Bring on Spring in Memphis
I am so ready for spring. Not the confused peepings of daffodils while the majority of days oppress, gray and shivery. I mean full-on spring, when the sun erases any shadow of the daffodils’ doubt, the air assumes that mellow warmth, and pastels wash over the land. My calendar tells me this won’t happen until March 20, but Memphis is celebrating all month long. These are my favorite ways:
1. Botanic immersion
Join the drift of activity at Memphis Botanic Garden, beginning with March 9’s Daffodil Dash. Choose the three-miler or a one-mile family fun run, ending at the garden’s Daffodil Hill and a party featuring live music by the Friendzies. If you’re of the stop-and-smell-the-flowers variety, I suggest the Signs of Spring Walk with master gardener Judith Hammond on March 17 (free with garden admission) or any of several events planned for March 24, from a cherry blossom celebration to spring bloom photography and sketch classes. You can also bookmark the garden’s bloom calendar here. March 30 brings the egg hunt – from 1 p.m. until all the eggs are found (or 4 p.m., whichever comes first), age divisions, including a family division, will scour the garden’s 96 acres for eggs and prizes. Pre- and post-hunt, look for a magic show, live music, crafts, activities and photo ops with the Easter Bunny. Call 901-636-4100 for details and registration/fees as applicable.
2. Daffodils at The Dixon
The Dixon Gallery & Gardens is one of my favorite places to welcome spring in Memphis – its show of daffodils (followed by tulips) strikes me as a rainbow fallen to earth. For families, a March 23 egg hunt sets smocked and seer-suckered seekers loose on the Dixon’s lush lawn before treating them to cupcakes and an Easter Bunny meet-and-greet. Art activities will be offered before the hunt, and reservations are required. For adults, the March 21 Art After Dark sets some 50,000 daffodils aglow beneath a sinking sun; live music, light eats and a cash bar enhance the landscape. And on March 24, Jason Delaney, Missouri Botanic Garden’s Bulb Collections Specialist, will present a lecture on daffodils – including stories of his global search for daffodils in the wild. Two tips before you go: Monitor the Dixon’s bloom calendar here, and show your Bank of America card the first Saturday of any month for free admission. Call 901-761-5250 for details or egg hunt reservations.
3. The buzz of the symphony
March 22 at 7:30 p.m., Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and the Memphis Symphony Chorus will perform works both composed and inspired by Bach, including Arvo Part’s If Bach Were a Beekeeper. This selection, in particular, seems relevant to the season, as does MSO’s continued pursuit of what’s fresh: In addition to its unconventional Opus One series, MSO hosted an international conducting competition in 2011 – one that radically allowed competitors of all ages and experience levels. The winner, Ken Lam, will guest-conduct the March 22 concert, followed by a complimentary reception where you can meet the artists. (Pssst: Student tickets are only $5!) Concert takes place at Memphis’ Lindenwood Christian Church; tickets available here.
4. Easter Brunch at The Peabody
Sunday brunch at The Peabody is always an occasion, though Easter elevates it. Stations – for carving, waffles, omelets and even fried green tomatoes – invite you to stop, but the pastries warrant their own buffet: a 32-foot-long parade of miniature brownies, cakes, cookies, crème brûlées, pies and more – each one crafted in-house under the direction of The Peabody’s Executive Pastry Chef, Konrad Spitzbart. The spread, including a kids’ buffet, will wind around the hotel mezzanine with a view to The Peabody’s storied lobby, accentuating the grandeur (March 31, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m). Call 901-529-3668 for reservations.
Where and how will you celebrate spring in Tennessee?