Gardening isn’t all pansies and petunias.

Rocks, dirt, concrete, wood — and muscles — also play a major role, as was proven by teams of community college students who “landscaped” for this year’s record crowds attending the Canada Blooms show.

“I grew up on a farm and I’m used to hard work,” said Melissa Sparling, 22, of Bayfield, Ont., as she lugged 60-pound stones around the patio she was building. Then she grabbed a wheelbarrow full of bricks, adding, “I love plants, but it is a lot more than plants.”

As people celebrated the first days of spring, smelling the hyacinths and daffodils which festooned the Direct Energy Centre, students from four colleges toiled with saws and shovels to create identical stone garden structures.

This year’s Canada Blooms Show drew 90,000 people, a 20 per cent increase over last year, reports Gerry Ginsberg, the show’s general manager. The warm weather that greeted the show’s opening on Wednesday and lasted for its first three days helped draw the crowds, as did an appearance by Martha Stewart on Saturday, the first day of spring.