Far away from the Back Bay fire smog, the Boston Flower and Garden Show is open. Here are ten reasons to go to the Boston Flower and Garden Show RIGHT NOW:

 1. The Flowers!

I’ve kvetched in the past about the Flower Show being all foliage, all the time *yawn*—but this year, there are flowers! Look!

And you can actually smell them as you enter the show—something you can’t do with the crocus at the Federal Reserve Building or the hellebores on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, charming as they are.

2. The Hats!

Downton Abbey, eat your heart out.

This year’s Florist Invitational Display is all hats (and they’re not just for people). Oh my! Perhaps Wendy Shattuck can wear one to the next Emerald Necklace Conservancy hat lady lunch.

3. The Possibilities!

Kudos to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for their display of a “townhouse garden”–something that people who aren’t professional landscapers could plant and maintain in a small urban yard.

With an ornamental front garden, a kitchen garden, and a intimate seat among the flowers for assignations—I mean, sitting with a glass of wine and enjoying the view—this garden should inspire all of you to make your yard a little greener. Wouldn’t you like to see this out your front door?

4. The Lectures!

Learn about anything from ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) to constructing wildlife habitat. Sunday alone features “Propagation of Trillium & Other Garden Plants” with New England Wild Flower Society grower Dan Jaffe and “Body Flowers and Bling.” Where would we be growing these body flowers, exactly? Perhaps the propagation workshop will explain. Check out the full listing here.

5. The Odd Garden Structures!

Don’t you need a steampunk fountain to accent your rocks?

Or some giant fungus-colored knitted ottomans growing on your deck?

6. The Newport Flower Show Display!

The Newport Flower Show’s theme this year is “SALSA! A Celebration of Latin Cultures,” and judging by the rock’em-sock’em colors in this booth, they mean it.

I hereby award the Newport Flower Show the “Most Enthusiastic Use of Red in Display” award this year, and I’m happy about it, with an honor award for the odd orangey sea-beast in their floral carpet display.

7.  8. and 9.: The Amateur Horticulture Display/ Floral Design Competitions/ Photography Exhibit

I’m putting these categories together because they aren’t on the main convention center floor; you have to walk out the doors at the back of the auditorium into two break-out rooms to find them. But really, you *need* to go there.

The Amateur Horticulture display is a competition for Best Plant. Some people out there are lovingly tending truly bizarre things like cotton in a pot.

The Floral Design competitions are like the hats on the main floor, only more so. (Really! There’s a category of shoes made entirely out of plant material!) Some are gorgeous, some are challenging, some are silly. Bonus points to the person who can spot the most childrens’ toy parts in the displays; I saw some Toobers and Zots myself. The “split personality” division of arrangements which look completely different when viewed from different sides are especially intriguing.

The photographs are exquisite. One doesn’t include any live plant material, just a snake on dry leaves—but snakes are traditional garden residents, and perfectly safe when they’re not offering you apples.

10. Jasper’s Garden

Yes, I have a relative named Jasper, but I admire this child’s garden exhibit because it has a big stone tower. I think I need that even more than the knitted fungus.

Meg Muckenhoupt is the author of Boston’s Gardens & Green Spaces.  She is a freelance environmental and travel writer. Her articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBoston Magazine, the Time Out Boston guide, and many other publications. She holds a certificate in Field Botany from the New England Wild Flower Society.