JBEIL, Lebanon: The country kicked off the first weekend of spring with a host of flower shows from Beirut’s Karantina neighborhood to Jbeil.
At the flower market in Jbeil, crowds of families strolled through the city’s historical ruin-strewn park, weaving through displays of spring’s first buds. Clusters of blue hydrangeas and white jasmine emitted a strong perfume; roses came in red, pink and yellow; and small boxes of earth held young herbs.
Lena Haddad offered a small tour of what’s what for those who plan to kick off spring with a little at-home horticulture. Haddad’s family owns Perennials Haddad nursery in Ghazir, where there’s been enough water and rain to grow the bounty of flora at her stand. “It’s been OK,” she said.
At this time of year, gardening enthusiasts will find mostly flower box varieties like geraniums, begonias and impatiens, she said.
Flowers came in other forms too. Paintings by local artists depicted the natural scenery of the town including foliage, traditional stone houses and idyllic scenes of the Byblos port done in oil on canvas. A woman watched over her stand selling handmade wax candles in the shape of daisies and tulips.
Shoppers at Jbeil’s flower market said they were most interested in geraniums, dahlias – which came in many shades of pink – droopy, lily-like hostas and petunias ranging from pale periwinkle blue to deep violet.
For those who could use a few gardening pointers, Haddad suggested starting with the sturdier flower varieties, like geraniums or hostas: “They can stand the heat and the dryness.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 24, 2014, on page 2.