As they do every spring, the Marshall Field’s stores on State Street and in Water Tower Place this year will burst with flora and fauna for a week, offering shoppers a colorful respite from the gray weather.

The theme of this year’s Spring Flower Show, which runs March 23 through April 7, is “Provence in Bloom.” The show will feature the floral stylings of French designer Christian Tortu. Isabelle de Borchgrave, the French artist who recently launched a line of home accessories at Field’s, assisted Tortu with the design.

A native of France’s Loire Valley, Tortu’s designs for Field’s are patterned after his French country villa. Sunflowers, roses, lavender and calla lilies will grace the stores. So will the architectural elements that make Provencal gardens so unique: Trellises covered with greens and terra-cotta planters stocked with olive trees, columns decorated with lanterns and an abundance of planters will decorate the stores.

The statistics behind Field’s annual flower show are almost as stunning as the blooms themselves: Planting for the show takes 125 people and about 9,000 hours, according to the retailer. Two crews, one for refreshing flowers and another for watering them, work after-hours to keep the display in pristine condition. After the show, many plants are returned to the woods from which they were taken.

Tortu will make a personal appearance at Field’s State Street store at noon on March 22 to discuss floral arranging. His newest book, “Sensational Bouquets: Arrangements by a Master Floral Designer,” will be available for purchase and for signing.; (312) 781-4483.

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