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Cleveland Botanical Garden's Big Spring celebration welcomes families and flower fans

Posted March 14, 2013 in Articles

Author: Julie Washington


Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Cleveland Botanical Garden's Big Spring celebration welcomes families and flower fans

Expect imagination-fueled fun and gorgeous blooms in Big Spring, Cleveland Botanical Garden's multisensory salute to the season of renewal.

The garden's spring fling, happening Saturday, March 23, through Sunday, April 28, will appeal to families and people who love gardens. Not even spring showers can dampen the fun, because indoor as well as outdoor activities are planned.

The event's "Through the Looking Glass" vibe will be immediately apparent as you walk through a 12-foot-tall, tipped-over flowerpot to get to the Big Spring exhibits. A giant spade and 9-foot-tall fiberglass flowers add to the sensation that you are a bug in a garden.

Clark Hall will be transformed into a kids play area, where young ones can explore the Ladybug Labyrinth hedge maze, said Kate Fox, director of merchandising and special exhibits. Toadstool Theater lets kids dress up as butterflies, bees or ladybugs and put on a show for their parents. Backstage mirrors, music to sing along with and stools for the audience complete the theater setting.

"If they get in front of people, they turn into hams," Fox said. "It's all about pretending and having fun using imagination."

Young visitors can play with giant chess and checkers pieces, build a small sailboat to float in the terrace pool and cheer for their mealworm on the mealworm racetrack. It's OK if yours needs a poke or two to get moving.

Or climb through a 6-foot-tall log and inspect tarantulas, caterpillars, scorpions, praying mantises and other interesting insects in Critter Corner. At the Hershey Children's Garden, kids can plant flower and vegetable seeds and seedlings to take home, or add them to the garden's beds.

That's enough to keep children busy, but what about gardeners? Big Spring will have more blooms than ever before, said Ann McCulloh, curator of plant collections at the garden. About 30,000 bulbs -- 60 varieties of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and more -- have been planted to add to last year's numbers, she said.

The emphasis is on fragrance and the color orange, typified by the 'Orange Queen' tulips that will help make up bold stripes of yellow, orange and purple tulips planted near the Kohl Gate, McCulloh said.

'Orange Queen' is the "pure, saturated color everybody's longing for," she said.

Visitors will see blooms that are big and small -- allium blooms the size of a soccer ball, and tiny blue squill forming a swirling carpet in the grass.

The display includes orange and purple tulips in the Campsey-Stauffer Gateway Garden and hundreds of daffodils in the Elizabeth and Nona Evans Restorative Garden.

The flowers are scheduled to bloom from now through June, with peak color achieved around late April, McCulloh said.

Get a preview of Big Spring at Flower Power, a VIP sneak-peek party offering cocktails, food and live 1960s music starting at 6 p.m. Friday, March 22. Tickets are $75; $60, garden members. For moreinformation, call 216-721-1600, ext. 100.

The garden will close from Sunday to March 22 for setup, and again April 29 and 30 for the exhibits to be dismantled.

Original Article: http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2013/03/cleveland_botanical_cleveland.html

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