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Feb. 16, 2010

Smith College to Host Bulb Show

Opening Lecture by New York City Public Garden Designer Lynden Miller

MIXEDBULBSNORTHAMPTON, 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 (413) 585-2742.

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 planted.

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. 30.

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

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

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

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