The sights and scents of spring will lift spirits when the Bangor Garden Show opens for visitors April 6 at 10 a.m. The Garden Show will run through April 8 at the Bangor Auditorium. Hours are: Friday, April 6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, April 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, per day. Children under age 12 are admitted free.
This year’s show has no set “theme”, Organizer Judi Perkins said. “We let the Gardenscape Exhibitors decide exactly what they wanted to see in their garden exhibit,” she said. “There will be eight gardenscapes, all the same size. We felt that if it was truly going to be competitive, the challenge would be that the exhibits all have to be the same size.”
This year’s designers are reprising a familiar role: Creating designs for the Gardenscapes competition. According to Perkins, all of this year’s competitors are familiar faces: Central Maine Stoneworks, Cozy Acres Greenhouses, Entwood Bonsai, Flagstones, Harbor Shore Landscaping, Hickory Dickory Decks, Moonshine Gardens, Stonescapes and Watergardens, and the University of Maine Horticulture Club.
The designers are all competing for cash prizes: $5,000 for first, $2,500 for second, $1,500 for third, and five honorable mention awards of $750 each. But even more prestigious is the coveted People’s Choice Silver Shovel Award.
“If I was a landscaper, I’d be hard pressed to decide if what I really wanted was the judges prize or the people’s choice award,” Perkins said.
Aside from the gardenscaping competition, there will be much to do, Perkins said.
A perennial favorite is the demonstration series. The series will span all three days and include a wide array of topics suitable for kids, adults, gardeners, cooks, and living sustainably. For a complete listing of demonstrations, visit www.bangorgardenshow.com/demo-series.php.
For the second year, art and horticulture will decorate the hallways of the Auditorium through the Art in Bloom competition. This competition features Maine artists utilizing a variety of mediums and floral designers and garden clubs. The art, Perkins said, will inspire the floral design.
“It could be as simple as a wooden crate with vegetables or red high heels to something you might see on the coast of Maine,” she said. “All of the art is on sale. This is the second year we’ve done this and it’s brought a lot of life to the Auditorium.”
In celebration of Easter, which is the Sunday of the show, guests who wear Easter Bonnets will receive their admission for $2.50. For additional fun, Perkins said, there will be judging of the bonnets or hats from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and every participant will receive a ribbon.
A “well-loved” attraction at the Garden Show has been the Kids Grow Too! competition open to children and schools. This competition helps children foster an interest in lifelong gardening, recycling and environmental stewardship. Every entry receives a certificate and there are cash prizes for the first, second, and third place entries.
According to Perkins, the organizers of the Garden Show are encouraging people to design “Outside the Box” in a container gardening challenge. “Last year we had a three drawer container, a carriage, and a stone container with roads and small vehicles in it,” Perkins said. “There’s usually a little bit of everything. You couldn’t pass by without smiling.”
Last year, Perkins said, nearly 8,000 people were in attendance at the show. “We’ve started to build back a loyal audience,” she said. And that audience comes from repeat vendors and guests alike.
For those who want to get a little garden-related shopping in, the Garden Show will once again have its vendor court offering items including art, jewelry, food, garden supplies, landscaping supplies, and clothing.
“Some of our vendors have been at this show for over 20 years,” Perkins said. “Our vendor spots filled fast and we have a waiting list for last minute additions. It’s a good sign that these vendors still remember the Bangor Garden Show.”
For more in-depth information about the show or about how to enter one of the competitions, visit www.bangorgardenshow.com