PORTLAND – The Portland Flower Show, which has run for 10 of the past 12 years and is the only remaining exhibition of its kind in Northern New England in 2009, will open Wednesday, March 11.

The event will begin with the Maine Home & Design gala opening award ceremony from 6 to 9 p.m. and then run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Portland Company Complex, 58 Fore St.

“Our exhibit hall will be full with 14 landscapes and our vendor area has been sold out well in advance,” said Jan Love, longtime show organizer. “There is a lot of energy and excitement this year and I know some of that is due to the fact that both of the flower shows in Boston and Bangor are not happening.”

The 14 exhibitors will interpret the theme “From the Mountains to the Sea” with displays of stone, trees, shrubs and flowers that have been forced into bloom months ahead of their normal time. The show will also feature numerous education exhibits and a wide array of national caliber speakers focusing on a range of gardening topics.

Author and Maine native Paul Tukey will kick off the show at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with a presentation titled “Organic Gardens: Why & How.”

“Organic gardening is currently the hottest trend and all sorts of new products and techniques are entering the marketplace right now,” said Tukey, publisher of People, Places & Plants magazine and founder of SafeLawns.org. “Some of the premier garden centers in Maine are taking the lead and going all organic already.”

Other highlights include the flower show café overlooking Portland Harbor, with food by Churchill Caterers; the Books, etc. Booksellers corner; the children’s garden presented by Dr. Bud Johnston and his team from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners program; and the Cumberland County Master Gardeners Association’s auction of plants and other items donated from exhibitors and vendors beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday and benefiting its staffing and programs. The Master Gardeners will also hold a silent auction, which begins at noon Sunday, in annex building 11 (first on the right as you enter the property). For more information about the auction, call 780-4205.

On Sunday, March 15, Maine-based media company PFZMedia will offer a private screening of its feature-length documentary movie titled “A Chemical Reaction.” Focusing on the first town to ban lawn chemicals in North America, the film features numerous Maine focal points and interviews. The time of the movie screening will be determined at a later date.

The new Ocean Gateway Garage has entrances on Middle and Fore streets. A free shuttle bus will pick passengers up along Commercial Street.

Advance tickets to the flower show are $13, $12 for seniors 65 and over and will be available until March 11 at Hannaford Stores, Allen Sterling & Lothrop, Books, etc., Estabrook’s Farm & Garden Center, O’Donal’s Nurseries and Skillins Greenhouses in Cumberland, Brunswick and Falmouth. Tickets are $15 at the door; children under 12 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Wednesday evening gala tickets are $30 advance purchase, $50 at the door.

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