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U.S. flower and garden show deals

/ Source: ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL

In a sure sign of spring, flower shows, garden weeks, and festivals celebrating everything from cherry blossoms to dogwoods are popping up across the U.S. — with special lodging packages to boot.

Boston, Mass.: New England Spring Flower Show, March 8-16
The 137th annual flower show draws gardeners, designers, horticulturalists, and admirers to the Bayside Expo Center for a week of floral exhibits, competitions, events, and schmoozing. It's the third largest flower show in the world and boasts 40 fully landscaped gardens.

The Doubletree Club Hotel Boston Bayside, adjacent to the Expo Center, is offering a Flower Show package that includes a one-night stay and two tickets to the show from $129 per room.

When: March 8-16, 2008

Details: Based on double occupancy. Taxes are an additional 12.45 percent. Mention rate code FSP when booking.

Contact: 800/222-8733,

Washington, D.C.: , March 29-April 13
The city's cherry trees are clustered around the Tidal Basin; the first ones were given to the U.S. by Japan in 1912 as a token of friendship. Events include a parade and the Smithsonian's annual Kite Festival, during which handmade kites flutter over the National Mall. A cherry blossom information trailer sits near the intersection of Independence Avenue and 17th Street (202/547-1500).

Several are offering discounted rates or packages tailored to the festival. Keep in mind that the cheapest rates tend to be for hotels in outlying areas of Virginia and Maryland, which will likely require renting a car.

For some bragging rights, consider staying at the Mandarin Oriental, the only D.C. hotel that overlooks the Tidal Basin. It has a special Cherry Blossoms Bloom package with accommodations in a water-view room, a trio of cherry-flavored treats (including a dessert made in the hotel's pastry kitchen), breakfast at Café MoZU, and valet parking. The package starts at $335 per room per night.

When: March 21-April 20, 2008

Details: Taxes are an additional 14.5 percent. Based on double occupancy.

Contact: 202/554 8588,

Virginia: , April 19-27
The statewide celebration enlists more than 250 historic attractions—among them, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon—and numerous private homes whose gardens are opened to the public. Tickets range from $10 to $35 per person; if you purchase tickets to Old Town Alexandria's local tour, admission to Mount Vernon is included.

Properties throughout the state are offering . For instance, at the Stonewall Jackson, a historic hotel in the Shenandoah Valley, the Garden Week package includes a one-night stay, breakfast, and two tickets to a tour of five local gardens, from $175 per room per night.

When: April 25-26, 2008

Details: Taxes are an additional 10 percent. Based on double occupancy.

Contact: 540/885-4848,

Augusta, Ga.: , April 25-27
Lectures, kid-friendly activities, tours of seven private gardens throughout the city, and vendors selling garden accessories and rare plants are all part of the weekend-long festival.

The elegant Partridge Inn, with Southern touches like covered verandahs and magnolia trees, has a package that covers a one-night stay, a one-day pass to the festival (including a garden tour), and a $20 dining credit valid for the inn's Verandah Grill, starting at $154 per room per night.

When: April 25-27, 2008

Details: Taxes are an additional 13 percent. Based on double occupancy. Note that only one pass to the festival is included; you can purchase an additional one-day pass for $35.

Contact: 800/476-6888,

Read these before you book any Real Deal.

More U.S. spring shows:

• , Feb. 23-April 6

• , March 2-9

• , March 8-16

• , March 12-16

• , April 1-30

• , April 4-6

Cincinnati Flower Show, April 19-27