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February 18, 2011

Smith College to Host Spring Bulb Show

Smithsonian's W. John Kress to discuss plant diversity in Myanmar (Burma) in kickoff event.

bulbshowNORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College will host its spring bulb show Saturday, March 5, through Sunday, March 20, at the Lyman Conservatory, where a colorful array of blossoming crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises, lilies and tulips will offer visitors an early glimpse of spring.

The annual event is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with evening hours on Friday, March 11 and 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $2. Members-only hours are daily from 9 to 10 a.m. (Please bring your membership card.) All groups with more than ten people planning on visiting the bulb show must schedule in advance by calling (413) 585-2742.

On Friday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m., W. John Kress, research botanist and curator, Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, will give a talk based on his book “The Weeping Goldsmith: Discoveries in the Secret Land of Myanmar.” The free public talk, which will take place in the Carroll Room, Campus Center, will be followed by a reception, book-signing and a preview of the bulb show in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory.

Exceptionally rich in culture, religion and natural history, Myanmar is often cited as the last frontier of biodiversity in mainland Asia. A decade of research in Burma on plant exploration and discovery has provided Kress with a portrait of the Burmese people and their relationship to their environment as well as an inside look at the politics, religion and social life in what has been called the “forbidden land.”

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.

Three related exhibits will open at the Lyman Conservatory’s Church Exhibition Gallery on March 5—“Experiencing Plants Through Art,” “Photomicroscopy of Conservatory Microbes,” and “Kindergartners’ View of the Spring Bulb Show.”

Lyman Conservatory is wheelchair accessible. Parking is available on College Lane during the two weeks of the show. For more information, contact the Botanic Garden at (413) 585-2740 or visit the Web site at

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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