So who needs a whiff of spring?

Maureen Holland of Freeport, for one.

This long, snowy winter has left Holland needing just a hint that the season will end eventually so she can return to her yard, trowel in hand.

For now, “I can’t see my little pond,” Holland said Friday while her daughter Maggie, 9, kept a lookout to check off items on a scavenger hunt at the 2015 Portland Flower Show. “I wanted to smell some grass and mulch. We come to the flower show every year so I can have this experience.”

The five-day show at the former Portland Company complex on the city’s eastern waterfront gives thousands a chance to have that experience, with displays of garden setups punctuated by bright tulips, and vendors selling gardening materials as if spring were right around the corner.

The cavernous 1847 building is warmed by massive heaters running nearly full time, and the water used to keep the flowers fresh gives the inside a feeling of humidity that’s a world apart from the dry cold and mounds of snow outside.

“It’s a promise of better months and prettier things than what we’re actually looking at,” said Jane Mack, who said she and her friend Deborah Casey, both of Cape Elizabeth, make the flower show an annual outing. “We pretend we just got off a plane in Miami Beach.”

There weren’t any beach scenes at the show, but there was a small pool at the setup by Jaidan Landscaping of West Bath.

Jonathan Snell, president of the company, said he put up a small barrier to keep people from walking right to the edge of the shallow pool and falling in.

“We don’t want to have to fish anyone out,” he said.

Jane Dyer of Portland sought some inspiration during her visit to the show Friday.

“I come just for the displays,” she said. “It makes you think you can do that – although we never do.”

Joanne Sprague, the show’s coordinator, said attendance was down slightly for the first three days of the show, which runs though Sunday, but she noted that last year’s show did very well.

Sprague said advance ticket sales were up this year, but attendance was down 5 percent to 7 percent for the opening days. Naturally, the weather got blamed.

“People are just struggling with the ice and everything,” she said.

Some also were struggling with the $20 parking fee imposed by the new owner of the complex, the CPB2 design firm, which is planning a long-term redevelopment of the complex, with residential, commercial and office space on the 10-acre site.

Sprague said the parking management company, Unified Parking Partners, told her a few weeks ago that it planned to charge $10 for parking and she was surprised that the price had doubled by the time the show opened Wednesday night.

Some people who went to the show grumbled about the price, which is more than the one-day show admission price of $15. There was so much grumbling that the show’s organizers printed a flier, pointing out that the price was set by the new owner of the property and that a free shuttle bus was running on Commercial Street to take people to the show. The organizers also were helpful enough to provide the name of the parking company, the name of a contact and a telephone number in case people wanted more information.

Unlike in years past, when Sprague said there was free handicapped parking, the new owner was charging the $20 fee for handicapped spaces, although the spaces were closer to the door.

The new charge seemed “steep,” Sprague said, while noting the new owner has a right to charge whatever it wants.

In previous years, there was some free parking on the site, Sprague said, but not many spaces were available because Portland Yacht Services had to move boats from inside the building to parking areas to make room for the show.

The company moved out with the sale of the property, she said, and that gives the new owner about 300 to 400 spaces to sell – she figures that’s about 10 times the number available for free in the past.

Dan McNutt, the head of Unified Parking Partners, said the parking fee was developed in consultation with the new owner. When contacted Friday evening, McNutt said he was with one of the owners, whom he would not identify. He said he would pass on a request for an interview. The owner did not call Friday night.

McNutt said the $20 fee is comparable with parking rates at other sites in the city for special events, and said it is a reasonable charge for on-site “premium parking.”