Bulb Show

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Cas Sweeney ’19 | Associate Editor

Last Friday marked the beginning of this year’s Spring Bulb Show. The annual event kicked off with a lecture, “Stories About Seeds.” Tim Johnson, the director of the Botanic Garden presented on the history and evolution of seeds. The talk focused on the “emergence of the angiosperm plant lineage” and the impact that seed saving had on humanities growth. A reception and a preview of the Bulb Show followed the lecture.

Located in the Lyman Conservatory, the show is a fragrant, beautiful display of nature. The weather is warm in the greenhouse and the scent of flowers is immediately present when one walks through the door.

Crafting the show is a six-month project, with lots of thought and care going into the final display. This year, the show was designed a little differently — there was no specific theme. Sarah Freeberg, who works at the Botanic Garden, said, “Some people have been asking what the theme is this year, so we just tell them ‘Spring!’”

The lack of theme did not slow any enthusiasm for the event. Andrea Tulenko-Catlin and Linda Tulenko, from the town of Amherst, have been coming to the bulb show for years, and have yet to tire of the beauty. Tulenko-Catlin said “I think it’s an amazing display, all the different bulbs.” Tulenko said that “it’s a breath of fresh air,” and that she looks forward to the event every year.

Margo Nutt visited the show for the first time all the way from Vermont and shared their sentiments about the show. She said, “It’s so good after a long, awful winter to just smell the earth, you know, not to mention smelling some of the flowers.”

The Bulb Show is a constant feature of Smith’s spring semester, but that does not mean the show is stagnant. When asked about the best part of the show, everyone seemed to have a different answer.

Sarah Vespa ’20, Maria Vespa ’20 and Alessandra Pagini ’20 make it a tradition to go see the bulb show every year together. Pagini said that her favorite part of the show is the unique flowers, “the ones that [are] not the same as all the other flowers; they … stick out, but … they’re just as beautiful.”

Sarah Vespa had a specific favorite. She said, “There’s this one in [the second] room that was … purple and spiky and it looked like a cactus.” The flower she referred to is the Blue Tango and is one of the tropical flowers mixed in with the local bulbs.

According to Freeberg, those flowers, especially the bromeliads, of which the Blue Tango is one, are a special treat this year. She recommended the flower family as a specific feature of the show. She said “It’s a fun game, to try and see if you can spot the bromeliads. They’re just sprinkled throughout, so see if you can spot them.”

Whether you are visiting for the taste of spring, to see new types of flowers or just to take a beautiful photo, the Bulb Show is where you need to be. The show had its full opening on March 3 and will run through the month, ending on March 18. The event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of five dollars.