A garden oasis drew in hundreds of nature lovers out of the cold and into the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center early on Saturday morning. In the Seaport from March 13 to March 17, the Boston Flower and Garden Show exhibited 20 garden displays and hosted dozens of shops. While foot-traffic was heavy, the tranquil sounds of garden fountains and streams could still be heard over the chatter. Bursts of color and the fragrance of fresh flowers filled the room with excitement for spring.
Landscaping and design companies were allotted large platforms in the event space to create intricate garden displays. Garden businesses spent days setting up their displays, according to Samantha Mannarino, owner of Samantha’s Gardens in Andover. She started her display with a water feature and trees, and was there for three days to perfect her garden area.
The amount of work spent on the gardens was reflected in every aspect of the display. Mannarino’s garden housed a large wooden structure with flowing white curtains, candles, cushions, and a Tibetan singing bowl. While the show-stopping meditative scene and bubbling waterfall captured the attention of admirers, the details of stone placement and patches of moss tied the whole piece together.
“The Buddha makes me feel very calm,” Mannarino said while looking over at a hovering Buddha statue over the pond. “I went to an agriculture school where I studied animal and plant science. My real love is cows. I married a dairy farmer. I used to milk in the morning and garden all day.”
Another garden with a similar zen atmosphere as Mannarino’s was the gong-adorned, mossy landscape created by Maria Sadeck of Interiors by M.S.
“I’m an interior designer with a background in gardening,” Sadeck said. “I went to Japan and South Korea and brought back a lot of inspiration.”
She looked over to the authentic gong in front of the outdoor seating area.
“People bang the gong and make a wish,” Sadeck said. “The vibration of the gong makes people feel calm.”
Even though the display seemed impeccable to those passing by, Sadeck thought that something else could have been added.
“The only thing missing in the display is incenses. I respect the other people who may not like the smell,” she said. “I’m going back to Asia this fall. This time I’m visiting larger cities like Tokyo and Shanghai.”
Across from Interiors by M.S. was Terrascape Designs. Andy Hughson, owner of the company, explained the intent of his garden as “being a place for family.” Brick paths lined with lilacs merged together into a sculptural gazebo surrounded by pops of pink and orange flowers.
Everything in his display is an antique, he said, as he pointed at brass gates and benches in his garden. His garden was adorned with unique metal sculptures of koi fish which could be purchased at a stand nearby. Hughson also mentioned that he is looking for summertime college employees to drive and put plants together.
“I’ve been to the show many times before,” said Ann, a visitor from Southie. “But this is my first time in a few years. It’s so relaxing to walk around all the gardens, especially the ones with water features. They have a lot more shops than in the past.”
An array of shops did line the periphery of the gardens for those feeling inspired. Stands of fresh cut flowers were popular, along with artisan jewelry and gardening tools. There were even art galleries, such as The Art of Seed and insightful displays relating to Creating Botanical Art.
Each day of the show also included a series of lectures and demonstrations. Whether it be farming, table cooking, herbs, starting your own garden, or beekeeping in the city, there were topics for all kinds of nature enthusiasts.
“My wife and I used to garden a lot but it takes too much time now,” said Mark from Lowell. “So we really appreciate these setups and all the work that it takes.”
His favorite was the garden with gigantic, whimsical flower pots that gave the garden an Alice in Wonderland feel.
Gardeners and non-gardeners alike can appreciate the beauty of the displays and the hard work that goes into creating them. The annual flower show offers inspiration for spring and an escape from the last chills of March.
Featured Image by Eleanor Grondin / Heights Contributor