After a hiatus of two years (depending on how you count the 2009 “Blooms” hotel and mall beautification project) the New England Flower Show is back! Or, rather, it’s been retitled “The Boston Flower Show” by its new organizer the Paragon Group, better known for running the New England Auto Show and the National Golf Expo. Last September, Paragon issued a press release stating that the Massachusetts Horticultural Society would actually participate in the Flower Show. It’s a topsy-turvy world when the group that started the Flower Show is a mere invitee.
Once upon a time, there was a wonderful organization called the Massachusetts Horticultural Society which was the center of all plant hobbyists in our fair commonwealth. Founded in 1829, Mass Hort helped found Mount Auburn Cemetery, amassed a library of rare botanical books, championed causes ranging from promoting Concord Grapes to creating “victory gardens” during WWII – and, in 1829, began the first flower exhibits in Boston. Those weekly exhibits gradually morphed into the New England Flower Show in 1871 through 2008.
Then… Mass Hort ran out of money, and the Flower Show was no more. Mass Hort’s decades of mismanagement are detailed in this Boston Magazine piece.
It’s good that it’s back, even though Mass Hort’s exhibits will take up less than 10 percent of the display case. Even during this relatively snow-free spring, Bostonians long for green. Of course, if you’re desperate and willing to drive, you can always visit the Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s 4,000 square foot Orangerie, a sort of gigantic greenhouse built by the solvent, successful, Worcester County Horticultural Society in 1997. Someday, perhaps Mass Hort can aspire to imitate its Western neighbors, and learn to build a garden under glass.