Let’s All Go to the Bulb Show

The inside of a greenhouse with many plants and flowers on a shelf.
Spring Bulb Show at Berkshire Botanical Garden (c) jcs 2022

Two years into a pandemic and my house has been hit with the ’Rona for the first time — I’m still in the negative, but the other two notsomuch.

My weekend activity options were thereby limited, but (masked) I was able to check out one of the things I wanted to do: the annual Bulb Show at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

A closeup of white narcissus flowers
Narcissus (c) jcs 2022

The BBG houses an evolving collection of spring flowering bulbs native to New England, including several types of narcissus, tulips, and daffodils. It shows them off as sort of a pre-season event each year in the Fitzpatrick Conservatory, a greenhouse often reserved for non-indigenous plants and those that need a climate-controlled environment, like cacti.

A green and purple sign in front of a greenhouse that reads the Fitzpatrick Conservatory
The Fitzpatrick Conservatory was constructed in the 1930s. (c) jcs 2022

This year, the show also introduced several new hardies, including pink and orange Salmon Gem tulips, dwarf irises adorably named Harmony and Pauline, and a plant I learned about for the first time today: frittilaria, which sounds like a brunch item but is actually flowering bulb-plant that blooms in red, purple, checkered green, white, or black. They’re also known as Guinea Hen Flowers.

Perhaps the star of the show, though, is Vincent Van Gogh: a deep-purple tulip with feathery petals and octopussian stems. I went digging and, according to dutchgrown.com, the Vincent Van Gogh tulip was first named in 2011 by then-director of the Van Gogh Museum Axel Rüger.

A closeup of a dark purple tulip with feathered petals and daffodils out of focus behind it.
Vincent Van Gogh Tulip (c) jcs 2022

I made a final stop post-show at the BBG’s Rain Garden, which was looking particularly splendid and useful on a damp afternoon. The Rain Garden was designed specifically as a “living filter,” treating surface water runoff from the parking lot through plants and shrubs that complete the task naturally. On a dry day, this garden is often overlooked.

The Rain Garden treats run-off water naturally and provides food and habitat for several types of birds. (c) jcs 2022

More Images from the

2022 Spring Bulb Show

A terra cotta pot with a bird of paradise plant in it, in front of a green, window-paned door.
Bird of Paradise (c) jcs 2022

And finally, Check out photo-journalist Stephanie Zollshan’s photo spread at the Berkshire Eagle.

Crystal Visions ~ The Art of Mindy Lam at Berkshire Botanical Garden

As galleries slowly reopen, my list of hopeful weekend engagements continues to grow. It’s one I was worried would start late due to my ongoing injury recovery, but I was able to begin the return to culture this weekend with a show after my own heart: Flights of Fancy: The Botanical and Bejeweled Universe of Mindy Lam.

On display in The Anna and Frederick Henry Leonhardt Galleries at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in West Stockbridge, Mass., the exhibit is an intersection of several different things I already love: modern art, vintage pieces, fantastic elements, haute-couture jewelry… all hosted in the rooms of a slightly ominous garden house constructed in the 1700s.

Lam works with crystals and semi-precious stones, repurposed, vintage costume jewelry, and metal wire — including weaving metal lace out of gold, copper, and steel. Her art is inspired by and reflective of nature, and has been displayed within the clapboard walls of the Leonhardt on moss beds, willow branches, and squares of unbleached linen.

Separated into three rooms, the exhibit includes a selection from Lam’s Homme Couture brooch collection; a “man-made ornamental garden” of twigs and brambles adorned with pins, necklaces, and earrings; and a curated menagerie of pieces created for once-in-a-lifetime events, featuring Lam’s signature metal lace gown: “a wearable sculpture originating with a single, delicate thread of wire,” as described on the BBG website.

The real piece de resistance for me, however, is a cool-metal crown in a mirrored bell jar that appears to be telling an entire tale in-the-round.

Lam is also a decidedly philanthropic artist, working with charities large and small including the American Heart Association, American Theatre Wing, and St. Jude’s Research Hospital. She has extended sales on her website to support BBG’s education and horticulture programs throughout Flights of Fancy’s run, until June 6, 2021.

All photos (c) jcs 2021 ~ view the full set here