Hey Budding Gardeners: Start Digging In The Dirt! 

Whether you want to get close to nature, learn about the soil and seeds, tap a tree for maple, take pictures of wild orchids or even start your very own garden, we’ve found the best places to get inspired. This month features some great indoor/outdoor flower exhibitions around the tri state area with educational displays, contests and fun things to do for the kids. Tiptoe through the tulips, topiaries and other colorful blooms. Hike through the wetlands or woods or walk through an edible garden. Connect with nature and teach the kids the love and appreciation for the earth and gardening! Yahoo, winter is over!

Explore the Annual Gardens @ New Jersey Botanical Garden
Wike or Hike 96 acres of specialty gardens surrounded by 1000 acres of woodlands and marked trails. Check out the Annual Gardens with a layout that has not been changed from the original design. It is the only garden at Skylands with mass plantings of annuals lending to vibrant colors and a place of beauty in any season. Family hikes, manor tours, and NJ Audubon walks. Ring-wood, NJ (Passaic County) njbg.org

Check out the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden @ The New York Botanical Garden Great outdoor nature exploration featur-ing seasonally changing programs, themed outdoor galleries, a nature wetland, and more. You will find the new Edible Academy In the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden,which provides hands-on gardening activities from April through October. Great way to encour-age little ones and adults to play in the dirt. Bronx, NY. nybg.org

Go on a Garden Safari Backpack Adventure @ Deep Cut Gardens Set out on an exploration of 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses! Take a walking tour of this living catalog of plant materials. The Garden Safari Backpack is great for families. Each backpack contains all you need to help you and your family discover new ways of seeing living and non-living features of the gardens. 10am-4pm at the Horticultural Center, on a first-come, first-serve basis. FREE. 732-671-6050. Middle-town, NJ (Monmouth County)

Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Garden
Thru Mar 31Nearly 5,000 colorful orchids hang from baskets, create inspiring arrangements, and adorn unique forms throughout Orchid Extravaganza. Kid friendly events include: OrKID days (3/18, 11-2): go on an Orchid Quest to discover orchids and collect stamps along the way, complete tasks and collect a prize. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA. 610.388.1000. longwoodgardens.org

The Orchid Show: Thailand @ The New York Botanical Garden
Mar 4 Thru April 9 (weekend performances by Somapa Thai Dance Co. at 1 & 3pm) Enter a World of Spectacular Color, the Orchid Show celebrates its 15th year with an homage to the wealth of orchids and rich cultural history of Thailand. Thailand is home to more than 1,200 native orchid species and over the last century it has become the leading exporter of cultivated tropical orchids in the world. The show culminates in a jawdropping scene of a large arched façade in the style of a traditional Thai pavilion—festooned with hundreds of exquisite orchids. Thai dance performances, film screenings, tours, orchid care demonstrations, expert Q&As, and more.

Thru Mar 19 Wintertime Wonders In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden with Guided Activities for exploration of plants and animals in winter.

Apr 1 - 30: Dig! Plant! Grow! Wake Up, Garden, 1:30–5:30pm. In the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden. Plants and imaginations grow at the Howell Family Garden, where kids are allowed—no, encouraged!— to play in the dirt. Display gardens, such as the Global Gardens, Bean Tunnel, and Salad Bowl, and daily interactive gardening activities delight and inspire.

The Flower Show: Holland: Flowering the World at Philadelphia Convention Center - Mar 11-19 (Mar 19 is family day! with kid friendly activities) Showcases the extraordinary plants, creativity and talent of PA’s top horticulturists and designers. Kid friendly actitivies include: “Make and Take” where kids make their own hand-made piece using plant materials; “Experience Butterflies Live!, an interactive exhibit exhibit; and “Teddy Bear Tea!” on 3/19 where kids bring their own favorite teddy bear for an afternoon tea party. Children’s entertainment and a delicious menu. Don’t miss the miniature garden train exhibit. Advanced purchases. 1101 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA. 215.988.8800. theflowershow.com

Sugar Maple Celebration @ Duke Farms Living Habitats - Mar 4-5
Tap a tree and enjoy the maple sugaring process. Participate in activities and nature hikes focused on wildlife, tree identification, best forestry practices, and climate change as it relates to the Sugar Maple and our native forests. Share the taste of New Jersey maple syrup, visit a live sawmill demonstration, and don’t miss your chance to try the maple syrup specialty items that will be served all day in our café! This is an indoor/outdoor event— so please dress for the weather. FREE (please register though). 1112 Dukes Parkway West, Hillsborough. 908.722.3700. dukefarms.org

Maple Sugaring Living History Program @ Hunterdon County Arboretum.
Mar 4 Experience first-hand the North American tradition of maple sugaring at Hunterdon County’s Maple Sugaring Program. You’ll take a trip through time to experience the art of the sugaring process. Along the way you will see an early American Frontiersman tapping his trees, visit a sugar “farmer” at his evaporator, and enjoy a Native American story about the discovery of maple sap. At the end of your walk everyone will get a free taste of real maple syrup on a silver dollar pancake. Explore 73 acres of arboretum. FREE. 1020 Highway 31, Lebanon. 908.782.1158

The Nature and Environmental Centers and Arboretums around you have great gardens and many have nature programs designed for kids, toddlers, teens, as well as mommy and me. Check out njkidsonline.com for more!