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African Blooms

There are nearly 100 foreign celebrities included in this year’s Berkshire Botanical Garden's spring exhibition in the Fitzpatrick Greenhouse. "Out of Africa: Discovering African Bulbs Among New England Springtime Favorites" features 100 South African flowering bulbs, on display through March 17.

They are exhibited along with regional springtime blooms, such as narcissus, tulips and grape hyacinths.

In addition to the pure aesthetic pleasure of viewing the plants, more in-depth knowledge will be provided March 11th at 1 P.M. when plant expert Rob Girard shares his knowledge of an array of geophytes—plants that spend part of their annual life cycle as dormant, fleshy underground structures such as bulbs. All are drawn from South Africa, one of the most botanically diverse regions of the world.

Girard has grown these bulbs for years, starting many from seed collected by the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in South Africa. He will describe their provenance and history, as well as their development, cultivation, and care.

After the talk, Girard will lead a tour of the Fitzpatrick Greenhouse, where he worked with the BBG staff to grow Chasmanthe bicolor, Ferraria crispa, Gladiolus tristis, Lachenalia,Ornithogalum dubium, Veltheimia bracteata and others.

African bulbs are cultivated by collectors for their late winter floral displays.

The bulb exhibition is open from 9AM to 4PM weekdays and admission is free. Advance registration is highly recommended; admission is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. For more information, contact BBG at 413-298-3926 or