March 3, 2013

Portland Flower Show: These buds for you

This week, the Portland Flower Show will put a spring in your step with loads of fresh blooms, ideas and inspiration.

By Meredith Goad
Staff Writer

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Visitors to last year’s Portland Flower Show study a winning display from Jaiden Landscaping.

Gabe Souza/2012 Press Herald File

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Environments shows Jackson Fischer of Lisbon Falls how to operate the model train on Paquette’s display at the opening of the show in 2012.

Chris Paquette of Robin’s Nest Swimming

Additional Photos Below


WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday (gala opening); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 10

WHERE: Portland Co. Complex, 58 Fore St. A free shuttle runs along Commercial Street with stops at Angelo's Acre, the Fish Pier parking lot, Dimillo's Restaurant and the Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal. For parking information, go to

HOW MUCH: $13 ($12 for ages 65 and older) in advance; $15 at door. Opening gala costs $30 in advance; $45 at door.

INFO: 775-4403;

HERE'S AN OVERVIEW of the lectures that will be given during the Portland Flower Show. For more description and detail, go to: series


10:30 a.m. -- Special children's program, "Encountering Wildlife: The Do's and Don'ts of Approaching Maine's Wildlife," with David Sparks of Sparks Ark and some live animals

Noon -- "Feasting from the Garden Year Round," with Barbara Damrosch of Four Season Farm. Book signing will follow.

1:30 p.m. -- "Garden Photography: Tips for Using Your Digital Camera" with Gail Anderson, whose photographs have appeared in Horticulture and other national magazines

3 p.m. -- "The Cary Award," a program to promote outstanding plants for New England gardens, with Jeff O'Donal of O'Donal's Nursery

4:30 p.m. -- "Creating Edible Perennial Gardens the Permaculture Way" with Lisa M. Fernandes of the Portland Permaculture group


10:30 a.m. -- Special children's program, "Encountering Wildlife: The Do's and Don'ts of Approaching Maine's Wildlife," with David Sparks of Sparks Ark and some live animals

Noon -- "McLaughlin Garden: Timeless Plants, Timeless History" with Kristin Perry, director of horticulture at McLaughlin Garden and Homestead

1:30 p.m. -- "Back to Eden: The Timeline of Plants and Flowers Highlighted in the Bible" with Rev. Dr. Frank M. "Sonny" Gada, regional director of the Biblical Botanical Gardens Society of the USA

3 p.m. -- "Long Blooming Perennials" with Cheryl Rich, professor and department chair of the horticulture department at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland

4:30 p.m. -- "What Was Learned in the Construction of Phase One of the Arboretum at Fort Williams Park" with Rick Churchill, founder of the horticultural program at SMCC and one of the founders of the Arboretum


10:30 a.m. -- "Iron Will: 6 Years Into the Development of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens" with Rodney Eason, director of horticulture and plant curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay

Noon -- "The Ever Unfolding Journey into the Unique & Creative World That Inspires Ted Carter" with Ted Carter, landscape designer, contractor and author

1:30 p.m. -- "The Rise of the American Garden" with Terry Hire, fine art photographer, interior designer and member of Maine Photo Alliance

3 p.m. -- "The McLaughlin Garden: The Evolution of a Timeless Landscape, 1840-2013" with Lee Dassler, one of the founders of the McLaughlin Foundation and executive director of the Western Foothills Land Trust

4:30 p.m. -- "Beware of the Invading Pests" with Tim Lindsay, manager/arborist representative of Bartlett Tree Experts


10:30 a.m. -- "Pruning as a Plant Wishes We Would" with Mike Hughes, owner of Hughes Inc. Arbor & Land Management in Yarmouth

Noon -- "Mrs. Thrift and the Portable Cook's Herb Garden" with Betsy Williams, teacher, writer and lecturer. A book signing will follow.

1:30 p.m. -- "The Eastern Promenade -- History With a View!" with Diane Davison, founding member and president of Friends of the Eastern Promenade, and chairperson of the city's Parks Commission

3 p.m. -- "Actively Tending Your Woods" with Kevin Doran, natural science educator with the Maine Forest Service



WHEN: Silent auction 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 10; live auction at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Portland Co. Complex, 58 Fore St., Portland. The silent auction will be held in Building No. 11; the live auction will be held in Building No. 3.

HOW MUCH: Free admission. Benefits the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden at Tidewater Farm and the Maine Harvest for Hunger Gardens in Cumberland County.

INFO: (800) 287-1471 (in Maine); 781-6099. Visit to view the list of donations.

"I think as a culture, we really are losing our connection with natural worlds," he said. "Even the aviary -- you don't need to have an ornamental pheasant, you could have a few garden chickens and collect some eggs from them. But there's some living things in your garden. There's something moving and interacting."


Other highlights will include a model train exhibit, which will make its second appearance at the show. "Kids love it," Sprague said. And the book store outside the lecture hall will be back, because Books a Million agreed to sponsor it.

Estabrook's garden center, a longtime flower show participant, will not be designing a garden this year, Sprague said, but will be decorating the entrance to the flower show and showing off its new line of "Hort Couture" plants.

When it's all over on March 10, exhibitors will be donating many of the flowers, flowering shrubs and small trees from their gardens to be auctioned live at the Cumberland County Master Gardener Plant Auction that afternoon.

Vendors and businesses from the greater Portland area have also donated a lot of non-gardening-related items for a silent auction, ranging from culinary gift sets to yoga classes.

The auction typically raises $6,000 to $11,000 for a good cause. This year, the proceeds will go to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden and the Maine Harvest for Hunger Gardens in Cumberland County.

In the market for 500 square feet of sod or a funky-looking garden fence? The plant auction's got you covered.

The auction list also includes a field-dug Currier McEwen iris (a pop star of the iris world), 7 cubic yards of gravel or soil, a 2-ton boulder and two pick-up truckloads of sheep manure.

"To people that are die-hard gardeners, that's really primo stuff," said Amy Witt, a horticulturist at the Cooperative Extension. 

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:


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