A blast of heat and humidity hits you first, then comes the delicate scent of pansies, the warm and spicy tang of herbs or the deep perfume from a table full of heliotrope.
Mix that with the sublime fragrance of fresh soil and you have a gardener’s oasis: a greenhouse.
For me, greenhouses are wonderlands, flooding the senses and showcasing the splendor of nature. The fact that you can purchase some of that wonder, go home and plant it in your own space boggles the mind.
From annuals to perennials, shrubs to trees and flowers to vegetables, Maine’s greenhouses and nurseries produce an astounding number of plants for gardeners of all skill levels to try.
Next Saturday — May 1 — will be the first Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day, with more than 30 family-owned businesses across the state scheduled to participate with giveaways, door prizes, raffles, plants and balloons for children, planting demonstrations and more.
It’s a great opportunity to meet your local greenhouse owners and employees, ask questions and maybe come home with some free goodies.
Plus, it’s a perfect time to poke around to see what’s growing this season so you can plan what to try this year.
The Mid-Maine Greenhouse Growers Association hopes to fashion the event along the lines of Maine Farm Days and Maine Maple Sunday, annual traditions that bring people straight to the state’s agricultural roots.
A sampling of highlights for this first year include a talk by Maureen Heffernan, author of “Native Plants for Your Maine Garden,” at Hoboken Gardens in Rockport, followed by a book signing.
Kelly Roth from VitaminSea Seaweed will speak on soil amendments from the Atlantic Ocean at Plainview Farm in North Yarmouth.
In Hermon, Bruce Hoskins, aka the “dirt guy,” will talk dirt at Greencare Plantscapes, which also will do a simple pH test if you bring a soil sample with you.
From the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Lois Stack and Caragh Fitzgerald will speak at Longfellow’s Greenhouse in Manchester.
Ellis’ Greenhouse in Hudson will give away patio tomatoes and have grab bags of seed, while in Bradford, Country Junction Greenhouse will distribute copies of Discover magazine.
Check out the list of participating greenhouses across the state and contact them for more detail on planned activities.
Or just show up and breathe in the delight of Maine’s first greenhouse day.
Participating plant growers
• Sunnyside Gardens, 500 North Parish Road, Turner, 225-3998
• Estabrook’s Color Spot, 571 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, 396-5301
• Estabrook’s Color Spot, 337 East Main St., Yarmouth, 846-4398
• Land Plans Inc., 23 Island Ave., Cumberland, 347-0123
• Plainview Farm, 529 Mountfort Road, North Yarmouth, 829-5004
• Risbara’s Greenhouse, 26 Randolph St., Portland, 797-0066
• Robin’s Flower Pot, 387 Webster Road, Farmington, 778-5937
• Rockyhill Landscaping & Nursery, 55 Cemetery Road, Wilton, 645-5381
• Newland Nursery, 124 Bangor Road, Ellsworth, 667-7333
• Peddler’s Wagon, 162 Ellsworth Road, Blue Hill, 374-2145
• Fieldstone Gardens, 55 Quaker Lane, Vassalboro, 923-3836
• Longfellow’s Greenhouse, 81 Puddledock Road, Manchester, 622-5965
• Hoboken Gardens, 310 Commercial St., Rockport, 236-3023
• Country Junction Greenhouse, 1204 Main Road, Bradford, 327-1398
• Ellis’ Greenhouse, 218 Old Town Road, Hudson, 327-4674
• Everlasting Farm, 2140 Outer Essex St., Bangor, 947-8836
• Forest’s Edge Garden, 296 Main Road S., Hampden, 862-2743
• Foss Farm, Route 222, Stetson, 296-3443
• Greencare Plantscapes, 1779 Hammond St., Hermon, 848-5453
• Hutching’s Greenhouse, 445 Riverside Drive (Bradley Road), Eddington, 989-2705
• Iris Creek Greenhouse, 267 Littlefield Road, Newburgh, 234-2115
• Ledgewood Garden, 563 Johnson Mill Road, Orrington, 825-4707
• Porter’s Farm & Greenhouse, 334 Enfield Road, Lincoln, 794-8306
• Rideout Gardens, 264 Main Road, Eddington, 843-7462
• Sprague’s Nursery, 1664 Union St., Bangor, 942-1394
• Through the Garden Gate, 438 Exeter Road, Corinna, 341-0191
• Rockwall Gardens, 552 Water St., Guilford, 564-3322
• Atwoods Greenhouse, 173 Atwood Hill, New Portland, 628-4251
• Mary’s Gardens, 597 Higgins Road, Pittsfield, 487-5101
• Entwood Bonsai Nursery, 262 South Horseback Road, Burnham, 948-3244
• Cedar Lane Greenhouses, 4 Cedar Lane, Meddybemps, 454-3983
• Estabrook’s Color Spot, 97 York St., Kennebunk, 985-3772
• Steeplebush Farm Herbs, 102 Staples Road, Limington, 637-2776
For more information and websites for participating greenhouses, visit www.plants4maine.com.