Smith College to Host Bulb Show
Mass.—A spectacular array of blossoming crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises,
lilies and tulips will provide an early glimpse of spring at Smith College’s
Lyman Conservatory from Saturday, March 6, through Sunday, March 21. The annual spring
bulb show is open to the public daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with evening hours from
6-8 p.m. on Friday, March 12 and 19. The suggested donation is $2. Members-only hours
are daily from 9-10 a.m. (Please bring your membership card.) All groups with more
than 10 people planning on visiting the bulb show must schedule in advance by calling
On Friday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m., internationally renowned
garden designer Lynden Miller (Smith Class of 1960) will open the bulb show with
a lecture, titled “Parks, Plants and People,” in which she will discuss
the critical role of gardens and plants in urban landscapes. Miller’s lecture,
which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Carroll Room, Campus
Center, located on Elm Street. Her talk will be followed by a reception, book signing
and preview of the bulb show in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory.
Miller is the director of the Conservatory Garden in
New York City’s Central Park, which she rescued and rejuvenated in 1982. Trained
as a painter, Miller brings an artist’s sensibility to her work. She earned
a master’s degree in studio art at the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s
degree in art history at Smith and studied horticulture at the New York Botanical
Garden. For 25 years, Miller has focused on the improvement of parks and gardens
throughout New York City.
Believing that beautiful and well-maintained public
green-space can change city life, she has taken a new approach to public horticulture,
creating rich plantings that provide interest year-round. After 9/11, Miller secured
a gift of a million daffodils to serve as a living memorial to those who died. In
the spring of 2002 they bloomed to raise the spirits of New Yorkers and beautify
parks everywhere. The Daffodil Project continues with more than 3 million daffodils
In 1995, Smith honored Miller with a Smith College Medal,
describing her as “one who uses the beauty and enchantment of public gardens
to instill new pride in communities and change the personal and public experience
of urban life.” Her book “Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the
Urban Landscape” was published to public acclaim in 2009.
The Botanic Garden’s spring
bulb show is a 100-year-old Smith College tradition. Ordinarily blooming at different
times, some 5,000 bulbs are coaxed into a simultaneous blooming. The process begins
in October when Smith horticulture students pot them and put them into cold storage.
Starting in January, the bulbs are transferred to the greenhouses and, with careful
timing and temperature control, are ready for their colorful debut in March.
“The Inner Beauty of Plants” is an exhibit
on display in the Church Exhibition Gallery of the Lyman Conservatory during the
bulb show. This exploration of light, vision, X-rays and flowers is a collaboration
between the Botanic Garden of Smith College, retired radiologist Merrill C. Raikes,
M.D., and University of Massachusetts physics professor Robert B. Hallock. Astonishing
floral radiography displays the interior structure and texture of flowers, revealing
an unseen world of delicacy and beauty. The exhibition is on display through Sept.
Visitors will experience an additional sensual treat
this year. “What Every Gardener Knows” is an audio installation that
runs through March 31 and is presented in collaboration with the Smith College Museum
of Art. This electronically-timed carillon plays music composed by artist Susan Hiller
(Smith Class of 1961), which will be heard in the Lyman Conservatory’s Palm
House, one of Hiller’s favorite parts of campus when she was a student. Originally
commissioned for the exhibition “Genius Locii” in Stadtpark Lahr, Schwarzwald,
Germany, in 2003, the piece is based on Gregor Mendel’s theory of inherited
traits in plants. Hiller’s musical version of Mendel’s code reiterates
and celebrates the variety and richness of genetics and inheritance patterns that
characterize all living things.
The Botanic Garden is wheelchair accessible. There is
a suggested donation of $2 requested for the bulb show. Parking is available on College
Lane during the two weeks of the show. For more information, contact the Botanic
Garden of Smith College at (413) 585-2740 or visit the Web site at www.smith.edu/garden.