The official start of spring may be a week away, but the gardens were already in full bloom at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury.
Gardeners and flower enthusiasts came out of winter hibernation Sunday to attend the 21st Annual Flower & Garden Show at the nursery.
Stephen Hicks, president of the nursery, which has been in his family for six generations, said the nursery staff starts preparing for the show in February, and for 10 days one large section of the nursery is set up to display different types of gardens in bloom.
Hicks said the idea is to inspire customers with ideas for outdoor design and entertaining.
"It's quite an undertaking," he said.
The the weeklong show also features lectures, including topics like gardening in containers and cooking demonstrations using garden-fresh herbs and vegetables.
There are also children’s gardening lessons. On Sunday, children lined up at a small box of soil to learn to plant beanstalks and peas, which they took home to grow and eventually replant.
Hicks said the annual event attracts a loyal following.
"It's always a long winter," he said. "The store is empty as we get ready for the show all year, so this is our first opportunity to see our customers again."
The show ends Sunday, March 20; for a schedule of events, visit the nursery's website.
Photo: Hicks Nurseries employee Angela Fischer teaches Nicole and Julia Zimerco, 5, of Bellmore, to plant beanstalks at the nursery's Flower & Garden Show in Westbury. (March 13, 2011)