I am seriously ready for spring. After a long winter of back-to-back nor’easters, chilly temps and blah skies, colorful spring flowers will be a sight for sore eyes. Here’s where to catch them in bloom and attend some family-friendly planting workshops in and around Westchester in the coming weeks.
New York Botanical Gardens Orchid Show, Bronx, NY (now through April 22)
Now in its 16th year, the Orchid Show showcases thousands of dramatically displayed orchids in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory featuring a series of installations. After you’ve had your fill of orchids, bring the kids to NYBG’s Everett Children’s Adventure Garden from 1:30-5:30pm for some spring fun: Investigate amazing sights and sounds of spring using science tools, go outside to hunt for evidence that plants and animals are awakening from their winter slumber, and craft your own seed sprouting tray to observe at home. Admission for adults is $23-$28 depending on the day, and $10-$12 for kids. Children under 2 are free.
The Garden Conservancy Digging Deeper Workshop, Lewisboro (April 29, 10am to 3pm)
Celebrate spring at the fabulously imaginative White Garden with a hands-on workshop for gardeners of all ages. In the large greenhouse, kids will get their hands in the soil, investigating and planting different seeds and discussing what they need to germinate. The group will also explore how some plants grow from cuttings (pieces of existing plants). Each child will take home a free seedling to observe and enjoy. Appropriate for children ages 7 and up. Garden admission is $7 per person, and children 12 and under are free.
Tree Peony Bloom at Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville (first two weeks of May)
Every May, the tree peonies in Rockefeller State Park Preserve put on a show unlike any other in Westchester, with 425 brightly colored Japanese tree peonies on display. The bloom lasts about two weeks and varies from year to year, but usually starts first week of May. After admiring and smelling the divine blooms, you can follow a trail down to a 1.1 mile loop around the lake, where the kids can spot turtles and frogs. To get to the peony gardens, enter the park off of Route 117 at 125 Phelps Way in Pleasantville. The flowers line the grounds of the art gallery, which you’ll see on your way down to the trailheads. The park is free, but parking is $6. More details on our past visit here.
Teatown’s PlantFest, Ossining (May 12, 9am to 2pm)
Whether you are a serious gardener or an eager first-timer, this plant sale with farmers market appeal is the place to be for unusual perennials, stunning mixed containers or baskets, native plants for a woodland path or ornamental and culinary herbs. Get advice about bee and butterfly attractors, strategies for coexisting with our native deer population, and planting a successful raised bed vegetable garden. PlantFest brings it all together: abundant plant varieties, expert helpers and over a dozen complementary vendors including local artisans and authors, woodworkers and beekeepers, farmers and bakers – as well as delicious food, wine, beer and music. Admission is $20.