Deets on Fab Connecticut Flower & Garden Show

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By Jill Brooke

Want spring in winter? If you are in the Northeast, visit the 41st Annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show in Hartford.

Starting tomorrow through Sunday, “Gateway to Spring” covers nearly 150,000 square feet of expansive live gardens, informative seminars, and demonstrations with creative and practical ideas for houses and apartments. I’ll be there on Saturday to report on the highlights.

What to expect? 23 colorful live gardens, flower arranging, and 80 hours of demonstrations and seminars and garden-inspired events. And it’s all INSIDE. Added bonus? There will be artisans with handcrafted gifts, metalwork sculptures, herbs, bulbs, seeds, fertilizers, soils, gardening books, patio furniture, lawn/garden tools, etc. to see and buy. What fun it will be. Flower shows curate the best of the best so definitely worth visiting.

And let’s also give a big shout-out to Kristie Gonsalves, whose parents started this fantastic flower-loving show and she now runs it. As president of North East Expos, she intuitively understands what the 40,000 people who visit annually seek – an experience to enhance the senses with fragrance, knowledge, and some of the most beautiful flowers and plants in the world.

Here are some of the amazing speakers and demonstrations to plan your trip –


Day by Day Schedules and All Speaker and Show Information at

  • Lorraine Ballato:  Easy Breezy Plants; and Shady Characters.
  • Ruth Bennett:  Irises New Introductions & Interspecies Crosses.
  • Pamm Cooper:  Good Bug, Bad Bug, or Benign Bug?
  • Rich Cowles:  Climate Change & Impact on Rose Culture.
  • Christine Darnell:  Radically Re-thinking Garden Design.
  • Nancy DuBrule-Clemente:  Native and Non-Native Plants for Sustainable Landscapes; and Curb Appeal for Pollinator Gardens.
  • Kim Eierman:  Pollinator Victory Gardens with Native Plants; and Unlocking the Mysteries of Native Plant Selection.
  • Dr. Nick Goltz:  House Plant Diagnostics.
  • Len Giddix:  The Reflection in Your Garden.
  • Larry Huzi:  Spring Floral Designs with PAZAZZ!
  • Rachael LaFlamme:  Flower Crowns;
  • Trish Manfredi:  Easy Creative Floral Designs.
  • Laurie Masciandaro:  Connecticut’s Historic Gardens.
  • Owen McLaughlin:  Introduction to Rhododendrons & Azaleas.
  • Kerry Ann Mendez:  Gardening Simplified; and Hydrangeas Demystified.
  • Jana Milbocker:  Gardens of the Gilded Age; and Artists Gardens in New England.
  • Amanda Morris:  Gardening With Chickens.
  • Charlie Nardozzi:  No Dig Gardening.
  • Ellen Ecker Ogden:  6 Steps to a Successful Kitchen Garden Design.
  • Dawn Pettinelli:  Successful Seed Starting.
  • Peter Picone:  Ways to Create & Enhance Wildlife Habitat in Your Surroundings, 1 Native Plant at a Time.
  • Paul Split:  Organic Container Gardening.
  • Diane St. John:  Every Yard Matters – How to Create a Healthy Monarch Butterfly Habitat at Home.
  • Rob Townsend:  Water Garden Basics.
  • George Trecina:  A Tree For Every Yard; and Embracing Volunteer Seedlings & Aggressive Plants.

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD,  floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and contributor to Florists Review magazine.