Each year, various horticultural societies and other sponsors across the country provide us with a breath of spring in the form of flower and garden shows held at public venues, such as convention centers, sporting arenas, or auditoriums. Some are large, grand affairs that have been around for many decades, while others are just getting their footing. What they all have in common is an excitement that a new gardening season is about to begin, with new plants to try and wonderful new gadgets to make your gardening chores a pleasure. It’s worth it just to smell the damp soil and marvel at how designers can move and install an entire garden in a day or two.
What to Expect at a Garden Show
Whichever you attend, you can expect:
- Garden landscape displays
- A vendor area with plants, tools, and gifts
- Seminars by garden experts
- Floral displays by local pros and garden clubs.
Quick Tips for Fully Enjoying a Garden Show
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a tote bag to carry all those impulse buys.
- Bring a sweater. Garden show officials usually keep the temperature a little low to keep the plants and flowers looking their best.
- The best time to take in a show is on a weekday evening. By 4:00 p.m., most visitors are making their way back home and the crowds have become less oppressive.
- Many garden clubs, cooperative extensions, and other organizations sponsor day trips to nearby shows, saving you the tiring drive after you've been on your feet all day.
- Don't overlook the seminars and demonstrations. You'll learn a lot and the time spent off your feet will give you a second wind to walk around and learn some more.
Flower and Garden Shows by State
Here's a sampling of shows that take place in the spring.
The Maricopa County Home & Landscape Show takes place in March at the University of Phoenix. The SW Home and Garden Show, which debuted in 2009, has now merged with the Maricopa County Home & Garden Show. They offer a little bit of everything including home improvement, design, and landscaping, showcasing the unique gardening culture of the southwest, where tomatoes ripen in winter and giant saguaro cactus share space with lavender hedges.
- University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Dr., Glendale, AZ 85305
The San Francisco Nor-Cal Flower and Garden Show is traditionally held in April at the historical Cow Palace. The four-day show has a broad range of displays, exhibits, and seminars, many of which require extra fees. Local schools are invited to participate, by having classes design container gardens for the exhibit.
- Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Cow Palace, CA 94014
The Colorado Springs Home & Landscape Expo is held in February at the Norris Penrose Event Center in central Colorado Springs. It is an inexpensive indoor/outdoor show with exhibits and demonstrations for all areas of your home and garden.
- Norris Penrose Event Center, 1045 Lower Gold Camp Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
The Connecticut Flower & Garden Show is a four-day event held in late February at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. There are usually over 300 garden vendors, about 80 hours worth of seminars and 45,000 sq. ft. of displays to remind you that spring is just around the corner.
- Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Avenue, Hartford, CT 06103
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a long-lasting display show held at various dates in February through late May at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, FL. The 2020 event runs from March 4 to June 1. All the Disney attractions are known for never having a flower out of place, so you can just imagine what it's like when they decide to put on a show. Expect lots of color and over-the-top fantasy with Disney character topiaries.
- Disney's Epcot Center, 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
The Atlanta Botanical Garden Flower Show is a three-day juried exhibitor's show held in late February at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. After several years without a show, the Atlanta Botanic Garden has resurrected the Flower Show on their grounds, as an annual event.
- The Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
The three-day Boise Flower & Garden Show has been held annually for nearly 25 years in late March, at the Boise Centre. The show includes more than 100 displays, with seminars and lots of shopping, from plants to decor to furniture.
- Boise Centre, 850 W. Front St, Boise, ID 83702
The Chicagoland Flower and Garden Show occurs in late March at Navy Pier in Chicago. At five days, it is one of the longer garden shows in the U.S. There are lots of great displays and lectures on all aspects of gardening and design, as well as tablescaping and The Garden Gourmet.
- Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue, Festival Hall A & B, Chicago, IL 60611
The Boston Flower and Garden Show, another of the oldest flower shows in the country, stretches over five days in mid-March, at Boston's Seaport World Trade Center. Offerings include exhibits, lectures, and lots to buy.
- Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA 02210
The Minneapolis Home and Garden Show usually takes place the last weekend in February, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The show features more than 1,000 home and garden experts and celebrities sharing knowledge, along with hundreds of retail exhibits. This well-attended show is a welcome respite from the end of the northern winter.
- Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403
The Flower & Garden Show of New Jersey normally takes place at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, NY, in March or April. The four-day event is hosted by the Garden Club of New Jersey. The show was canceled for 2020.
- New Jersey Convention and Expo Center, 97 Sunfield Ave, Edison, NJ 08837
GardenScape is held for five days in mid-March at The Dome Center just outside downtown Rochester, NY. Often compared to the Philadelphia Flower Show, GardenScape has been listed in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal as one of the best flower shows in the country.
- The Dome, 2695 East Henrietta Rd, Henrietta, New York 14467
The Capital District Flower & Garden Show is a three-day event held in late March at the Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY. This show is known for its excellent seminars and the opportunity for individuals and groups to familiarize themselves with the area's major growers. The local Master Gardeners will do soil testing and there is a "Tips for the New Gardeners" feature. New York State wineries also participate. The show includes more than 190 retail vendors.
- Hudson Valley Community College, 80 Vandenburgh Ave. Troy, NY 12180
In Charlotte, NC, the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show is held on consecutive weekends at the end of February and beginning of March, at The Park Expo and Conference Center (formerly the Charlotte Merchandise Mart). This Home and Garden Show encompasses a little of everything, from indoor/outdoor design to travel and shopping. There's a Green Marketplace with plants, tools, and other temptations.
- The Park Expo and Conference Center, 800 Briar Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28205
The Philadelphia International Flower Show offers a full week of activities at the beginning of March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This is still the big one, with 10 acres of displays and wares, plus great seminars, each focusing on a different theme. Sponsored by the Philadelphia Horticulture Society, this show has been held most years since 1829. It is arguably the most prestigious of all flower shows held in the U.S.
- Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show occurs over four days in early April, at the RI Convention Center in Providence, RI. Held since 1994, this show features exhibitors selling a wide variety of items for your home and garden. This show is often paired with another theme, such as energy, classic cars, or home improvement.
- Rhode Island Convention Center,1 Sabin St., Providence RI 02903
The Nashville Lawn & Garden Show takes place over a long four-day weekend at the end of February at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in southern Nashville. The Horticultural Association of Tennessee presents one of the largest garden shows in the south. Expect big things, with acres of display gardens, vendors from 16 states and a full line-up of seminars.
- The Fairgrounds Nashville - Expo Center, 500 Wedgewood Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
Dallas Blooms is the biggest floral festival in the Southwest U.S., and one of the longest-running. It opens in February with hundreds of thousands of blooming bulbs and runs into April with more than 3,000 azaleas in bloom. Held at the Dallas Arboretum, this is an event that is worth a special trip to witness.
- Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218
The Vermont Flower Show takes place every other year in early March, at the Champlain Valley Exposition, in Essex Junction, VT. (The next show is March 5–7, 2021).
- Champlain Valley Exposition 3625, 105 Pearl St, Essex Junction, VT 05452
Virginia Beach, VA
The Virginia Flower & Garden Expo is the first major flower show of the year, held in late January at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, VA. Held for more than 30 years, the Virginia Flower & Garden Expo aims to bring together residential landscape design, garden practices, art, vendors, in an educational experience like no other garden show.
- Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
The Spring Capital Remodel & Garden Show is held in February at the Dulles Expo Center, in Chantilly, VA. This is said to be the largest garden show on the east coast, with acres of display gardens and over 800 vendors representing 41 states.
- Dulles Expo Center, 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA.
The Northwest Flower and Garden Show takes place over five days at the end of February, at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, WA. This is the third-largest flower and garden show in North America, with 6 acres, 25 full-scale gardens, and over 120 free seminars. It's run by gardeners who know what we want to see.
- Washington State Convention and Trade Center, 705 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101
The Garden Expo takes place at Spokane Community College in Spokane, WA on the second Saturday in May. here are over 200 garden-related vendors, including nurseries, garden stores, suppliers and manufacturers, garden artists and crafters, and horticulture organizations, as well as garden experts to answer all your questions.
- Spokane Community College, 1810 N Greene St, Spokane, WA 99217
International Flower and Garden Shows
Here's a brief list of some of the better foreign garden shows:
The Chelsea Flower Show is held for five days each May, on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, London, England. This is the granddaddy of flower shows. If you can make it there, it’s sure to be worth the trip. You’ll see the finest collections of flowers in the world and display gardens created by the world’s leading designers, all competing for the top prizes.
- Chelsea Royal Hospital, Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4SR
The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show occurs for five days each July, at Hampton Court Palace, in East Molesey, Surrey. This show doesn't have the cache of the Chelsea show, but it's still a delight. With over 30 acres of display gardens added to the already existing formal palace gardens, be prepared to spend several hours wandering about. Also be prepared to buy, because some of England's best growers are there with their wares. Lots of new introductions find their way into gardens through this venue.
- Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
Canada Blooms: The Toronto Flower and Garden Show is a long 10-day festival that occurs each March at the Enercare Center in Toronto, Ontario. Canada Blooms gets better every year. The NY Times has called it one of the top three shows of its kind in North America. If you’d like to try your hand designing next to some of the foremost international designers, Open Hort is an opportunity for non-professional exhibitors to display. There are four different stages going non-stop with over 200 hours of seminars, workshops, and demonstrations.
- Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
The Singapore Garden Festival takes place every other year in July in Suntec, Singapore. The Singapore Garden Festival "...is the first garden show in the tropics to bring together and showcase creations from the world's top award-winning garden and floral designers under one roof." It includes gardens from Australia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom and the U.S., but the tropics are the obvious draw here and what makes this show so enticing.
- 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953