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class learn the basics of bulb ecology and anatomy in lecture. They then immediately apply their newfound knowledge in the laboratory session, by planting over 5000 bulbs in 1000 pots. These pots are transported downstairs to our bulb cellar where they are kept at 40ºF for 10 to 12 weeks. We start to bring bulbs up in early January, and by the end of the month spring begins to whisper to us.
Last year’s show was the first in which an accurate count of visitors was kept. We surprised even ourselves by drawing over 13,000 visitors during the two-week period. Had not a winter storm curtailed one weekend’s visitation we surely would have surpassed 15,000. Our debut of this year’s floral performance will be the evening of Friday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m. To add a little more pop and fizz to the affair we have recruited renowned plantswoman Mary Ann McGourty to deliver a lecture which draws upon her hard won knowledge of gardening. Her slide lecture, "Ground Covers and Bulbs: The Finishing Touches," will give every gardener among us new ideas on how to combine these crucial garden elements with
plants from other areas of the garden (see the calendar of events).
This year we are including our traditional palette of bulbs such as tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, crocus, and muscari. These bulbs all hail from the Mediterranean region, but each year we try to obtain or propagate bulbs from other areas of the world. We are trying to force Calochortus, the beautiful Mariposa lily from California. We also are growing or starting from seed a variety of bulbs from the wonderfully diverse bulb flora of South Africa. Though these may take years to grow to flowering size, where else could you expect to see Cyrtanthus obliqua, Gladiolus oppositiflorus, or Lachenalia viridiflora than at the spring spectacular of the Lyman Conservatory?
n an effort to better serve our visitors and the campus community, the Smith College Botanic Garden is
experimenting with an expanded set of hours for this year’s Spring Bulb Show. We will be having two
special evening programs in addition to the opening night festivities on March 5.
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