Step into the warmth and get a good peek at the hardy shrubs and flowers in Hicks Nurseries' Spring Flower and Garden Show, where the lush colors and orchestrated displays will be a treat for winter-weary eyes.
"When people walk in the door of the show, they take a deep breath and sigh," says Karen Musgrave, education specialist at the Westbury garden center. "It smells like spring and looks like spring."
The event, spanning three weeks, includes free seminars for both novice and experienced gardeners -- from "Gardening Made Simple" (noon on March 7) to orchid care (10 a.m. March 11) and layering perennials for color all year (noon March 21).
"We'll talk about hydrangeas [10 a.m. March 8], a huge issue for Long Islanders after the harsh winter," says Musgrave.
THE LIFE GARDENS
This year's theme of the center's 25th annual flower and garden show, "Gardens for All Ages," inspires displays spanning childhood through retirement. "Really, every stage of life on Long Island is shown in the gardens," Musgrave says.
The "Children's Dream Garden" is centered around a custom-built treehouse with a fence painted to look like crayons, displaying plants and flowers easy for younger gardeners to grow.
"First Home Garden" gives landscape advice to new homeowners, including lawn care, shrub selection and design.
Working and taking care of kids can sometimes mean a neglected property, so "Garden Simplicity" teaches those with little time to spare how to care for a lawn and flowers.
The "Entertaining Garden" section focuses on having a landscaped yard that calls you and your guests outdoors, with water features, potted plants and border plantings. It's about "how you can oomph is up and make it beautiful," Musgrave says.
Raised beds and windowsill displays in "Senior Friendly Gardening" show how, even in later years, Long Islanders can manage a pretty and colorful landscape. "Anybody of any age can take any piece of these gardens and make it work for them," Musgrave says.
GREEN THUMB HELP
Besides perusing the model gardens, there are about 25 classes to attend during the 16-day event.
Lawns are a source of pride for many Long Islanders, and a 10 a.m. seminar on Saturday talks about proper care and cultivation -- from when to apply grass seed to fighting blights and diseases, insects and weeds.
"My favorite is Sunday [noon on March 8], "Fruit in the Landscape -- Easy as Pie," says Musgrave, of the seminar that discussing growing fruit trees and plants.
Other topics of focus include growing a vegetable garden and proper pruning techniques.
Kids can dig in at the garden show, turning their small thumbs green with offerings of workshops tailor-made for them.
Each Saturday and Sunday, children under the age of 12 can plant a snap pea seed in their own free pot to bring home (directions on how to grow it included). At 3:30 p.m. weekdays March 9-20, kids ages 7-12 can become a "plant detective," by using a map to find items.
Kids can also make their own pinecone bird feeder at 4:30 p.m. March 17-19 for $10. Recommended for ages 12 and younger.
Hicks Spring Flower and Garden Show
WHEN | WHERE March 7-March 22, 100 Jericho Tpke., Westbury. Store hours for the show are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
INFO 516-334-0066, hicksnurseries.com