One of my favorite winter rituals is a visit to an indoor plant show.  In our area, we are blessed with plentiful attractions that make perfect day trips.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s courtyard in Boston’s Fenway is a welcome haven on a winter day.  Greenhouses provide tender orchids, ferns, blooming jade plants, and the first bulbs of spring arranged artfully around the museum’s collection of art and antiquities.


Blooming Jade

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Displays change theme monthly.  On my January visit this year, white hellebores were blooming in the outer courtyard garden beneath more trees with interesting bark:  Paperbark Maple and Stewartia!

See for hours and admission fees.




College greenhouses in the Pioneer Valley put on free annual bulb shows in early March.  I make a pilgrimage each year to both Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges to savor the color and variety of bulbs forced by students.  The plants are carefully arranged on traditional show benches for the public.  This year’s dates are March 2-17, 10 am – 4 pm daily.  Smith only has extended hours until 8 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

White Hellebore

Wellesley College Greenhouses are closed for renovation, and we look forward to seeing their reincarnation in the future.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden always has a beautiful display of tropical trees and flowers in its two indoor spaces, the Orangerie and the Limonaia.  See to plan your visit.

Everyone will enjoy an outing to the Winter Farmer’s Market at Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland.  On Saturday mornings from 10 am – 2 pm the empty greenhouse space is filled with farmers, artisans and food to fill your larders and lift your spirits.  The market runs weekly through March 16.  See for more information.

Paper bark maple, Acer griseum, and heathers

And the Boston Spring Flower Show is right around the corner, March 13-17, at the Seaport World Trade Center.  This long-standing tradition, aimed to inspire and motivate gardeners, has something for everyone, including children!  See for tickets and the schedule of events.


About the author