‘Floral fusion’ the theme of 2018 Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show

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‘Floral fusion’ the theme of 2018 Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show

By Kathie Raleigh / Special to The Journal As the four-day event kicks off Thursday, expect to find springtime inside the Rhode Island Convention Center — no matter what’s happening outside. PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An exit poll at last year’s Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show asked patrons what they had expected to see. The answer might seem like a no-brainer: gardens and flowers and springtime. But Blakely Szosz, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs, made it her mantra as she worked with the team for this year’s show, the second since the title was sold to the Rhode Island Builders Association. As the four-day event kicks off Thursday, expect to find springtime inside the Rhode Island Convention Center — no matter what’s happening outside. The Flower & Garden Show is a major component of the Home Show, produced by the Builders Association and now in its 68th year. It’s a good fit. As Szosz points out, “When you go into any of the big-box (home improvement) stores, outdoor living is huge.” This year’s theme is “Springtime Floral Fusion,” and here are highlights. Gardens: There’s 10,000 square feet of garden space, arranged so patrons can walk through the area and check out details, including a Zen garden, water features, hanging gardens, a greenhouse and an invention dubbed the “She Shed.” “It’s a really fun, whimsical response to the ‘Man Cave,’ a place outside where you can go to decompress,” Szosz explains. Another area is set up with patio furniture and hardscape — the walkways, walls and borders that Szosz calls “the backbone” of a garden. In all these displays, “Maybe you’ll find one component to take back home,” she says. All-design Standard Flower Show: This is where gardeners express their artistic talent in floral design. Szosz compares the competition to an art gallery. “When you go to a gallery, you like some things but you’re not going to like everything.” She appreciates that patrons form their own opinions, but she’s confident of two things. First, this year’s judges are experienced; they’ve worked and competed nationally or internationally. Secondly, with thousands of flowers worked into 48 contemporary and traditional arrangements, from tall and showy to as tiny as 5 inches, something is sure to strike your eye. Information: A pollinator garden displays flowers and bushes that attract bees, birds and other creatures, and then goes a step further with statistics on just how many pollinators each plant supports. “We’ve labeled each plant within the garden,” Szosz says. Additionally, this garden addresses the importance of using native plants. “We should plant things to support native wildlife.” A second educational element focuses on introducing young people to horticulture. Participants, recruited by Garden Club members, were given “tree cookies” — a horizontal slice from a tree — on which to build a fairy-house landscape. Their creations are on display among the gardens and, Szosz adds, “There is a sort of ‘I Spy’ game where they look for things (in […]