BANGOR, Maine — Spring is in the air, and Mainers are ready to start planting flowers and think about seeding their gardens, and there is no place better to get ideas and some greenery than the 20th annual Bangor’s Garden Show.
“We’ve got a lot of good ideas,” said Jerrett Greenleaf of Milford who attended the show with his wife, Alexi.
Freshly blooming flower displays, one more beautiful than the other, greet those who enter the Bangor Auditorium for the three-day event, which started Friday and would be open until 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday.
The displays are put together by area companies competing for the gardenscape blue ribbon — given out each year — and are set up to give gardening design ideas to attendees.
“We just bought a new home, and it’s a clean slate with 2 acres of lawn,” Jerrett Greenleaf said after he, his wife and nephew Teddy Hanson looked through a display book of before and after landscaping shots. Attending the garden show was a first for the couple, who arrived thinking they would add a couple of trees to dress up their new lawn.
They left with “a lot of different ideas, better ideas,” Alexi Greenleaf said, “ideas for our wallet.”
She admitted her husband is the one in the family with the green thumb, and added with a smile, “I’m not allowed to touch them. I’m not even allowed to water them.”
The show features 52 booths of garden-related products and services, and a few selling fresh breads, fudge or chocolates, paintings, pottery and jewelry.
The smell of freshly cut and blooming stargazer lilies drew many customers to one booth that also sold stargazer bulbs, a hardy flower that thrives in Maine’s climate.
Folks from Winterport Winery, one of several featured demonstrators, were on hand to teach attendees how to cook local foods with local wines. There also were artful contest displays for cake decorating, floral arrangements, designing scarecrows and paintings, both professional and amateur.
While some attendees at the show were looking for garden ideas, others were there just to smell the flowers, including Nicole Leighton of Ellsworth, Judy McMahan of Bangor and her daughter Janice Marchese of Brewer, who stopped by the show after participating in Saturday morning’s Hike for the Homeless. Gene and Barbara Wilbur of Parkman have attended the show for the last five years to “see the spring flowers” and to support Gene’s brother who owns Flagstones of Guilford.
The annual garden show ran consecutively in Bangor for 18 years until 2009, when a one-year hiatus was taken for financial reasons. The city of Bangor revived the show last year, which is when Corinna resident Sonia Cianchette, owner of Through the Garden Gate, decided to have a display.
“I thought people who come to a garden show should be able to buy plants,” she said, surrounded by two displays of green and flowering fauna. “I have herbs, pansies, annuals, perennials, succulents, and some shrubs and rosebushes.”
Her display was filled with unused items collected from around the house that she recycled into plant holders, including an old plastic coffee cup and a doll’s shoe.
“That’s my son’s Cabela cup. It leaked so I planted it,” Cianchette said. “I give people ideas about what they can do. Because I run a garden and landscaping business I know what works and doesn’t work, and I’m more than willing to share.”
Helping her on Saturday were her husband, Brian, her son Scott and granddaughters Margo and Jillian.
Entry to the show includes a voting form to pick the best gardenscape, which this year featured garden getaways with tables for seating, a “hobbit hole” structure with a living roof and a red Japanese pagoda with sculpted koi fish.
Businesses displaying gardenscapes are Central Maine Stoneworks of Newport, Entwood Bonsai of Burnham, Flagstones of Guilford, Greencare Plantscapes of Hermon, Half Moon Gardens Inc. of Thorndike, Harbor Shore Landscaping of Bangor, McGlinn’s Wee Gardens of Brewer, Mitchell’s Landscaping of Brewer, Moonshine Gardens of Unity, Sprague’s Nursery of Bangor and the University of Maine Horticulture Club of Orono.
The Greenleaf family said they were impressed with the displays and the helpful people offering advice.
“There is endless possibilities,” Jerrett Greenleaf said. “We’re really excited to get under way.”
Admission to this year’s garden show is $5, and tickets are available at the door.