Wednesday, March 29, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Gibson House 21st Annual Benefit

The Friends of the Gibson House invite you to the Twenty-First Annual Benefit on Wednesday, March 29 from 6 – 8 at The Chilton Club, 287 Dartmouth Street in Boston.  This elegant, fun affair is a major fundraising opportunity for the museum, and all proceeds support the mission of preserving and sharing this unique time capsule of Boston life.  Wine and hors d’oeuvre will be served.   Tickets ($125 per person) may be purchased online at http://www.thegibsonhouse.org/2017-benefit.html

The event features twelve unique raffle prizes to benefit the Museum as well, hosted by Robert B. Dimmick, Etiquetteer. You do not need to be present to win.  More information may be found at  http://www.thegibsonhouse.org/2017-benefit-raffle.html

This year’s honoree is Robert J. Allison, Professor of History and former Chair of the History Department at Suffolk University. Valet parking is available at the 287 Dartmouth Street entrance for $22, including tip.  Jacket and tie required.


Wednesday, April 5, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – How Native Plant Cultivars Affect Pollinators

On Wednesday, April 5 at 7 pm at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway in Cambridge, Grow Native Massachusetts presents a free talk by Annie White, a Landscape Designer and University of Vermont Adjunct Professor.

Initiatives to address pollinator decline are widespread and native plants are the preferred choice for pollinator habitat restoration. The growing demand for natives, coupled with a longstanding desire of horticulturalists for enhanced bloom, color, or other characteristics, has led to the increased selection and breeding of native cultivars. Although these cultivars are typically marketed for their ecological benefits, until now there have been no scientific studies to support or refute these claims. So are native cultivars as valuable in pollinator habitat gardens as the true native species?

Annie White will help answer this question by sharing the results of four years of field data. Her research is groundbreaking and remarkable. She is the founder of Nectar Landscape Design Studio and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Vermont. She earned her MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her recent PhD in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Vermont was focused on this exceptional new research on native plant cultivars. For more information visit http://grownativemass.org.


Saturday, March 25, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Plants, Pollinators, and How to Support Them

On Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 pm at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive in Boylston, Joseph Tychonievich explains the interesting ways plants have evolved to attract their preferred pollinators. Along with a tour of nature’s most creative (and sometimes disgusting) methods of connecting pollinators and plants, Joseph discusses ways to foster biodiversity in your own garden and shows examples of managing garden pests by letting other insects do the dirty work.

A life long gardener and lover of plants, Joseph earned his BS in horticulture from Ohio State University, went on to work for Shibamichi Honten Nursery in Saitama, Japan, has been a repeated guest on public radio’s food show The Splendid Table, wrote a book, Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener,  Timber Press, 2013), spent two years working at the famed rare plants nursery Arrowhead Alpines and was named by Organic Gardening Magazine as one of “…six young horticulturists who are helping to shape how America gardens.” Joseph’s most recent book is Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style (Timber Press, 2016). Currently Joseph lives and gardens with his husband and an adorable black cat in SE Michigan. $15 for Tower Hill members, $25 for nonmembers. Register online at www.towerhillbg.org.


Make and Take, 2017 on the Rose Kennedy Greenway

Make and Take on the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a joyful celebration of creation that is meant to spark discussion about how things were, are, and can be made.

The centerpiece of Make and Take is a 3D printer, perched on a glowing and translucent white acrylic box. Within the enclosure of the installation, which is reminiscent of both a vending machine and a museum case, plastic filament is algorithmically and mechanically composed into a rooster figurine.

The work speaks to the democratization of manufacturing. With technologies like the 3D printer used for Make and Take, individuals can now produce objects once made exclusively by wealthy enterprises. Make and Take shines a light on how accessible technologies make it possible for everyone to design and realize their ideas with significantly fewer resources. In encountering Make and Take, the public is invited to view a marvel of modern technology: the ability to ‘print’ physical objects. The 3D printer, while remaining to be a curiosity, can be purchased for the cost of a laptop. It is on its way to democratizing manufacturing and fabrication just as the computer and the Internet have democratized information.

The 3D-printed rooster – dispensed for free by the installation – was adapted from 3D scanning a porcelain artifact from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The original object belongs to a class of objects catalogued as “China for Export,” which denotes a class of porcelain created in China by Chinese artisans specifically for export to Europe and the Americas. The Chinese artisan(s) behind the porcelain is unknown, but now – through digital scanning and 3D printing – their work is shared with the world.

Chris Templeman is an artist, engineer, and educator. Raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area, Chris now lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts. He works out of Artisan’s Asylum along with his collaborators at New American Public Art. In his engineering practice, Chris refines available technology for different contexts, making it more accessible in the process. Providing access to technology is a main theme in his work. Make and Take is his first major public art piece. Chris finds the most contentment in transforming his ideas into tangible objects. He welcomes opportunities to share the promise and perils of 3D printing through discussion and practice.

The exhibit is made possible with additional support from The Barr Foundation, Boston Cultural Council, KHJ Brand Activation, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Garden How-To Free On Line Smart Gardening Workshops

Horticulture Magazine has a series of free download’s on its website which give you access to great garden speakers from the comfort of your own home. No new live workshops are currently scheduled as of this date, but you may access recordings of past workshops at http://www.hortmag.com/smart-gardening-workshops

Here are highlights of two presentations of interest. We will feature more in the coming weeks:

Growing, Gardening & Designing with Wildflowers
In this wildflower workshop for gardeners and modern farmers, Miriam Goldberger, founder and co-owner of Wildflower Farm, covers how to grow wildflowers from seed, including easy winter sowing techniques and wildflower seedling identification, plus how to choose the best wildflowers to grow in your garden. The author of Taming Wildflowers, Miriam will talk about why monarch butterflies and other endangered pollinators need milkweed and other wildflowers in order to survive. You’ll also learn how to harvest wildflowers and design your own wildflower wedding bouquets, boutonnieres and table arrangements.

Ideas for Creating Serene Gardens—Simplicity, Sanctuary & Delight
We all know that being in nature enhances our well-being, but how do we create an outdoor haven that allows us to enjoy those healthful benefits of nature in our back yards? Landscape designer Jan Johnsen, author of Heaven is a Garden—Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection, will share intriguing techniques and ideas she has learned in her 40-year career to help you make an “unhurried garden” of your own. Jan writes the popular Serenity in the Garden blog and Facebook page.


Garden How-To Free Online Smart Gardening Workshops

Horticulture Magazine has a series of free download’s on its website which give you access to great garden speakers from the comfort of your own home. No new live workshops are currently scheduled as of this date, but you may access recordings of past workshops at http://www.hortmag.com/smart-gardening-workshops

Here are highlights of two presentations of interest. We will feature more in the coming weeks:

Good Berry, Bad Berry: Identifying Wild Edible Plants in Your Area
Foraging is hot right now, but did you know there are berries in your own back yard that you can eat? Have you walked your local greenway and wondered if the berries you spied were edible? Good Berry, Bad Berry is a homeowners guide to who’s edible, who’s toxic, and how to tell the difference. There are a few recipes with good berries that you probably never knew were edible. Beautyberry jelly anyone? This presentation by Helen Yoest takes the audience through examples of identifying wild edible plants…in your own area.

The Downsized Veggie Garden: How to Garden Small Wherever You Live, Whatever Your Space
The downsized garden is about adjusting your growing to small quarters. The audience will see what other creative gardeners have done to find room to grow herbs, tomatoes and other produce in a very small space. Decks, patios and windowsills are all included. New containers make growing on a deck a piece of cake—examples include using containers made to sit on the railing and stacking containers vertically to save space. Presenter Kate Copsey is the author of The Downsized Veggie Garden (February 2016, St. Lynn’s Press).


Wednesday, April 12, 10:00 am – The Evolutionary History of Plants

Dr. William E. (Ned) Friedman, Director of The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, will address the April 12 joint meeting of The Garden Club of the Back Bay and The Beacon Hill Garden Club. Along with the origins of vascular plants and seed plants, the origin of flowering plants represents one of the three most significant evolutionary radiations of land plants during the last 475 million years. With over 250,000 extant species, angiosperms are the largest and most diverse group of plants ever to have evolved. Paradoxically, we know less about the early evolutionary history of angiosperms than we do about many considerably older groups of land plants. Indeed, Darwin’s “abominable mystery” continues to challenge evolutionary biologists.

Dr. Friedman’s research program focuses on the organismic interfaces between developmental, phylogenetic and evolutionary biology. Remarkable recent advances in the study of the phylogenetic relationships of organisms have provided the raw materials for critical studies of character evolution in plants, animals, fungi, and all other forms of life. Armed with hypotheses of relationships among organisms, he seeks to explore how patterns of morphology, anatomy and cell biology have evolved through the modification of developmental processes.

Due to space limitations, we regret this meeting will be open only to members of The Garden Club of the Back Bay and the Beacon Hill Garden Club. The lecture will begin at 10 am at The College Club of Boston, 44 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Members of both clubs will receive written notice of the event, but may rsvp at any time prior to April 7 at info@gardenclubbackbay.org.  Photo by Justin Ide, Harvard Staff Photographer, Harvard Gazette.


Saturday, March 25, 11:00 am – 12:00 noon – Seed Starting 101

Get a head start on Mother Nature by starting seeds indoors. Great for novice gardeners, learn the basics in this hands-on Weston Nurseries workshop on Saturday, March 25 at 11 am. We will begin with timing of seed starting such as what to start and when. We will also talk about containers, seed starting soil, and how to take care of your seedlings once they have germinated. The free workshop will be held at the Chelmsford location, 160 Pine Hill Road in Chelmsford.

REGISTER ONLINE at www.westonnurseries.com. You may also call 508-293-8091 and make a reservation. We require registration at least 24 hours in advance to reserve a spot in this workshop. Don’t wait, because these classes sell out quickly!


Tuesday, March 21, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Designing with Plant Communities in Mind Live Webinar

Ecological plantings are gaining popularity, but also face challenges due to environmental conditions and cultural expectations. When these plantings fail, it discourages future ecological landscaping efforts. We won’t solve this problem if we continue to design as if it we were painting on canvas, perceiving plants as individual objects in space. It is time for a new approach: a plant community based approach that evolved from the world of ecological science. Join Claudia West on Tuesday, March 21 on line at 12:30 EST as she explains how plants fit together in the wild and how we can use this knowledge to create landscapes that are resilient, beautiful, and diverse. This presentation will provide information that is practical as well as inspiring.  This Ecological Landscape Alliance live webinar is free to ELA members, $10 to nonmembers.  See more at: http://www.ecolandscaping.org/event/webinar-designing-with-plant-communities-in-mind/#sthash.pB873Ube.dpuf

Claudia West is the ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. Ms. West holds a Master’s Degree of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. In her current role, Ms. West works closely with ecological design and restoration professionals, offering consultation services from initial project planning stages to adaptive management strategies after project completion. Her work is centered on the development of stable, layered planting designs and the desire to bring American native plants back into our landscape. Together with co-author Thomas Rainer she recently published her first book Planting in a Post-Wild World, which promotes a new approach to ecological planting design.


Garden How-To University Free Online Workshops

Horticulture Magazine has a series of free download’s on its website which give you access to great garden speakers from the comfort of your own home.  No new live workshops are currently scheduled as of this date, but you may access recordings of past workshops at http://www.hortmag.com/smart-gardening-workshops

Here are highlights of two presentations of interest.  We will feature more in the coming weeks:

Gorgeous, Superhero Flowering Shrubs and Groundcovers for Right-Size Flower Gardens
This high-energy presentation by gardening guru Kerry Ann Mendez features eye-catching, low-maintenance flowering shrubs and groundcovers that provide interest for three or more seasons. Emphasis will be on varieties that are drought tolerant and pollinator friendly. These are some of Kerry’s favorite plants showcased in her latest book, The Right-Size Flower Garden.

Spring Ahead with Cool-Season Flowers
Flower farmer Lisa Ziegler shares her experiences growing hardy annual flowers such as snapdragons, sweet peas, bells of Ireland and other spring beauties that are favorites of gardeners as well as pollinators and other helpful insects in search of habitat and food at winter’s end. She will introduce the cool-season concept, when to plant, where to locate for the earliest blooming, setting the garden up for low maintenance and how to keep the blooms coming into summer. Lisa’s book Cool Flowers (St. Lynn’s Press, September 2014) was based on this program.