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After 2-year hiatus, RI Home Show opens April 7 at Convention Center

Posted 3/30/22

The RI Home Show is only a week away and Gianna Pagliarini from Central Nurseries in Johnston is looking forward to the upcoming exhibition. She said the nursery has participated in the show since …

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After 2-year hiatus, RI Home Show opens April 7 at Convention Center


The RI Home Show is only a week away and Gianna Pagliarini from Central Nurseries in Johnston is looking forward to the upcoming exhibition. She said the nursery has participated in the show since 2018 and when one home show ends, the business immediately starts preparing for the next one. This year, Central Nurseries created a garden experience titled Gardens of the World – which is a self-guided tour for visitors. This experience (which is part of the show’s “Tour” category) includes France, England, Italy, Japan, Holland, Rhode Island (America), Canada and the tropics.

“We want people to see how they can take little pieces of certain countries and put them in their own landscape,” said Pagliarini.

The Rhode Island Builders Association (RIBA) will hold this year’s home show from Thursday, April 7 to Sunday, April 10 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The event returns for the first time since 2019, with hundreds of exhibitors, contractors, workshops and more. Forty of the businesses and exhibitors present come from Cranston, Johnston and Warwick. Tickets are $10 per adult and $8 for seniors; youth ages 15 and under are free. Tickets are valid for all four days of the show with a wristband, and tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.

On Thursday and Friday, the show opens from noon to 9 a.m. On Saturday, guests can come from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday the show will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The show is divided into four categories: Tour, Explore, Learn and Find. 

In the “Tour” category, Central Nurseries will highlight eight countries from around the world. Central Nurseries is a family-owned nursery and landscape construction company that offers a range of services from design and installation to maintenance and interior plant displays. Pagliarini has worked in the business for 12 years and is a fourth-generation family member working at the nursery. She said she works the business end of the company since she did not receive a green thumb.

Pagliarini said the nursery selected the countries based on the type of plant material they could get and that could survive in Rhode Island’s climate. She said that while she would love to have tall Italian cypresses in the Italy garden, the tree wouldn’t survive, so the nursery’s goal was to find a similar looking plant that would have an Italy effect.

At the home show, individuals can learn how wind, soil type, soil moisture, humidity, pollution, snow and winter sunshine affects plant survival; the way plants are placed in the landscape, how they are planted and their size/health might also influence their survival.

In preparation for the RI Home Show, Central Nurseries had the help of roughly 300 students across the state. Some of the students assisted with the project’s conceptual aspects and others will help with assembling and disassembling the gardens.

Pagliarini said signage within the tour will inform individuals on the type of plants and countries, and employees will be available to talk with homeowners. Central Nurseries’ products will not be on sale at the event, so Pagliarini recommends that individuals photograph the tags of plants they like so Central Nurseries can help them at their store; once the show is over, all the materials will return to their Johnston location and can be purchased.

Pagliarini mentioned that during the pandemic business was extremely busy and said every day felt like Saturday with people shopping for plants because they were at home and spending more time in the yard.

“We were fortunate that it [the pandemic] affected us in a positive way,” Pagliarini said.

She said it seems that people have stuck with gardening and that more people want to spend more time at home and in yards.

In addition to the Gardens of the World experience, the show’s “Tour” section includes an Art of the Ocean State Gallery presented by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Individuals can purchase photography and paintings created by Rhode Island artists.

In “Explore,” guests can visit the Specialty RI Flower Show, the floral competition and can check out the connected home showcase and the free soil test/seed giveaway.

The “Find” category features hundreds of individual exhibitors, contractors, workshops and more. From local contractors to tradesmen, these individuals can offer helpful tips on how to best utilize the expertise of your local resources.

Solar remains big

Solar returns as one of the big topics of the RI Home Show. According to Christopher Kearns, the Assistant Director for Special Projects at the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, there are 12,290 residential solar systems installed within Rhode Island as of Dec. 2021. He said solar homeowners pursue solar for environmental/climate change and energy saving benefits. The residential solar programs were introduced to the state in 2013.

“The programs have been very popular and we expect that to continue in 2022,” said Kearns in an email interview.

At this year’s RI Home Show, homeowners can learn about the state’s Renewable Energy Fund and Renewable Energy Growth Program options that are available to homeowners to evaluate solar.

“Homeowners (or their contracted solar developer) also leverage the federal Investment Tax Credit when accessing one of the state residential solar programs. Residential solar systems are also exempt from local property taxes, per RI state law,” Kearns said.

Kearns mentioned that inflation has impacted a number of sectors of the country’s economy – including materials associated with solar installations. He said the Office of Energy Resources encourages homeowners to review solar options for their homes and get multiple developer quotes on an installation and the warranties provided.

The Home Show’s Energy Expo which is part of the “Learn” category will feature the All-Electric Home, a project in partnership with the Rhode Island Builders Association. According to the Home Show’s website, this project highlights the Warwick Career Tech Center Carpentry and Electrical students who created a cross-section of an all-electric home from solar and appliances, to heating, controls and battery storage.  


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