The Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park celebrates spring Saturday with a flower show dedicated to L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," a book first published in 1900, about the same time the Conservatory was built.

Working from a 1939 reprint of the book, manager Kate Blom has decorated the Conservatory's rooms with Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow and all sorts of Munchkins that reflect not the MGM movie, but the original illustrations by W.W. Denslow.

And then she added 20,000 spring bulbs.

(For a sneak peak at the Flower Show, see Ken Lam's photo gallery at baltimoresun.com.)


Tulips, daffodils, narcissus, hyacinth and lilies in colors from bright white to deep purple surround the story book characters as they make their way along a yellow brick road that is, well, yellow highway tape cut into brick shapes.

Always looking for a bargain to make her conservatory budget go further, Blom also borrow a miniature house from the city's Safety City display.

She got the throne for the Wizard and the curtain that hides him from Center Stage Theater.

And she was the grateful recipient of a wagon, two-way radios and a new hose reel from the Homeland Garden Club.

"It was like Christmas," she said.



There will be cupcakes decorated with green sparkles and green punch in the "Emerald City," when the show opens at noon Saturday.

And there will be an Easter egg hunt outside the Conservatory Saturday from 12-2.

But the flowers are the stars of this show and Blom, who likes to try a few new ones each year, is especially pleased with hyacinth "Hollyhock," which blooms in a splendid rich pink.


"We don't always like everything we try, but this one was a success," she said.

Conservatory guests are greeted by a spiraling "tornado" made of air plants and Spanish moss.

The show begins with Saturday's open house from noon to 4 p.m. and runs through April 11. The Conservatory is open Tuesday through Sundays, including Easter Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The Conservatory is closed Mondays.)

The flower show is free, though a $3 donation is gratefully accepted.