An easy way to gather ideas for the coming season

Flowering Interests

Ready for a preview of what comes after winter? Head for Indiana this weekend for the 55th Indiana Flower & Patio Show in downtown Indianapolis.

There’s far more to it than elaborate displays of yard umbrellas and perennial beds: More than 400 exhibitors will haul out hot tubs, fire pits, yard art, decks, and the latest in outdoor kitchens and furniture.

Among the splashier attractions: “The Urban Homestead,” a 10,000-square-foot city lot recreated in the Expo Hall, demonstrates how to create sustainable outdoor space. The homestead’s eco-friendly elements include rain barrels, wind turbines, chicken coops (with live chickens), bed gardens, beehives, and a cottage surrounded by grass that’s “mowed” by grazing sheep. Experts will be on hand to answer your questions about permaculture, solar power, composting, aquaponics, and other green gardening methods. Admission is $12.

GO The 55th Annual Indiana Flower & Patio Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds West Pavilion and Expo Hall. 1202 East 38th Street, 800-215-1700,

Where to Stay: The Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station (123 W. Louisiana St., 317-631-2221, has 273 guest rooms with period décor and modern amenities, including 26 fashioned from actual Pullman sleeper cars; rates start at $249 a night. The Nestle Inn (637 N. East St., 317-610-5200, has five guest rooms in a 117-year-old mansion in the heart of downtown Indianapolis; rates range from $129 to $189 per night.

Where to Eat: The Eagle’s Nest (1 S. Capitol Ave., 317-616-6170) sits atop the Hyatt and revolves to provide a stunning 360-degree view of downtown Indianapolis; the fare is upscale chops, game, and seafood. The Oceanaire Seafood Room (30 S. Meridian St., Ste. 100, 317-955-2277, has an oyster bar, Canadian and North Atlantic lobsters, and steaks.