Monday, May 16, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Annual Meeting of The Garden Club of the Back Bay

The Annual Meeting of The Garden Club of the Back Bay will be held Monday, May 16, from 5 – 7 at The College Club of Boston, 44 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts.  Members will receive written notification of the meeting.  If you are not a member but would like to attend, please rsvp at

Saturday, May 14, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm – Gardeners’ Fair at Elm Bank

Join the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at its annual Gardeners’ Fair on Saturday, May 14, this year featuring Allandale Farm, Boston’s oldest working farm, and the New England Unit of the Herb Society of America.  Special members’ hours 8:00 am – 9:00  am, and public hours 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Admission free for Mass Hort members with valid membership card, $5 per car for nonmembers.  Herb Garden tours will be available, and there will be family-oriented workshops such as Fairy Flowers at 10 am and Planting Herbs in a Tea Cup at noon.  The Wellesley Bank will play in the Crockett Garden at 1 pm.

The Gardeners’ Fair and Plant Sale at Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank Reservation includes a variety of vendors carrying everything you need to plan, dig, plant, and enjoy your home garden space. The heart of the Gardeners’ Fair is the plant societies. New Englanders take their gardens seriously and the most passionate gardeners – whether of the indoor or outdoor persuasion – join a plant society dedicated to the pleasure and pursuit of growing a particular genus. At plant society meetings, plants are swapped, exchanged and bartered. At the Gardeners’ Fair, they’re sold to discerning visitors who are looking for the great addition to their garden. With every plant society purchase comes a wealth of advice on care and propagation. There will be representatives from the American Begonia Society, American Rhododendron Society, Gesneriad Society and Hosta Society, among others. Many of the local chapters of specialist plant societies will continue to offer their own plant varieties including unusual and popular cultivars that Society Row has provided for more than 75 years.

Tuesday, May 10, 7:30 pm – Coevolution in a Bee-Orchid Mutualism

The next meeting of the Cambridge Entomological Club will be held on Tuesday May 10 at 07:30 PM in in room 101 of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 84 Oxford Street, Cambridge. Santiago Ramirez will present a talk entitled Coevolution in a Bee-Orchid Mutualism.  A short explanation on the topic: it’s all about the perfume.

All are welcome to join us at 5:45 at the West Side Lounge for an informal pre-meeting dinner. Please note the change in location from past years.  The speaker explains his program:

“Evolutionary biologists have long recognized the central role that species interactions play in the origin and maintenance of biological diversity. However, the ecological conditions and the genetic mechanisms whereby interacting lineages coevolve and adapt to one other remain poorly understood. My work investigates the genetic bases of coadaptation in a highly specialized plant-pollinator mutualism. Unlike the majority of insects, male euglossine bees do not produce their own pheromones, but instead gather and accumulate perfume compounds (terpenes) from the environment to present subsequently to females during courtship display. Male-gathered perfumes are species-specific, and thus likely mediate reproductive isolation among related bee lineages. A large diversity of orchid species from the American tropics has evolved the production of terpene-rich floral scents to attract male euglossine bees in exchange for pollination services. My research explores the mechanisms of coadaptation and reproductive isolation on both sides of this fascinating mutualism. On the bee side, my research aims to (1) characterize the diversity of perfume phenotypes across the phylogeny of euglossine bees, (2) investigate whether and how male perfume phenotypes mediate reproductive isolation among lineages, and (3) characterize the genetic and functional bases of sensory (olfactory) perception that control perfume specificity. On the orchid side, my work aims to (4) elucidate the ecological and chemical mechanisms of scent-mediated pollinator specificity, (5) determine whether and how divergent floral scent phenotypes promoted the evolution of reproductive isolation, and (6) characterize the genetic mechanisms that regulate scent production and differentiation among related orchid lineages. My research integrates approaches from multiple disciplines including evolutionary biology, genomics, molecular biology, chemistry and physiology to investigate how genetic toolkits are coopted to generate the intricate associations we observe between species in nature.”

The meeting is free and open to the public.  Image from

Wednesday, June 1, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm – Favorite Flowers in a Day

Do you have any drawings in your sketchbook that you really like, but never got past being a sketch?  Bring these little buds of inspiration to fruition under the Friends of Wellesley College Botanic Garden instructor Ellen Duarte’s guidance.  On Wednesday, June 1 beginning at 9:30 am, bring some of your favorite drawings to class, or just bring the whole notebook.  Students will each make a small composition using bits from their drawings.  These compositions will then be finished with a combination of graphite, pen, and wash.  Ellen will describe some of the things she likes to do with these finished drawings.  All experience levels welcome.  Friends of Wellesley College Botanic Gardens members $75, non-members $95.  Register at 781-283-3094, or email


Wednesday, May 18, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Nature’s Ambassador: The Legacy of Thornton W. Burgess

Do you recall tales of Old Mother West Wind, Jimmy Skunk, Sammy Jay, Reddy Fox, Grandfather Frog, or Jerry Muskrat? For over 100 years, the animal books and stories of beloved children’s author Thornton W. Burgess have delighted millions of children and their parents; more than of half his seventy books remain in print today.

However, there was much more to Burgess, the man, than just a writer of children’s books: he was a dedicated naturalist who was honored by prestigious scientific institutions for his advocacy of wildlife and conservation practices that resonate today. His books, syndicated columns, and radio programs both entertained and educated children, introducing them to wildlife habitat, species extinction, and roadside litter.

In Nature’s Ambassador, Christie Lowrance explores Burgess’s life and legacy, from his Cape Cod childhood to the present. Christie will speak on Wednesday, May 18 in the Hunnewell Building at the Arnold Arboretum beginning at 7 pm. Free for Arboretum members, $5 for nonmembers.  Register at

Sunday, May 8, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm – 108th Annual Lilac Sunday

Boston’s beloved tradition of Lilac Sunday has been celebrated at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University since the early 1900s, and continues to delight visitors from all walks of life each year. On May 8 from 10am to 3pm, the Arboretum invites nature lovers and garden enthusiasts to explore the Arboretum landscape to view one of the world’s most significant collections of lilacs at their peak of bloom. More than a premiere horticultural event, Lilac Sunday also honors the Arboretum’s 134-year partnership with the City of Boston and its commitment to community education and engagement. As New Englanders herald the coming of spring, Lilac Sunday invites the public to appreciate the beauty and importance of plants at this time-honored and family-friendly festival.

The Arboretum’s one-of-a-kind lilac collection numbers some 369 plants representing nearly 170 different kinds of lilacs. Together, they provide a season of color and scent that extends up to six weeks each spring. As in recent years, Lilac Sunday 2016 falls on Mother’s Day, making the occasion even more special and memorable as a family destination. The event is free, though donations to the Arboretum are appreciated. Additional information about lilacs (Syringa spp.) and the lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum is available on the Arboretum website.

Lilac Sunday showcases Boston’s unique learning landscape in bloom and offers fun, outdoor explorations for the entire family. Scheduled activities range from themed tours of lilacs and other special plant collections to an array of activities for families and children. A consortium of nearly twenty food trucks organized by Food Truck Festivals of America—including savory tacos, fall-off-the-bone BBQ, vegetarian treats, and French macaroons—will offer a wide variety of menu options from 11am to 3pm, and picnicking is allowed at the Arboretum on this special day only. Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation. The MBTA Forest Hills station on the Orange Line is nearby, and several bus lines serve the Arboretum area. Parking is limited to available curb space on streets surrounding the Arboretum perimeter.

Founded in 1872 as the first public arboretum in North America, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a leading center for the study of biodiversity and a treasured Boston landscape open free to the public year round. One of the most comprehensive and best documented collections of temperate woody plants in the world, the Arboretum promotes the understanding and appreciation of plants through world-class research, horticulture, and educational programs for all ages.

Tuesday, May 24, 8:00 am – 5:15 pm – Hollister House and Brush Hill Gardens Tour

Tower Hill Botanic Garden has arranged for an exclusive tour of Hollister House and Brush Hill Gardens in Litchfield, Connecticut on Tuesday, May 24.  A bus will leave from Tower Hill at 8 am and return at approximately 5:15.  The fee ($100 for Tower Hill members, $125 for nonmembers) includes transportation, tour fee, and boxed lunch.  If you wish to arrange your own transportation, please call 508-869-6111, ext. 124 for information on when and where to meet the group in Connecticut.  The price will, however, remain the same.

Hollister House Garden is an American interpretation of classic English gardens such as Sissinghurst, Great Dixter and Hidcote, formal in structure and informal and wild in its style of planting.  Brush Hill Gardens is home to the biographer of legendary English gardener Rosemary Verey, and has evolved over forty years.

Tuesday, May 10, 7:00 pm – The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

Award winning author Andrea Wulf shares the plant explorer Alexander von Humboldt’s life and legacy on Tuesday, May 10 at 7 pm at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive in Boylston.  Tower Hill members $15, non-members $25.  Register at

Tuesday, May 17 – Saturday, May 21 – AHS President’s Council Trip to Chicago

The year the annual American Horticultural Society President’s Council Trip destination is the greater Chicago area from May 17 – 21.  Participants will explore world famous parks and gardens, and stay at the historic Drake Hotel overlooking Lake Michigan.  The trip includes visits to notable private gardens in the area, as well as many of the city’s renowned public gardens including the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, Chicago Botanic Garden, The Morton Arboretum, and Garfield Park Conservatory.  A special guided tour of the Ball Horticultural Company’s laboratories and trial and demonstration gardens also has been arranged.  To obtain a trip itinerary and learn how to join the President’s Council, email, or visit

Wednesday, May 18, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Beacon Hill Garden Club Soiree Tour Preview Cocktail Party

In just a few weeks, the garden gates will open on Thursday May 19th when the Beacon Hill Garden Club will host its 87th annual tour of the Hidden Gardens. New this year, is the addition of a special evening viewing of three private gardens for working professionals and neighborhood friends. The Garden Soirée will take place the evening before the tour on Wednesday May 18th from 5pm to 8pm. After a stroll through the gardens, guests are invited to a cocktail party in the historic garden of the King’s Chapel Parish House off Branch Street.

The Garden Soirée will provide a chance for neighbors to enjoy a few gardens before the crowds and celebrate spring in the gorgeous garden of King’s Chapel. The night will include a specialty cocktail, raw bar, and delicious hors d’oeuvre thanks to The Catered Affair. Bistro lights, lanterns, and a jazz duo will add to the ambience of the evening.

Like the Annual Tour, the Garden Soirée is a fundraiser. All net proceeds will go toward “greening” Boston through restoring public spaces, environmental education and outreach. Tickets to Garden Soirée on May 18th are $125 and include a ticket for the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Annual Tour on May 19th. Tickets are limited. Purchase tickets at For information on the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Annual Tour and to purchase tickets, please visit