Millenium Stoneworks displays at NJ Flower and Garden Show


EDISON, NJ—Shrug off the winter blues – spring’s bright blossoms and mood-lifting sense of renewal arrive early at the 7th annual New Jersey Flower and Garden Show, running Feb. 12-15 at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison.

Outside, it’s cold and dreary. Inside, spring is blooming in every color of the rainbow, hyacinth blue to cherry blossom pink. Beds of flowers, sparkling fountains and entire gardens with arbors and koi ponds lay one step over the threshold. Like magic, you’re in another, greener world. How do they pull this off?

It’s not easy fooling Mother Nature in the frozen depths of winter.  In fact, it’s a tricky business that has fallen on hard times.  The New York International Orchid Show and Boston’s 137-year-old flower show both folded in 2008, victims of a worsening economy and daunting logistics. New Jersey’s show, still young, keeps growing.

“It’s the hardest show we put on,” says James McLaughlin, president of MAC Events in Spring Lake and show producer. The company presents 20 shows and exhibitions every year, including home and boat shows. “Those involve inanimate objects — at a flower show, everything is alive and perishable. We plan, cross our fingers and hope we don’t have a blizzard.”

MAC Events created the show from the ground up as a garden showcase for the Garden State. Along the way, it has put down roots and sent out shoots, welcoming partners that give depth and scope to its programs. Among them are Rutgers University and its Cooperative Extension Service; Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick and the New Jersey Conservation Partnership fostered by the state Department of Agriculture.

The Associated Professional Landscape Designers and the Jersey Shore Rose Society are now partners, too. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is another ally, dispatching experts to judge the Garden Club of New Jersey’s floral competition, held annually at the show. All of this cross-fertilization means the show gets a little bigger and better every season.
Gardeners Go to School
With so much know-how at hand, education is an important focus of the show. McLaughlin has made this the year of smarter gardening with an expanded schedule of talks, tips and hands-on demonstrations.

“Gardeners Go to School” includes more than 20 free events. The “Bouquet of the Day” offers quick takes on the latest trends. The separate lecture series lets speakers expand on topics ranging from from lawn care and “greener” gardening to home-made plant remedies. Speakers include trend-setters like Rebecca Kolls, seen on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and old hands like Ralph Snodsmith, host of WOR’s “The Garden Hotline” for 35 years. There’s a separate “Growing Up Green” program for young sprouts, too.

Full-spectrum Display Gardens
At the heart of the show are real gardens — self-contained landscapes with trees and grass and dazzling swaths of flowers. Dream a dream of spring in nine display gardens created by New Jersey’s creative landscape designers. Awash with color from a gardener’s palette, display gardens are always the show’s biggest draw.

In tune with this year’s theme, “It’s a Colorful World,” gardens take the color wheel for a spin.  “Heart and Soul of the Garden” divides the spectrum in two. The passionate half features flowers in steamy reds, yellows and oranges. The soulful half is a study in moody blues, purples and greens.

In “Green Grows the Garden,” blossoms bright enough for butterflies bloom in an eco-conscious habitat. Flowering trees and swaths of spring bulbs set the pace in “Passage to the East,” a garden where Asian influences meet modern American design. There are six more gardens, each full of spring’s vibrant colors, scents and sounds. The garden-hopping is invigorating; the inspiring ideas are free.

Valentine’s Day for Sweethearts
Hearts and flowers are a classic combination. Spend Feb. 14 among thousands of flowers in vibrant bloom on the show floor. Fill the day with entertaining lectures and gift-shopping in the Great Garden Marketplace where over 100 vendors have everything a gardener needs.

Saturday night is date night. Wine and cheese tastings set the mood for a romantic stroll through display gardens where you’ll both catch a breath of spring. Stop to smell the roses – really. After 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Valentine’s Day, admission is two-for-one.

Gardeners’ Dream Vacation
Flower-lovers might even walk out of this show enroute to another — by way of the airport.  Winners of the show’s drawing get a trip to the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show and London’s famous sights May 17- 24. Look for the kiosk at the show or enter on-line at or

You won’t get a better chance to cheat the seasons until winter loosens its grip. Spring is alive and well at the NJ flower show. Grab a sneak peek!

Admission at the door is $14 for adults but a $2 discount is offered for buying in advance at or by calling (800) 332-3976 ext. 120. Tickets are $6 for children 12 through 17 (kids 11 and younger enter free), and $10 for seniors on Feb. 12 and 13 only. Discount rates available for groups of 10 or more.

Show hours are 1 to 9 p.m. Feb. 12, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 13 and 14, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at the New Jersey Convention Center, 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison. For updates on the show and directions to the site, visit or see and click on “Flower Shows.”

The 7th New Jersey Flower & Garden Show is produced by MAC Events, a nationally recognized producer of high-quality business-to-consumer trade shows in a variety of industries and markets since 1968. The Spring Lake, NJ-based family-owned company produces approximately 20 recreational vehicle, home, boat and flower & garden shows a year throughout New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia and is a source of market research for recreational vehicle, boating and home improvement industries.

Posted in