, a Fairfield resident who attended the show with her mother, Eleanor Martin.

The two, who spent some time seated at a small table nestled between flower exhibits and a large display of fountains, decided to visit on the show's opening day while the flowers and exhibits were "still nice, fresh, and new," said Carrie Martin. "Now we're just soaking it all in. It makes you wish it was spring."

"It's been quite a winter," said Eleanor Martin. "We're hoping that once the snow melts, we've got some flowers underneath it."

Sisters Maurine Darling of Middletown and Diane Pattee of Utah were enjoying their stroll past the exhibits, taking in the sights and sounds of spring — even if manufactured for this indoor setting.

"It's been a very long, long winter," Darling said.

"Even with this horrible winter, I still love every minute of being here in Connecticut," says Pattee, who spent the past few months in Middletown with her sister. Although Darling had attended the show in past years with her mother, it was Pattee's first visit.

"As we walk around, we keep saying 'Wow' together, at everything," Pattee said.

The sisters, both raised in Connecticut, said that the show is not just pleasing to the eyes. "I get the feeling that there's a sense of tranquility here — and maybe it's just because it's been a bad winter," Darling said.

"If you can't walk out of here feeling great, with a smile on your face, then you've got a problem," Pattee said. "I'm smiling the whole time I'm here. My cheeks are going to hurt by the time I leave."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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