Grand Garden Display

Out of Hibernation!  Spring Comes to the 100-Acre Wood

The Theme






-A. A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh



Welcome to the 2023 Vermont Flower Show! Our team of designers and builders is proud to present this year’s Grand Garden Display– 15,000 square feet of indoor landscape inspired by a story beloved by generations. Brought to life in many forms, from animated movies to plush toys, the original story of Edward Bear a.k.a. Winnie-the-Pooh was written nearly a century ago at a time when so many were still healing from the tragedies of World War I. The innocent, sometimes comical, always kind adventures of a bear and his friends through a bucolic English forest appealed to young and old alike. The book was a critical and commercial success.

Written by A. A. Milne and wonderfully illustrated by E. H. Shepard in 1926, the tales of the imaginary Hundred Acre Wood were influenced by the real Ashdown Forest, located just south of London and visible from Milne’s window as he sat at his writing desk. The author’s real son, Christopher Robin, and his ragtag collection of stuffed animals were transcribed into the famous characters we know and love today. A. A. Milne’s own childhood spent rambling freely through the English countryside was woven into his stories as well.

Nature is a source of inspiration and solace. This became abundantly clear in recent times as so many of us ventured out of doors in search of comfort and connection. Gardens and outdoor spaces, however large or small, are a wonderful way to experience nature. They help us connect to the natural world, to learn about it and, increasingly importantly, to nurture it in ways such as supporting pollinators and wildlife. The garden we have built for you was inspired by stories which were inspired by nature, bringing it full circle. We invite you to follow the pathway beyond the pages into The Hundred Acre Wood and the fantastical world of Winnie-the-Pooh. Enjoy!


At our entrance is a larger-than-life book crafted by skilled dry stone artists, inviting you to step through its pages and into a world where time is care-free and old friends await.

If you listen as you pass, you may hear A.A. Milne himself reading one of his stories.


The story, and our journey, begins at a lovely brick cottage covered in vines just at the edge of the Hundred Acre Wood. Here lives Christopher Robin and his stuffed friends. Sweet smelling flowers entice us to stop and dawdle for a moment before joining them on an adventure.


The Hundred Acre wood has many beautiful settings, but none perhaps as stunning as the big rocky stream that winds its way through the Wood. Water cascades and bubbles its way along, happily meandering under a bridge. Pools of water create quiet places for our friends to dip their toes and reflect on the day.


Now we come upon a meadow with a very tall tree in the middle of it. There is a loud buzzing sound coming from the top of the tree. A buzzing sound means bees and bees mean honey! Pooh cannot resist the allure of his favorite food, so with the help of Christopher Robin he concocts a plan involving a big blue balloon. The trouble is, as Pooh says “You can never tell with bees”


As we approach Rabbit’s house, we can see that the table is set for tea. Rabbit is not fond of visitors, but of course he is too polite to say so. In the event that Company should drop by, he is always well prepared with offerings from his larder and garden. His home is entirely tidy, as Rabbit is quite fastidious. In the evenings Rabbit enjoys reading a book in his cozy chair, before washing up and retiring to his bed. 


Kanga’s home is in a corner of the Wood that time and Nature have begun to reclaim. Even so, it is a place of beauty and endless imaginings. Kanga keeps a warm and cheerful house where she gives Baby Roo, tired from a long day spent learning to hop, his medicine and a bath before bedtime.


Pooh-Bear lives in a tree in the forest under the name of “Sanders”, which means just what it says. If you look Dear Visitor, you will see everything a bear needs. A log for sitting and thinking, a table for breakfast – tea and honeycomb with marmalade perhaps, a mirror to do his Stoutness Exercises in front of, a soft chair for napping and of course, lots and lots of honey.


The sweet smell of pine greets us as we come round the corner to the Six Pine Trees. The soft duff of needles below the trees is an inviting spot for a rest. If one were to pause here long enough, keeping very still, they might even spot some of Rabbit’s Friends and Relations. He has a great many of them after all.


This grove of Birch trees is where we are introduced to Piglet, a very small animal and Pooh’s dearest friend. The two set off on an adventure hunting for a Woozle, or is it Woozles? Around and around the trees they go. Are the pair following the footprints or are they being followed?


Here is an entirely different type of house, for Owl lives in “an old-world residence of great charm…grander than anybody else’s, or seemed so to Bear, because it had both a knocker and a bell-pull”. It’s very familiar looking bellpull, come to think of it. Do you recognize it?

Owl is considered the wisest of our friends. He is the resident writer-of-things, being the only one in the forest who can spell, beside Christopher Robin. Although he may act a bit begrudging, he is always willing to help write out important signs and notes.


Be careful here Dear Visitor. With mossy stumps and gnarled roots all intertwined, this looks like a place where you might find a Heffalump. Pooh and Piglet have set a cunning trap to catch one, but as you may have begun to realize, Pooh’s plans don’t always turn out the way he imagines they will.


Eeyore lives in a dark and boggy place within the forest. He is a rather glum fellow himself, so he feels quite at home here. But even the gloomy places can hold some of the best secrets. See how the fireflies dance, and look – there are the birthday presents Eeyore’s friends have given him – a lovely empty honey pot and a deflated balloon which he can put in or take out of the pot as he wishes.


Piglet lives the middle of a grand house in the middle of a beech tree in the middle of the forest next to a board which has “TRESPASSERS W” on it. As Piglet explains, this was short for Trespassers Will, which was of course short for Trespassers William, Piglet’s grandfather.


Climb the steps to where you can gaze out over the entire Hundred Acre Wood and think about all the wonderful adventures we have had. Oh, and look down there! Is that a party? Perhaps you are invited…


It is almost time for you to leave us Dear Visitor but before you go, stop at this clearing in the Wood. Here, many colorful flowers greet our friends as they set up for The Party. It is being held to celebrate the very Bear that started the journey. He saved his friend Piglet from peril one very soggy day and—– well, perhaps we shall leave the rest of that story to you…


Be sure to stop at the VNLA pergola on the way out. Peruse the informational boards, learn about how the display came together and all the wonderful people who volunteered their time.  Wondering what that plant is? Or how to make something magical happen in your garden? Visit with VNLA members and Vermont Certified Horticulturists and get your landscaping and gardening questions answered!

And a note about bees…

Everyone, especially Pooh, loves the honeybee. It is worth knowing, however, that there are so many other pollinators who need our support. Bumblebees, leaf cutter bees, wasps, moths, butterflies and more all pollinate flowers. For more information on how to support your local pollinator population, visit the VNLA pergola today or visit

Collaboration is Key

Want to know what makes this so much fun? The people! The Flower Show Committee and Central Display Committee are a group of hard-working people who began the planning process 18 months ago. They have given tirelessly of their time and labor to ensure the show comes together in a few short days! Wow!

VNLA Members and Vermont Certified Horticulturists

Holding a flower show was the brainstorm of members back in 1963. Over the years the show has evolved, expanded, and grown into what it is today. That brainstorming by our members still goes on today. Many of our members donate their professional time and expertise to design and build the show. Others donate plants and materials. Vermont Flower Show would never be able to happen without our members continued efforts and dedication to bringing this show to life every other year.

UVM Master Gardeners

Every show we ask master gardeners who participate in the UVM Master Gardener Program across the state if they are interested in volunteering their time to help with the Vermont Flower Show. The tasks are many and so are the master gardeners who come forward each show! Over the course of the week almost 100 master gardener volunteers help the VNLA with this endeavor! We gratefully accept their help and could not do it without them.

Grand Garden Display Committee

Melita J. Bass, Committee Co-Chair
Ed Burke, Design Coordinator and Co-Chair
Gabe Bushey, Crafted Landscapes, LLC, Committee Co-Chair
Ashley Robinson, Committee Co-Chair

Designers and Builders:

Aaron Smith, S & D Landscapes
Ashley Robinson, Landscape Designer
Ed Burke, Rocky Dale Gardens
Dan Snow

David Flaschenriem, Architect
Guinnevere Hand-Boniakowski, Perseid Gardens
Hannah Decker, Fairfax Perennial Farm, Inc.
Jamie Masefield, Masefield Dry Stone Masonry
Jared Flynn Stonework

John Padua, Cobble Creek Nursery
Keith Porter, Cedar Goods
Lezlee Sprenger, Narrow Path, LLC
Liam Murphy, Murphy Landscape Design & Siteworks
Linzy Vos
Marijke Niles, Perennial Gardens Plus
Michelle Brunell, UVM Greenhouse Facilities
Nate Carr, Church Hill Landscapes
Sam Chicaderis, SJC Garden Services
Sarah Holland, River’s Bend Design, LLC
Tanya Retz, Mama’s Gardens
VJ Comai, Burlington City Arborist

Vermont Flower Show Committee

Kristina MacKulin, VNLA/Green Works, Flower Show Committee Chair
Leslie Pelch & Emma Allen, Delaney Meeting & Event Management
Cheryl Dorschner, Vermont Gardener, Seminar Coordinator
Kathy Perkins, Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont
Marijke Niles, Perennial Gardens Plus, Plant Sale Coordinator
Melita Bass
Shari Johnson, UVM Master Gardener, Volunteer Coordinator
Terry Skorstad, Family Room Coordinator

Bringing Plants to Bloom

Brett Wilbur, Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse, and Perennial Farm
Center for Technology Essex Students
Chris Conant, Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse, and Perennial Farm
Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse and Perennial Farm Staff
Hannah Decker, Fairfax Perennial Farm, Inc.
John Padua, Cobble Creek Nursery
Lezlee Sprenger, Narrow Path, LLC
Mark Starrett & UVM Horticulture Club
Mark Storch, Claussen’s Florist,Greenhouse, and Perennial Farm
Michelle Brunell, UVM Greenhouse Facilities
Nate Carr, Church Hill Landscapes