February 2018
Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

The Mass Hort greenhouses are filling up with plants for the Boston Flower Show in March and The Gardens at Elm Bank opening day on May 1. Although there is snow on the ground, we are busy at work! With the Boston Flower Show just around the corner, Mass Hort at the Flower Show committees for floral design, photography, amateur horticulture and Ikebana are busy encouraging people to join the competitions at the flower show. Please check out the schedules here .
Mass Hort’s School Gardens Conference will take place Thursday, February 22, from 9 am- 4 pm. Please help spread the word to your schools and school volunteers, as there is still time to sign up. We have assembled a great list of workshops to help educators and their students enjoy success in the garden. School gardens increase performance in the classroom, and are shown to develop life skills and healthy eating habits in students. Mass Hort is working to bring garden opportunities to youth throughout New England, and we hope our members will get involved!

Warm regards,
Upcoming Classes
& Events:

Tuesday, February 6
7 - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 8
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 13
10 - 11 a.m.

Thursday, February 22
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, March 5
10 - 11:30 a.m.
Mass Hort's Fourth Annual School Garden Conference
Thursday, February 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Want to get kids excited about  science , gardening and the  environment ? School gardens are the place! They are also spaces where students can develop confidence and leadership  skills.

We are excited to announce that Jess Bloomer, Deputy Director at Groundwork Somerville, will give the keynote addresss at our fourth annual school garden conference! She will kick off a day featuring workshops that will cover topics such as garden planning and maintenance, garden classroom management, curriculum connections, and using the food you grow. This year's theme, Growing for Confidence , is designed to highlight the ways in which garden work can develop confidence, life skills and leadership qualities. We'll have workshops for elementary school gardens as well as some for older levels.

Workshops will support interested parents and volunteers, teachers and administrators—for those who have established gardens and those just breaking ground. Find a list of workshops here .

Pre-registration required, space is limited, register here .

February 22, $40 members, $20 for students
What's Better than Flowers for Valentine's Day?
Flowers All Year Long!
Give the gift of a Mass Hort Membership and the loves in your life will receive:

* Ticket(s) to the Boston Flower and Garden Show,
* Free admission to The Gardens at Elm Bank,
* Reduced rates on horticultural classes,
* Discounts at local nurseries,
* And much more!

Learn more about Gift Memberships , and give a gift they'll really love. Hurry! Send your orders by Saturday, February 10!
Save $10* with Promo: LOVE2018

*Promotion for new or rejoining members only
An Added Benefit to Membership
Massachusetts Horticultural Society is thrilled to offer Fine Gardening magazine as a new benefit of a Mass Hort Membership, to both new and rejoining members, effective February 1, 2018. The Fine Gardening m agazine benefit will include 6 issues of the magazine.

Fine Gardening is packed with ideas and photos to inspire your imagination, plus the know-how to apply workable ideas to your garden. Learn about plants that work in your region by guiding you to the right plants for your zone and soil conditions and by showing you how to care for and maintain them. From pruning to potting, starting seeds to dividing mature plants, Fine Gardening shows you the techniques essential to garden care.
Get Ready for the Flower Show!
Volunteer With Us!

Volunteers are needed at the Boston Flower and Garden Show in March. Special events like the Flower Show help Mass Hort educate the public about the environment, sustainability, and stewardship of our natural world. It also helps us connect to our many supporters. But we can’t do it without the help of valued volunteers who contribute their skills, experience and knowledge to this event.

We need helpers to build, install and water our garden design exhibit, be an ambassador for Mass Hort and membership, and guard the plants, among other tasks. If you are passionate about gardening, or have a positive outgoing personality and love to talk to people, or just want to meet new people, learn what goes on behind the scenes of a Flower Show and help out. Please join us as a volunteer at the Show. Bring a friend or two! SIGN UP HERE !

Set-up dates: March 9 - 13
Show dates: March 14 - 18
Break-down dates: March 19 - 20

Thank you for your valuable time. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Amy Rodrigues, Volunteer Coordinator, at 781-408-9174 or email arodrigues@masshort.org.

MEMBERS: Your Flower Show Tickets Will Be Mailed in Late February!
Paragon’s 2018 Boston Flower & Garden Show will be held March 14 to 18. Please save the dates and watch for your Flower Show tickets in the mail in late February. 
Upcoming Classes at Mass Hort
We have arranged two exciting tours for our members and guests to take place in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, February 13, we'll visit Little Leaf Farms in Shirley, MA. Founder Paul Sellow will lead our group through Little Leaf Farms, a 25-acre hydroponic farm and the leading producer of baby greens sold across the Northeast! The farm is the most technologically advanced lettuce growing greenhouse in the world. Greens are grown hydroponically using captured rainwater, just one aspect of its sustainable model. Space is limited, pre-register today ! $12 per member, Feb 13, 10 to 11 a.m.

We have also organized a tour to take place on Monday, March 5 at the Lyman Estate in Waltham, MA. Lyman Estate docents will lead us through the mansion and greenhouses, among the oldest in the United States. Come see their exotic house plants, citrus fruits, and the blooming camellias! Please pre-register here . $20 per member, March 5, 10 - 11:30 a.m.

There is still space in Thursday's class, Fruit Trees: Maintenance and Propagation, presented by Stockbridge School of Agriculture Director, Wes Autio. He will discuss the horticulture and physiology of fruit trees, the unique methods of managing dwarf trees, ways to enhance fruiting, and other interesting facts for creating and maintaining a home orchard. Register Today. $12 per member, Feb 8, 6:30 -8:30 p.m.
Savor Spring at the Boston Flower and Garden Show!

By Hannah Traggis,
Senior Horticulturist
New Englanders are an especially hardy breed of humans and toughing out a northeastern winter is a hallmark of our unique and collective makeup. For well over ten decades, Mass Hort has helped provide a respite and reward for the winter-weary. For the last ten years, Mass Hort at the Flower Show has brought inspiring landscapes, educational programming, and floral design, photography and home horticulture competitions to Paragon’s annual Boston Flower and Garden Show. We are delighted to once again invite you to the Seaport World Trade Center.

This year, we present our exhibit ‘Nuptials in Napa’, a celebration of the elegant botanic garden backdrop that The Gardens at Elm Bank offers our visitors. Designed by Enchanted Gardens’ principal Jana Milbocker, and Mass Hort staff Hannah Traggis, Dan Brooks and David Fiske, the exhibit will showcase Mass Hort’s amateur floral design open classes competition. It will be set under a wedding tent, with a relaxed after-hours, yet chic, Napa Valley Vineyard feel.

There are a number of ways to be involved with Mass Hort’s exhibits at the Boston Flower and Garden Show this year. One of the most exciting is the opportunity to compete in our Floral Design Open Classes! Geared to encourage an expression of the love of plants through flower arrangements, this competition is free and open to the public to enter. Find out how here ! Another fun way to participate and become part of our exhibit is to bring your favorite house plant and enter it into our Amateur Horticulture competition.
From the Stacks:

By Maureen O'Brien,
Library Manager
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.  ―  Søren Kierkegaard

Last month I wrote about Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library’s importance as an “anti-library,” a place to preserve our collective history of horticultural science. Why is preserving historical records important today? One reason is efficiency—there is no need to reinvent the wheel. In the records of the past, our staff, researchers and patrons can find information on what formerly worked and what didn’t. They will find inspiration for future projects and direction for future sustainable practices by knowing what was here, what is lost and, maybe, what caused an extinction. 

Featured Book

The Gardens of England from Paintings and Drawings on the Spot by E. Adveno Brooke (London: T. McLean, 1857) is a large folio (15x21) that was acquired by the Society in 1885. Described as “One of the finest chromolithographic books of the Victorian era, ” it includes 25 chromolithograph prints finished by hand and 16 lithographed vignettes of some of the finest Victorian gardens in England. It had a guarantee that “the drawings are correct and faithful in all their details.” The accompanying letter-press text recounts historic and descriptive details of the sites.

As I was browsing the book, I was struck by the image of “The Parterre at the Gardens at Wilton House, Wiltshire England” and the truth of the adage “everything old is new again.” Amidst the parterre, ornamented with fountains, a casino and sculpture, was a metal tree festooned with vines that immediately brought to mind Robert Irwin’s bougainvillea arbors, composed of stylistic rebar trees, in the Central Garden at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. I am sure that this analogous melding of art, architecture and horticulture in both centuries brought delight to the visitors at Wilton House just as they do today at the Getty Center.  The Central Garden is part of the museum’s permanent collection, and, as a sculpture, Irwin's work will be maintained according to the artist's intent. To learn more about this extraordinary garden, come into the library to peruse or borrow Robert Irwin, Getty Garden by Lawrence Weschler (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002).

An enjoyable feature of the Gardens of England is the historical lore that accompanies the illustrations. Wilton House dates back to the ninth century. At that time, so the story goes, Sir Osborne Gifford abducted “two fair nuns carrying them off as his personal booty” from the nunnery on the site. The archbishop of Canterbury excommunicated the knight and imposed the following penance: the miscreant must (1) return the nuns; (2) never enter a nunnery or talk to nuns again; (3) be whipped with rods while naked on 3 successive Sundays in each of 3 different parishes; (4) fast regularly; (5) lay aside his knightly regalia and dress in clothes of a russet color or sheepskin; and finally (6) he could not put on a shirt until he had spent three years in the Holy Land. There was no report whether the former Sir Osborne was ever absolved.

It is sad that many art books are being disassembled and sold as individual prints. The Society is committed to preserving this historic book intact for all to enjoy. While the experience cannot compare to viewing it in person, you may view the entire book online here.  

Today Wilton House , the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years, encompasses 14,000 acres. The estate is open to the public and includes 22 acres of parkland and gardens, in addition to other commercial operations. 

In the Windows

Do you visit parks and gardens on vacation? Doing some research ahead of time can enhance your visit. This month’s window exhibit focuses on Garden Travel. Drop by, browse our books either on site or online at Masscat.org . Suggested search terms include “garden guide,” “guidebook, “national parks,” “travel and gardens” or the name of the place you are visiting. Narrow your search by selecting ‘Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library’ on the left under Holding libraries .

We are Still Collecting

Since its inception in 1829, the Library relied on the generosity of its members to build its Collections. We continue to rely on the generosity of our donors. We receive books from authors, individuals and from donors on the Society’s Amazon Wish List . You will note many of the books on the Wish List are children’s books that could be borrowed by our young visitors and by our staff conducting educational programs in the gardens and on the road in the Mass Hort Plantmobile.

Save the Date

Want to add to your own “anti-library” or get inspired? The Library will be holding a Book Sale of duplicate titles at the Gardeners' Fair on Saturday, May 12, at Elm Bank. All the books and periodicals will be bargain priced. Plan to pick up a book or two along with your new plants.

Image “The Parterre in the Gardens at Wilton” from Gardens of England.
Spotlight on Staff
"I have to tell you how absolutely WONDERFUL Mary Kate is! She was so full of energy and enthusiasm when we met with her on Saturday. She was so thorough when she walked us through our options and her love of her job really shone through - she lit up talking about weddings she has worked on!"

- A Prospective Elm Bank Bride
Mary Kate Knight joined Mass Hort in 2016 as the Events and Functions Intern. Originally from Chatham, New York, Mary Kate studied at Western New England University in Springfield focusing in Communications and Public Relations. Mary Kate was very involved in her time at WNEU working in the Admissions Office as a Student Ambassador, managing the Men’s basketball team and representing her class on Class Council. After four years in Springfield Mary Kate relocated to Boston (and subsequently became a devoted Patriots fan).

Mary Kate spent her first six months in Boston learning all she could about the event industry and falling in love with The Gardens at Elm Bank. As her first event season at Elm Bank came to a close, Mary Kate began a six month internship with the Fairmont Copley Plaza with the Public Relations team. While Mary Kate loved her time in the heart of the city, she really missed the gardens of the Elm Bank Reservation. In April of 2017 Mary Kate rejoined Mass Hort as the Event and Functions Department Assistant. Working in the Event and Functions Department, Mary Kate plays an integral role in the planning, coordinating and execution of events on the property, especially weddings, and managing the social media. During event season, Mary Kate can be found behind the scenes of many events working directly with clients and vendors as the on-site Event Manager. During the work day, Mary Kate wears two hats, working in the Events and Functions Department and assisting our Executive Director and other vital departments in many ways.

Mary Kate is looking forward to an exciting 2018 with Mass Hort and the many adventures that lay ahead! Contact her at mkknight@masshort.org.
The Rockefeller Family Gardens: An American Legacy
by Larry Lederman (photographs), Dominique Browning, Cynthia Bronson Altman, Todd Forest and Cassie Banning
The Monacelli Press, 2017

Reviewed by Patrice Todisco
This past summer I had the pleasure of visiting the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, Maine. On a crisp summer morning I arrived early (having secured entry on-line) and was gratified to be one of the first visitors to enter the South Gate. Ahead of me lay the Spirit Path, its gravel patterns intact. 

For one brief moment, I stood alone in the center of the lawn looking towards the Moon Gate gazing at the Buddha Shakyamuni. Marveling at the mystical convergence of eastern and western culture that created this magical place, I was grateful for the opportunity to experience its beauty.

As I read The Rockefeller Family Gardens: An American Legacy , I learned that David Rockefeller, who passed away in March 2017 at the age of 101, had bequeathed the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, along with several other properties, to the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve. His commitment to its stewardship and to the preservation of the garden for the public’s use and enjoyment is part of the enduring, philanthropic story of the Rockefeller Family celebrated in The Rockefeller Family Gardens: An American Legacy.
Within its pages photographer Larry Lederman showcases Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate located thirty miles from New York City in the Hudson River Valley, and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, capturing their enduring beauty throughout the seasons with artistic intimacy. His focus on the geometry of the designs and processional movement through space is augmented by a fascination with light and shadow. With a lyrical expression, Lederman implores the reader to experience the ephemeral quality of both gardens as an artifact of time and memory. 
A beaux-arts masterpiece built by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., the two-hundred and fifty-acre Kykuit, whose name is from the Dutch word for lookout, sits within a majestic landscape overlooking the Hudson River. A series of formal gardens, developed by three generations of the Rockefeller family, is embellished with nearly eighty works of twentieth-century European and American sculpture added by Nelson Rockefeller. 

A Japanese garden, created in 1908 and expanded in the 1960’s, was influenced by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s interest in Asian culture. Their interests later informed the creation of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller garden at The Eyrie, the family’s summer retreat in Maine, where they worked collaboratively with celebrated landscape designer Beatrix Farrand.

Lederman’s close association with Kykuit (he lives close by and photographed it over multiple years) provides a unique opportunity to explore its gardens through his singular vision. According to the introduction this is the first time that extensive images of the Japanese Garden have been published, and its serenity and seasonal qualities are beautifully depicted in photographs taken in the fall and spring which contrast the rich autumnal colors with the subtle shades of spring.

Accompanying essays include an introduction by Dominque Browning, former editor of House & Garden Magazine; Todd Forest, Vice-President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden; Cynthia Bronson Altman, curator of the collections at Kykuit,and Cassie Banning, manager of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. Each brings their personal insight into the history and relevance of these remarkable gardens to a contemporary audience while sharing details about their design, management and maintenance.  

A site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, under the stewardship of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the Pocantico Center, Kykuit serves as a community resource and offers a wide   variety of public access  th rough the museum visitation program, lectures, cultural events and artist residencies. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is open by reservation only and these can be made through the Land and Garden Preserve.

Patrice Todisco writes about gardens and parks at www.landscapenotes.com .
The Cary Award 2018

By R. Wayne Mezitt
Mass Hort Trustee Chairman
It’s so easy to become confused when we shop for our gardens, searching among so many attractive plant choices and brands. How can we be sure which ones will perform well for us? We all derive such pleasure from our gardens when our plants achieve or exceed our expectations. And it’s so upsetting when any of our selections fails to thrive, so we don’t want to make the wrong choice.

To address this all-too-familiar dilemma, the Worcester County Horticultural Society (Mass Hort’s Worcester-region horticultural “cousin” 1 ) at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens created the Cary Award , an independent plant-recognition program for New England gardens. Since most of the plants sold on the market today are produced outside this region, this program helps ordinary homeowners feel confident the plants they choose will be the right ones for their local needs and will perform well in their gardens. Similar plant selection programs have been developed for other regions, but only the Cary Award Program focuses specifically on New England.

Each year since 1997 an impartial jury comprised of New England’s foremost horticultural experts gather to discuss and eventually choose Cary Award winning plants. Their selections are governed solely by high standards, not individual or business interests. They recommend one or more “foolproof”, often underutilized woody plants they deem particularly well-suited for this region’s climate and soil conditions, resistant to pests and diseases, attractive in more than a single season and readily available at garden centers.

More than 60 woody trees, shrubs and vines are now recognized as Cary Award winners. Look for the distinctive Cary Award tag at your local garden center, ask there for further information and check the Cary Award website: www.caryaward.com . Cary Award winners for 2018 are bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) and Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), along with their cultivars.

Bottlebrush buckeye is a wide, thicket-forming deciduous shrub that soon grows to twelve feet high and wide, becoming even wider with age. Strikingly-distinct, foot-long spikes of white flowers in abundance over a two-week period in July produce smooth husks containing glossy-brown pear-shaped inedible nuts in October, quickly taken by squirrels. Large compound leaves turn buttery-yellow in fall before dropping, presenting a dense, multi-stemmed coppice for winter viewing. Thriving in sun or light shade and deer resistant, this is a fine choice for the edge of woods, boundary plantings, screening and specimen uses in larger gardens. Native to southeastern USA and hardy to Zone 4, it thrives in ordinary, well-drained soils and has few pests.

Atlantic white cedar , a narrowly-columnar evergreen conifer, is native to freshwater-wetlands and woodlands from Maine to Georgia. The species is a reasonable alternative to the all-too-commonly-used arborvitae as a background, screening or hedge planting. But it’s not regularly used in most gardens because of its 50+ ft. ultimate height and tendency to retain more foliage near its top as it matures with lighter bottom branching. Several recent cultivars grow more slowly, stay smaller and display appealing foliage all year long. Look for ‘Andelyensis’ (dwarf with densely-held foliage), ‘Heatherbun’ (dwarf growing with purple winter foliage) and ‘Ericoides’ (soft, juvenile foliage) at your local garden center. All will make excellent additions to your garden, attractive during the growing seasons and all winter long.

R. Wayne Mezitt is a 3 rd generation nurseryman and a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist , now chairman of Weston Nurseries of Hopkinton and Chelmsford, MA , and owner of “ Hort-Sense ”, a horticultural advisory business. Wayne currently serves as Trustee chairman for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley MA.

1 A participant in the AHS reciprocal admissions program , another Mass Hort membership benefit.
Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams 

By Neal Sanders,
Leaflet Contributor

For New England gardeners, January and February are a single, 59-day-long morass of cold, miserable weather which we know is killing our shrubs, punctuated by the occasional thaw that we are certain is heaving our perennials out of the ground. We can’t wait for March to come.
But thinking about being buried under two feet of snow by winter storm Liam, Quinn, Skylar, or Toby (which are actual names chosen for 2018 by meteorologists whose sense of humor escapes me) is just too depressing. Accordingly, optimistic gardeners place seed orders and tend their houseplants. 
Me? I plan warmer-weather, horticulture-centric travel. For example, I need to be in Philadelphia in the latter part of May. I’ve already added two days to that trip to get re-acquainted with Longwood, Chanticleer, Winterthur, and the Scott Arboretum after a too-long absence. ‘Big’ gardens are more than just spectacles; they also contain educational elements for those of us who don’t have hundred-acre estates. The Scott Arboretum (essentially, the entire campus of Swarthmore College) is a practical demonstration of how to combine ecology, horticulture, and botany into a home landscape.
I’m also going to head north (or is that down east?). Last year I saw the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden for the first time (shame on me…). That visit was in June. This year it will be in a different month and I intend to also see the Beatrix Ferrand Garden and a few other historic properties in that state.
As long as I’m planning, how about something outside of the Northeast? I sometimes feel as though I spent an entire year of my life on airplanes commuting between Boston and San Jose or San Francisco. On those business trips, I flew over Yosemite National Park a hundred times without ever managing to visit it. I have decreed that this is the year I rectify that omission. It will likely be in the fall, after most of the tourists have decamped. It is one of America’s earliest established National Parks and still, arguably, its most dramatic.
The thermometer outside my window says it is 22˚ right now. But, just by writing this, I’m already starting to feel as though I just might make it through this winter intact.   

Neal Sanders is the author of eleven mysteries, many with horticultural themes. His twelfth book will be published in March.
January Horticultural Hints

by Betty Sanders,
Leaflet Contributor
After the snow , gently remove snow from evergreens. A car’s snow brush or a small broom can remove the snow without risking damage to the plant. Snow covering perennials and small shrubs will help protect them from sudden temperature changes, which are more deadly to plants than the cold.

Remember the birds.  It has been a dreadful winter for the birds. Continue to put out fresh seed and suet and remember that they also need water.

Winter pruning.  Now is a good time to do your winter pruning. Start with any plant that has been damaged during earlier storms. If a tree is so damaged it needs to be removed, have an arborist do the work before the ground thaws in the spring. Next tackle fruit trees, grapes and evergreens to have them done before the spring growth spurt begins. Do not prune any spring or early summer bloomers—you’ll be cutting off the flowers.

Time to cut branches to force indoors. Start with forsythia, witch hazel, and pussy willows; later look for quince and small branches from cherry trees to brighten your home.

Ice melting chemicals and road salt will soak into the ground during thaws where they will kill plants when they begin growing again in the spring. Instead of chemicals, use cat litter, sand or other non-toxic materials on sidewalks and driveways. 

Take stock of your winter landscape . If you think you could improve your winter views, check gardening books and magazines for ideas that you can put into action when gardening season returns.

Resent florist Valentine’s Day prices?  Give a gift Mass Hort membership or a gift certificate to the gardener’s favorite nursery and get thanks again when it’s time to buy whatever the gardener is dreaming of growing this year.

Clean up your houseplants —spray or wipe smooth leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust, use a small brush to clean fuzzy leaves such as African violets which don’t like to get wet. Clean leaves can take advantage of every bit of sunlight they get. Toward the end of the month, begin using a weak fertilizer solution for watering.

Finish ordering seed, if you haven’t already. If you chose flower or vegetable seeds that need to be started indoors, pay careful attention to how deep to plant, how much light is needed and the minimum and maximum temperatures for the seedlings. Before you start those seedlings, be realistic about the amount of attention you can devote to them until they are ready to go outdoors. Sometimes it is better to buy your garden seedlings from a reputable nursery in the spring.

You can see more of Betty Sanders’ gardening suggestions at www.BettyOnGardening.com
Mass Hort Tool Sale!
When your garden chores are complete, consider donating your used tools to Mass Hort. We'll be hosting a Tool Sale at the 2018 Gardener's Fair in May!

Whether you're replacing them with something new, downsizing, or just cleaning house-- we'll take them! Call 617-933-4973 or email kfolts@masshort.org for details!
Upcoming Partner Events
Announcing: Kerry Ann Mendez to lead a garden tour of England next July 2 - 11, 2018. The tour will include magnificent gardens and the world's largest Flower Show, the Hampton Court Flower Show. Information about the tour including package prices can be found at www.pyours.com
Celebrating Herbs Symposium, April 7, 2018

Save the date for “Celebrating Herbs” a symposium sponsored by The New England Unit of the Herb Society of America. On April 7th, 2018 come and enjoy captivating speakers, delicious lunch, demonstrations, and silent auction!