A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

If you love all things horticulture, you’ve probably heard of the Boston Flower and Garden Show, the largest of its kind in New England. The show has happened every March since 2010 (with the exception of 2021 due to COVID-19). Over the course of five days, visitors can enjoy the amazing garden displays, listen to informative presentations, and, of course, shop the many vendors.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show
About the Boston Flower and Garden Show

The first Boston Flower and Garden Show happened in March 2010. Launched by Paragon Group, the idea was to retain the main elements of the 137-year-old New England Flower Show (now defunct) while also modernizing certain aspects to make it appeal more to the HGTV crowd. Luckily, the launch was a success, and, for the past decade, the show has grown in size both in terms of attendees and horticulture professionals. While the 2020 show was cut short, it still brought in 10,000+ attendees and hundreds of vendors.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

The Boston Flower and Garden Show takes place in the Seaport World Trade Center located at 200 Seaport Boulevard in Boston’s Seaport District. It has direct access to the Massachusetts Turnpike, I-93, and Logan Airport. There’s plenty of parking available for those who drive, or you can take the metro, bus, or water taxi if you want to avoid paying for parking. If you plan to attend multiple days of the show, there are plenty of hotels in the area, including a Westin and Marriott and, for budget travelers, a Yotel and similar options.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show
Garden Displays

Since its inception, the event has featured over 25 garden displays created by top local nurseries and design firms. Each year brings a new theme that designers must evoke in their gardens whether the theme focuses on more abstract ideas such as balance or romance or gardening trends such as container gardens. As you would expect, each display garden must include certain elements from the theme. In the case of the container garden theme, all gardens must feature at least one significant container of some kind. More abstract themes allow the designers a bit more freedom, though of course there might be some caveats that require them to be creative in their display. The 2020 theme was Celebrating Friends & Family, so many talented designers featured outdoor living furniture and family-friendly spaces in their displays.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

The garden displays are meant for more than just visual appeal. It’s also to attract potential customers. There’s truly something for everyone, and, if you’re interested in a particular feature or display, the designers and gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions. In recent years, homesteading has become increasingly popular, and there is now a homesteading pavilion at the show where you can view displays featuring chicken coops, beehives, and more. Even if you don’t have the acreage for homesteading, there are still garden displays that you might find useful, especially those in the Space Savers section that features window boxes planted with both edible and ornamental plants.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

The Boston Flower and Garden Show garden display will be judged before the show opens to the public. However, attendees can put in a vote for their favorite garden during a Preview Party event. The garden with the most votes wins the People’s Choice Award! The Preview Party is an additional cost, but it’s a great opportunity to see the displays when the exhibit halls are less crowded.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

While the garden displays might be the main attraction for most people, there are also two floral design competitions: one produced by the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and the other by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. There is also an Amateur Horticulture section that features an Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) and displays by other plant societies and garden clubs. While you might not be able to vote for these displays, you can get inspiration from the various arrangements.

Workshops and Lectures
A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

You can learn something new at the Boston Flower and Garden Show whether you’re a beginner or experienced gardener. The event offers over 48 hours of presentations, workshops, and demonstrations. There are even gardening activities for children! Regardless of the theme, the presentations will cover a wide variety of topics including gardening trends, basic care of plants, homesteading, and more. While most of the workshops and presentations are free, some require an additional fee to cover the cost of supplies.

There are over 60 time slots across all five days, so you’ll probably be able to catch all of the presentations you want over the course of the show. During peak hours the lecture halls will likely be at capacity, so make sure to get your seat early as all presentations and workshops are on a first-come, first-served basis. While the topics change each year, you can rest assured knowing that you will be getting advice from top garden experts and professors. There’s always time for Q&A after the lecture, so if you have any burning questions that weren’t answered, make sure to raise your hand!

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

If you don’t have time for lectures, you can still learn a lot simply by checking out the various informational booths on the show floor. Some previous booths include:

Vendors

The Boston Flower and Garden Show features over 200 local and national vendors. Naturally, the vast majority of vendors sell a variety of specialty plants, cut flowers, mushroom kits, sustainable gardening items, and other gardening-related items for sale. If you’re a gardening enthusiast, this is the perfect place to buy some plants or tools as you can often find rare items cheaper than you might find online or at the stores normally.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

If you get tired of shopping for plants, you can always peruse the other vendors who sell clothes, food, home decor items, candles, and much more. It’s a great place to potentially pick up gifts for someone’s birthday or perhaps Mother’s Day. There’s even a bookstore that features garden design and care books so you can continue your education on gardening. If you get peckish, you can head to Aura Restaurant for an English Garden Tea menu where you can enjoy a selection of teas, sandwiches, tarts, scones, and Devonshire Cream. You’ll need to reserve your spot separately and pay an additional fee, but it’s well worth the cost of admission.

Enjoy the Boston Flower and Garden Show
A Visitor’s Guide to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

If you’re a gardening enthusiast, the Boston Flower and Garden Show is the perfect opportunity to increase your knowledge and admire the work of professional gardeners and designers. There’s no shortage of things to do as people are able to shop, attend lectures, and talk to garden experts all in one place. Of course, it’s also a great place for horticulture professionals as you can network with other professionals and potentially meet new customers and clients. So regardless of whether you’re there for business or pleasure, the Boston Flower and Garden Show is a great opportunity to expand your horizons.