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Ready, Set, GROW!

Maymont Flower & Garden Show has a new home

That means that visitors can expect more to see, more to do and more to buy. This year's garden scenes promise to take advantage of the spacious accommodations to showcase groundbreaking approaches to adding structure to the garden. You can also expect a few new ideas for outdoor living spaces and — as always — the newest plants in the trendiest colors.

Many of the blooms are displayed outside the traditional garden setting. They'll conform to fashion in a floral garment show (courtesy of Virginia Commonweatlth University's Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising) and in the "HATiculture" display of botanically enhanced headwear. The "Boxes in Bloom" and "Creative Containers" shows will offer inspiration for hanging baskets, window boxes and introduce a wide range of unusual potting options.

Gardeners hoping for a little how-to advice can benefit from a lineup of speakers representing a who's who of the botanical world. Notables include Penelope Hobhouse, designer to the queen mother, Jim Wilson, co-host of HGTV's "Great Gardeners," and Julie Moir Messervy, who worked with cellist Yo-Yo Ma to create The Toronto Music Garden.

Families and bargain-hunters will be happy to know that Flowers After Hours is back again this year, offering reduced admission ($5 compared to the daytime cost of $14) and special presentations after 5 p.m. Friday night's "Kids in the Garden" festival promises a range of family-friendly activities. The festival will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition with a scavenger hunt through the landscape exhibits, an opportunity to interact with Maymont animals and other hands-on activities.

If you want to take a bit of the show home with you, the expanded marketplace will offer more popular plants, flowers, gardening gadgets, books, gifts, tools and pots than ever before. HS


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