University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Jump Into Spring With A Visit To The Vermont Flower Show

Essex Junction--For a taste of spring, head to the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, March 1-3, for the 2013 Vermont Flower Show. The theme this year is "The Road Not Taken," a nod to Vermont poet Robert Frost's famous poem.

The popular event, presented by Green Works--Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association in collaboration with University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and others, will enthrall visitors with its massive, colorful display gardens; landscaped model garden railway and flower judging competition. The show also features special activities for kids, cooking demonstrations, more than 80 vendors and a full roster of seminars and educational workshops.

Hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (60 and older) and $3 for children (3 to 17). A weekend pass is $30.

Among the show's highlights is the flower judging competition sponsored by the Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont with design, horticulture and special exhibit divisions open to amateurs and professionals. The winning entries from the "Road Not Taken" student essay contest, co-sponsored by Green Works and UVM Extension, will be on display.

Vermont Certified Horticulturists will be available throughout the show to answer gardening and landscaping questions. Visitors also can attend informational seminars and workshops to learn about flower, berry and vegetable gardening; landscape design; insect pests; water gardens; ecological landscaping and other horticultural topics from experts from UVM, state agencies, garden centers and nurseries, landscaping firms and other organizations.

Keynote speaker Stephanie Cohen, a.k.a. the Perennial Diva, will give talks on "Natives with Bling" (colorful, showy perennials for the home garden) and "Perennial Garden Design" (demystifying the design process for beginners with tips and new plant combinations for experienced gardeners). Cohen, author of the Perennial Gardener's Design Primer and The Nonstop Garden, hails from Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

Other featured speakers include Dan Snow, Dan Snow Stoneworks in Dummerston, with a presentation on using stonework in garden and landscape design and Judith Irven, Outdoor Spaces Landscape Designs in Goshen, on creating a sustainable garden and the best cool-blue flowers for northern gardens. In his talk on small space gardening, acclaimed Vermont gardening expert, author and garden coach Charlie Nardozzi will cover square-foot gardening, vertical and layering gardening, container gardens and small-space composting.

UVM speakers include Ann Hazelrigg and Jon Turmel of the UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic with talks on diagnosing bugs and blights and minimizing insect damage in fruit and vegetable gardens. Jeff Young, UVM Extension Master Gardener and lilac curator for the UVM Horticultural Research Center in South Burlington, will describe new lilac cultivars and provide tips on care and companion plantings. Annie White, UVM Plant and Soil Science graduate research assistant will discuss how to design flower gardens to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Sinclair Adam Jr., Vermont Organics Nursery, St. Albans, will share interesting tidbits on the origins of plants and practices from his UVM course on the history of agriculture. UVM Extension horticulturist Dr. Leonard Perry will give an illustrated talk on Philadelphia area gardens. Perry also will serve as one of the judges for the flower judging competition and assist with the Vermont Railway Society's model railway display.

Workshops will offer instruction on canning basics, tree pruning, basic beekeeping, wet-felted flower making, the art of bonsai, building a way station for migrating monarch butterflies and creating plant containers from antiques and everyday objects. In addition, award-winning artist Shanley Triggs of Vermont H'Art in Milton will offer a watercolors class on painting flowers, petals, leaves and more.

For a full schedule of seminars and workshops along with other show information, visit