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February 12, 2009

Smith's Annual Spring Bulb Show to Open with Lecture on the Tulip by Anna Pavord

NORTHAMPTON, 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 7, through Sunday, March 22. The annual spring bulb show is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members-only hours are 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 6, at 7:30 p.m., renowned author Anna Pavord will open the bulb show with a lecture, titled “The Tulip: The Flower that Made Men Mad,” in which she will tell the story of how the tulip emerged from the wilderness of Asia to become the international phenomenon it is today. Pavord’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Stoddard Hall Auditorium. Her talk will be followed by a reception and preview of the bulb show in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory.

Pavord has written several books, including “The Tulip,” an international bestseller, and her latest book, “The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in a World of Plants,” an adventure through botanical history. She currently writes on gardening for Britain’s The Independent and The Observer.

“Tulip Mania: Five Centuries of Mystery and Madness,” an exhibit organized by the Chicago Botanic Garden, will also open to the public on Friday March 6. It will be on view in the Church Exhibition Gallery at the Lyman Conservatory through June 2. Engaging history of the tulip and colorful photography are juxtaposed on panels curated by Pavord. The exhibit highlights how the tulip became an integral part of culture throughout Europe. Complementing the exhibition are paintings by Rory McEwen from Wilfrid Blunt’s book, “Tulips and Tulipomania” (1977), courtesy of the Smith College Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Smith’s spring bulb show is a long-standing tradition of Smith College’s Botanic Garden, dating back more than 75 years. Ordinarily blooming at different times, some 5,000 bulbs are coaxed into a simultaneous blooming beginning in October when Smith horticulture students pot them up 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.

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

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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