March 8, 2010

Just in time for winter-weary Mainers: The 2010 Portland Flower Show.

By Tom Atwell
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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This 2008 display for the “Urban Retreat” show was the creation of Cozy Acres Greenhouse of North Yarmouth.

2008 Press Herald file

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Estabrook’s display from last year. This year, people will see a lot of what they liked in the past, says director Jan Love. “I think people come specifically to see the gardens,” she said. “...Winter is a struggle for a lot of people. Then you have the smell of the flowers and the mulch, the sound of the water, and you can see spring coming.”

2009 Press Herald file

Additional Photos Below


WHERE: Portland Company Complex, 58 Fore St.

WHEN: Preview is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Show runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 14.

AUCTION: The Cumberland County Master Gardener auction of plants begins at 5:30 p.m. March 14. A silent auction will be held 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 14.

CHILDREN’S GARDEN: Located on the second floor, the children’s garden will include a scavenger hunt and craft activities.

HOW MUCH: Advance tickets are $13 ($12 for seniors) at Hannaford stores, Skillins, Allen Sterling & Lothrop, O’Donal’s, Estabrook’s, Kennebooks, Sawyer & Company and Moody’s Garden Center. Tickets at the door are $15. Opening-night tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door.


All of this can get expensive.


Estabrook said he will probably begin forcing plants that cost $6,000 or $7,000 before taking into account greenhouse and labor expenses. The costs of creating a garden for the flower show rise from there.

“I would say with forced plant material and hardscape and fencing, we typically spend upward of $30,000 for us to do the show,” he said.

“This includes staffing the show and the week before to set up and the week after to take down.”

The expense is factored into the company’s marketing, especially now that Estabrook has stores in Scarborough and Kennebunk to go with the original one in Yarmouth.

But the expense also is part of the reason more companies are teaming up to put together gardens for the flower show.

Marstaller’s company deals in wholesale, and while he does have a vending booth at the flower show, he thinks it helps his wholesale business as well.

“We overload our garden with color because that is what we sell,” he said. “I think people like that. We don’t do woodies, because we don’t sell those.”

It is hard to measure if the show helps Marstaller’s wholesale business.

However, he knows that some of the people doing rock work and other hardscaping can come away with a list of up to 50 names of people interested in having work done at their homes.

Love thinks the show will have good attendance this year. Last year, there weren’t flower shows in Boston or Bangor, and the Portland show had paid attendance of 14,997.

The Boston and Bangor shows have come back this year, but both are smaller than they were in the past.

“Maybe people liked enough of what they saw last year that they will come back this year,” Love said.

Staff Writer Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:

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Additional Photos

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This is the 2009 best-in-show garden by O’Donal’s Nursery and Landmarc’s Inc. landscapers. The theme for 2009 was “From the Mountains to the Sea.”

2009 Press Herald file

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Daffoldils and tulips in an Estabrook’s display at last year’s Portland Flower Show.


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