If you don’t know about the Smith College Botanic Garden in Northampton, Massachusetts, now is the time to brush up.
Like desert wanderers thirsting for water, we’re parched for a glimpse of green by the time February rolls around.
Somewhere in the outside world people are lolling around on beaches sheltered by palm trees, but here we’re still sharpening shovels and sifting salt, and those getaway ads in the travel section of the NY Times might as well be science fiction.
There are specks of hope, though.
The Boston Flower Show—that moist explosion of smell, color, and warmth that heaves out of the Seaport World Trade Center.
And bare ground has been spotted by the semi-delusional.
Meanwhile, it’s possible to pre-emptively create your own Mini-Flower-Show experience.
It’s just a doorknob away.
At the warm heart of the Smith College campus, in Northampton, MA, the Lyman Plant House rises like a Victorian wedding cake from the crusty ice and snow.
This lacy confection soared into existence in 1895, on the grounds of the then-20-year-old college property. Here’s what’s hidden inside the Smith College Botanic Garden:
Stepping through the doorway, moist air slaps at us, in the best possible way, like those warm towelettes that Air France used to hand out, back in the day.
There’s lots of Georgia O’Keefe inspiration, too.
A citrus grove,
paths that don’t need clearing,
and a chance to sharpen your plant ID skills.
Months of being draped over a wood stove have drained some of us of all excess moisture. As my hair boinks back to life, increasing in volume with each tropical detour, I take the next dramatic step. Removal of the down coat.
Look, cacao beans!
A Fern Palm from Taiwan flails wispy frond arms that rise from an Aliens body.
There’s even a tiny rice paddy,
and a soaring space where you can bring a book, park yourself on a bench, and read.
We’ve come in search of green this day, and we find it, springing up, brand new.
As moisture trickles down windows and a slick of green fur coats the terra cotta pots, the flowers reach towards the light.
Ropy vines, swirly ferns. We are a pith helmet and a machete away from swinging on vines, but that’s a different story for another day. Right now we’re just soaking up a hint of things to come.
For the moment, it’s so very easy to be green.
Have you ever visited the Smith College Botanic Garden?
Smith College Botanic Garden. 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA. 413-585-2740; smith.edu/gardenThis post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.