Thursday, August 14, 4:30 pm – Dancing Flowers: The Gardens of Jacob’s Pillow

Not only is Jacob’s Pillow one of the Berkshire’s most celebrated cultural institutions and famous dance festivals in the world, it is also home to an incredible display of annual and perennial gardens. On Thursday, August 14 at 4:30 pm, join garden designer Valerie Locher for a Berkshire Botanical Garden sponsored behind-the-scenes tour of these much admired gardens. Concentrating on annuals, Valerie will discuss her design concepts and will share tips and techniques for keeping gardens beautiful throughout the summer. Following the tour, participants are welcome to attend a free performance at the Pillow’s Inside/Out theater.

Valerie Locher owns a local landscape design and gardening business and has been cultivating the grounds of Jacob’s Pillow since the early ’80s, when she first donated four hanging baskets to the Ted Shawn Theater. Since then she has worked to renovate the Tea Garden, the Meeker Garden and the Inside/Out theater, helping the gardens to become a beloved part of the spirit of Jacob’s Pillow. It is her way to contribute to the dance community and help set the stage for all of the great performances that occur there each summer. BBG members $20, nonmembers $25.  Register on line at or call 413-298-3926, x 15.  Jacob’s Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, Massachusetts.

Saturday, August 9, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm – Capture the Summer Harvest

Learn to create delightful winter pleasures from summer’s abundant gardens: how to air dry, silica dry and dehydrate flowers for fall and winter decorating; the step-by-step tricks of preserving the green leaves of summer with glycerin; and the many ways to keep and package herbs for the winter kitchen and gift-giving season. It’s fun, easy and satisfying to capture the beauty, flavors and fragrance of summer for winter use! For our Garden Club of the Back Bay wreath project, these blossoms will be invaluable.  The class will be held at Tower Hill Botanic Garden on Saturday, August 9, from 9:30 – 12:30, and will be taught by Betsy Williams.  THBG members $60, nonmembers $75.  Register at

Friday, August 15, 11:00 am – Birds of Prey: Tom Ricardi, Wildlife Rehabilitator

Join wildlife rehabilitator Tom Ricardi at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens in West Stockbridge on Friday, August 15 at 11 am for his ever popular presentation on birds of prey. This program is designed for all ages. Tom will share the natural history of these magnificent birds, demonstrate some of their unique behaviors and inspire children of all ages to appreciate, respect and conserve these important members of our wild kingdom.

Tom Ricardi is a licensed rehabilitator and wildlife biologist. He runs Massachusetts Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center in Conway, MA, and is now retired after 40 years of service as a Massachusetts Environmental Conservation police officer. Free for members and children under 12, free for nonmembers with admission to the Gardens.  For directions, visit

Saturday and Sunday, August 9 & 10, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm – The Art Drive

Now in its seventh year, this open studio event, The Art Drive, organized by Dartmouth and Westport artists of diverse and unique talents emphasizes educating visitors in home studio environments in some very unusual and dramatic settings, spotted among the area’s villages, lovely farm land and sea coast. Visitors will have the opportunity to view the works of a guest artists at several of the studios. The event will take place Saturday and Sunday, August 9 & 10, from 10 – 5.

Art Drive artists and invited other talented artists have created their own unique rendition of the winter flounder, all of which will be individually displayed for two weeks prior to the Art Drive at various sponsor and other locations, and offered for sale on eBay via our website Saturday, August 2 through Monday, August 11. The locations of individual fish will be indicated on our website along with bidding details.  The image below is by Wendy Goldsmith.

Please check for more samples of participants’ work. Each year we ask each participating artist to individually donate 5 to 10% of proceeds from sales to the Lloyd Center for the Environment — a way to support an organization dedicated to education of our natural local environment and an inspiration to many of the artists who work and live in the area.

Sunday, August 17, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm – One Day University at Heritage Museum & Gardens

One Day University returns to Heritage Museum & Gardens in East Sandwich on Sunday, August 17th (9:30am -1:00pm.) This unique event features three award-winning professors from three top-tier schools. Each one is renowned for their teaching ability, and each will give a fascinating 60-minute lecture – LIVE!

Every school has a few professors who are wildly popular . . . the professors listed below have won dozens of teaching awards and earned the highest possible ratings from their students on campus. Now they’re coming to Heritage for a truly unique and exhilarating morning. There are no grades, no tests, and no homework – just the joy of lifelong learning.

This year’s program:

What Makes Mozart Great?

Craig Wright/Yale University

Why Public Opinion Polls Are So Often Wrong

Jennifer Lawless/American University

What Makes Shakespeare Great?

Joseph Luzzi/Bard College

To register for this Sunday, August 17th event, visit or call 1-800-300-3438.

The fee is $159. Plus, your registration for One Day University includes admission to the museums and gardens, which you can enjoy after the program. This is a remarkable one-of-a-kind learning opportunity.


Sunday, August 3, 10:00 am – 11:30 am – Architectural Boat Tour

This 90-minute tour, hosted by Charles Riverboat Company, offers spectacular views of historic and contemporary architecture along Boston Harbor, the Charles River Locks, and the Charles River basin. The tour— narrated by a guide from Boston By Foot and co-sponsored by BSA Space, a center for architecture and design—includes landmarks such as Marriott’s Custom House, the Prudential Building, and the Hancock tower, as well as cutting-edge contemporary design by today’s top architects. These are simply the best waterfront views of Boston and Cambridge. Architecture Cruises depart from the CambridgeSide Galleria. 2014 Schedule: Now through – Sunday October 12 10:00am Friday, Saturday, Sunday 2:30pm Saturday, Sunday.  Ticket Rates $25 Adults $20 Seniors/Students/Children under 12 $20 BSA & BBF Members. Tickets are available online two weeks prior to scheduled cruise date. Due to popularity, they suggest reservations be made in advance. For more information:

Emerald Necklace Tree Project

The Garden Club of the Back Bay is a contributor to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and we thought you might be interested in knowing a bit more about where our dollars are going.

Contributions from many donors to establish the Olmsted Tree Society last year provided close to $1 million to begin the important work of assessing the condition of trees in the Emerald Necklace and planning to ensure their healthy future. Undertaken in collaboration with the Conservancy’s public partners, Boston Parks & Recreation, Brookline Parks and Open Space and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the initiative intends to preserve heritage trees in these historic parks, some of which are more than 100 years old. In addition, the project will protect healthy trees with selective pruning and soil enhancement; plant new trees where needed in the Back Bay Fens, Riverway, Olmsted Park, Franklin Park, around Jamaica Pond and along the parkways of the Necklace. Even more important, the effort will help educate the public about the critical relationship between trees and a healthy urban environment in order to sustain ongoing support for the project.

In consultation with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s public partners, the Olmsted Tree Society advisors hired Kyle Zick Landscape Architects in June to lead the team of consultants who have completed the initial stages of the work. In little more than six months time, the Boston-based firm has identified and reviewed previous studies of conditions in the historic parkland; inventoried more than 7000 trees and 200 acres of woodland; developed accessible and comprehensive mapping using the latest Geographic Information System technology; and begun development of a comprehensive management plan including implementation strategies, timelines and cost estimates for the work that needs to be done.

The recommendations will be shared with the conservancy’s public partners, Boston Parks & Recreation, Brookline Parks and Open Space and the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation and work will be coordinated through those agencies.

Tuesday, August 12, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – The Trouble with Earthworms

The Ecological Landscaping Association and the New England Wildflower Society will sponsor The Trouble with Earthworms, a tour led by Mark Richardson, on Tuesday, August 12 from 6 – 8 at Garden in the Woods in Framingham.  $25 for ELA/NEWFS members, $35 for non-members.

Leaf collection, hauling, and disposal are a large annual cost to property owners and a waste of resources ecologically.  Across the industry, many have adopted the practice of mulch-in-place, which eliminates the expense of hauling leaves off site and purchasing mulch.  Using leaf litter as mulch builds soil organic matter, and fosters a healthy soil food web.  It is a sound horticultural practice with many benefits.  However, it also may be encouraging localized populations of invasive earthworms, which in turn destroy soil structure, speed up nutrient cycles, and favor invasive plant growth.

Part of the confusion surrounding earthworms might be explained best by Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies ecologist Peter Groffman, who states that “Earthworms are not necessarily making the soil healthy, but they are attracted to healthy soil.”  Earthworms can improve the physical condition of certain soil such as heavy clay soil or soil compacted by heavy equipment.  But if good soil management is being practiced, earthworms do not have a positive effect on aeration or the movement of water or air through the soil.

Join tour guide Mark Richardson, who will discuss Garden in the Woods ecological management practices as well as research aimed at slowing down the booming population of earthworms in the Garden.  Register by calling 617-436-5838, or on line at


Tuesday, August 12, 7:00 pm – Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park

Porter Square Books at 25 White Street in Cambridge will host author Matthew Gilbert on Tuesday, August 12 beginning at 7 pm. Off the Leash is about the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather daily at Amory Park, overlooking Boston. And it’s about Matthew Gilbert’s transformation from dedicated homebody to joyful member of the dog park club: an oddball group of dog people with fur on their jackets and biscuits in their pockets. Gilbert, the TV critic at the Boston Globe, describes his reluctant journey into the park subculture, as the first-time dog owner of a yellow lab named Toby. Like so many Americans right now, he has been steeped in the virtual, digital world. At the park, though, amid the chaotic energy of dogs and people gathered in packs, he is unprotected by the screen and forced to let go. The dogs go off-leash, and so do the people.

There is something eternal and deeply satisfying about both the group experience at the park and the simple pleasure of playing fetch with one’s canine companion in a large, green, open space. A charmingly written narrative that will appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed watching a puppy scamper through a park, Off the Leash is a paean to dog lovers and their pets everywhere. (But especially the ones in the Boston area.)  Free, but sign up at or by calling 617-491-2220.

Sunday, August 10, 10:30 am – 11:30 am – Down to Earth: A How-To Tour of the Hamilton House Gardens

Learn the inside scoop on the day-to-day work of maintaining the Hamilton House gardens from the gardeners themselves while you pick up valuable tips to implement in your own garden. Gardeners Mimi Demers and Kathy Gray share their knowledge and experiences, touching on a variety of how-to topics including buying plant material, feeding and fertilizing, favorite tools, dealing with bugs, and more. The program will take place Sunday, August 10, from 10:30 – 11:30 at Hamilton House, 40 Vaughan’s Lane, South Berwick, Maine, and is sponsored by Historic New England. Free to HNE Garden and Landscape members, $8 to Historic New England members, and $15 to nonmembers.

Registration is required. Please call 207-384-2454 for more information, or register online at

From the Archives: Boston Public Library Courtyard Renovations

In 1982, the courtyard in the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library on Boyston Street was in need of maintenance and enhancement.  The Garden Club of the Back Bay’s then-President, the late Patsy Boyce, designed the garden, worked with Robert Van Gelder of Capizzi & Co. to arrange for the installation.  The quoted prices from the contractor will be of interest to those of you who have worked with landscapers recently:

Fertilize pachysandra beds (already existing) and provide three sprays of linseed oil – $320

Prepare all planting beds, weed and rake paths, level soil where needed and fertilize with aged bovine manure – $582

Mulch planting beds with pine bark mulch – $535

Pick up plants, deliver and install – $913

Plant material  (2 Taxus cuspidata ‘Nana’ – 2 more were already in place, 1 Acer palmatum- 3 other already in place, 5 Azalea poukhanense for each parterre, 4 Cotoneaster apiculata, privet ligustrum obtusifolium, and pink, salmon and white impatiens) – $1,647

Total – $3,997

At that period, the Garden Club assets totaled approximately $4,700, so this was a major expenditure for  us.  Although subsequent Library renovations recreated the garden in a manner thought to be more historically accurate, the shady, flower filled garden provided much enjoyment to Library patrons for over 20 years.

Tuesday, November 4 – Saturday, November 15 – Australia: Springtime Down Under

Join the Pacific Horticulture Society for a special opportunity to visit gardens in Australia when it’s springtime down under.

Our tour starts in the vibrant city of Sydney and continues on through the Blue Mountains and scenic highlands of New South Wales to the capital city of Canberra. Continuing to the state of Victoria, we’ll visit charming townships like Daylesford, Dunkeld, and Sorrento, and Grampians National Park. The tour will end in the cultural city of Melbourne. Tour attendees may want to add a few days to their trip and take in the Melbourne Garden DesignFest, taking place the following weekend, before heading home or continuing their travels in Australia or beyond.

Throughout our tour you’ll take in a wide variety of interesting and enjoyable public and private gardens often using indigenous plants. You’ll see wildflowers and visit specialty nurseries like Lambley Nursery as well as gardens designed by leading landscape architects including Paul Bangay and Sam Cox. We’ll take in country estates, historic gardens, small urban gardens, wineries, galleries with sculpture parks, and important botanic gardens such as Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne. All carefully chosen to show you the best that Australia has to offer.

Most importantly, our tour emphasizes fun, quality experiences, and good food. You’ll meet the locals, be entertained in their homes, and leave Australia knowing what a dinkum Aussie is!

PHS board member Andrea Testa-Vought will escort this tour. For complete information, costs, and a detailed itinerary visit Sterling Tours at

Self-Guided Walking Tours of the South End, Back Bay, and Prudential Center Gardens/Christian Science Gardens

Three Garden Club of the Back Bay members, Rita Christensen, Susan Juretschke, and Maureen O’Brien, are part of the New England Landscape Design & History Association (NELDHA) committee creating self guided walking tours of Boston neighborhoods.  All the information may be found at   The project was launched in 2010, so people could enjoy Boston’s neighborhood green spaces at their own pace and on their own schedule.  The maps and narratives may be downloaded and printed.

The first to be completed is Boston’s South End Green Spaces. Originally the South End of Boston was a narrow strip of land called the “Neck”, which connected the Shawmut Peninsula of Boston to the Roxbury mainland. In the mid-nineteenth century the City of Boston filled in the South End to remedy a housing shortage. Street layouts included garden squares reminiscent of London’s garden squares. Individual buildings were designed and constructed by developers who often relied on pattern books for designs, hence the similar designs in groups of buildings.

Today the 19th century garden squares continue to contribute to the quality of life and vibrancy of the South End. In addition, the South End is one of the largest urban Victorian neighborhoods in the United States. This self-guided walking tour includes a sampling of the historic garden squares along with newer parks, gardens and green spaces.

The route is approximately 2 miles in length and can be covered at a leisurely pace in 2 hours time.  Back Bay and the Prudential Center Gardens & Christian Science Plaza itineraries are coming soon.

Thursday, June 18 – Friday, June 26 – International Clematis Society Annual Meeting

The International Clematis Society meeting in 2015 will take place in the south west of Great Britain, specifically the counties of Devon and Cornwall, both famous for their mild climate and abundance of plants. The meeting starts in Taunton, Devon on Thursday 18th June 2015 and finishes on Friday 26th June.

Excursions include the RHS Garden Rosemoor, East Lambrook Manor Gardens, Watcombe Garden, The Garden House at Buckland Monachorum, The Lost Gardens of Heligan (pictured,) Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, and The Eden Project.

Registration for this event is now open but only until 1st September, as we must confirm accommodation numbers for the two hotels – The Holiday Inn near Taunton and the Cliff Head Hotel in St. Austell, by this date. So you have less than two months to decide to come along.

The Brochure for this event, which includes the Registration Form on the back page, is now available by clicking  To register you should complete the Registration Form on the back of the brochure and return it to Roy Nunn. You can email it if you are paying your deposit by credit or debit card or post it if paying by check. Please see the brochure for detailed instructions.

You can also request a paper copy of the brochure from Roy Nunn.

Thursday, July 31 – Friday, August 1 – The Herb Society of America Northeast District Gathering

The Herb Society of America’s New England Unit will present its Northeast District Gathering on Thursday, July 31 (9 – 5) and Friday, August 1 (9 – 4) at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive in Boylston, Massachusetts.  This year’s 5th Annual Herb Show is entitled Herbs of Magic and Mystery.  Free with admission to Tower Hill.

Sunday, August 3, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Fairy House & Garden in a Basket

Build a house and little garden that just might entice the fairies to come and play. Begin by planting ferns and ivy to give the little people a bit of privacy. Then, using bark, leaves, twigs and other natural materials, create a charming little home that any fairy would be pleased to move into. Once the house is built the landscaping can begin: lay out paths, design a garden or install a small pond. The construction site is a basket that is easily carried home. All materials included. Betsy Williams will teach this Tower Hill Botanic Garden workshop on Sunday, August 3, from 12:30 – 2:30 pm, and the cost is $60 for THBG members, $75 for nonmembers.  Register on line at House below by Carla J. Nelson from

Wednesday, July 30, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – John Barleycorn vs. Sir Richard Rum: Alcohol, the Atlantic, and the Distilling of Colonial Identity

The Massachusetts Historical Society will hold a free Brown Bag lunch lecture on Wednesday, July 30 entitled John Barleycorn vs. Sir Richard Rum: Alcohol, the Atlantic, and the Distilling of Colonial Identity, 1650 – 1800.  The speaker is Kristen Burton of University of Texas at Arlington.  Kristen’s project examines the shifting perceptions of spirituous liquors in the Atlantic World throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Focusing on the rise of commercial distilling, particularly in regard to rum, gin, and whiskey, her research explores the evolution of liquors from their use a wholesome source of medicine to a pernicious, societal threat. The talk will take place at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston.  For more information visit Image from

Wednesday – Friday, August 13 – 15, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Botanical Illustration: Colorful Garden Fruits and Berries with Colored Pencil

This three day intensive Berkshire Botanical workshop on August 13 – 15 from 10 – 4 each day, will focus on colored-pencil techniques for botanical illustration. Learn to capture the vibrant colors of garden fruits and berries. Find out how many multiple overlays of colors it can take to give depth, shine and texture to one berry! Draw from the abundance of the summer garden and make intriguing compositions of fruit, berries and foliage. Explore creative possibilities, whether traditional or whimsical, and make exciting background textures or borders to enhance your artwork. This is a playful workshop suitable for all student levels. Basic skills will be taught in drawing, colored pencil techniques and composition.

Carol Ann Morley is an illustrator and dedicated teacher of botanical illustration working in Dover, NH. She founded the Botanical Art Illustration Certificate Program at the New York Botanical Garden and teaches illustration there and at other botanical gardens. This is Ms. Morley’s only summer workshop in the Berkshires for 2014. BBG member price $260; non-members $290.  Register at

Saturday, August 9, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Opening Up the Clark Landscape: Renewing and Sustaining

July 4 marked the reopening of the newly renovated Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. On Saturday, August 9 from 3 – 4 in the auditorium at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Gary Hilderbrand, principal, Reed Hilderbrand Associates, discusses his role in leading the Clark’s new landscape design. Reed Hilderbrand, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created a sweeping redesign of the Clark’s 140-acre grounds, including creation of a three-tiered reflecting pool; upgrades to and expansion of walking trails; green roof systems; planting of 350 new trees (some 1000 trees planted overall); and creation of a new entry drive and landscaped parking area with water-permeable surfaces that feed into a rainwater and snowmelt collection system. – See more at:

Sunday, July 27, 1:40 pm – Out of the Park

Celebrate America’s pastime as the Boston Red Sox, the Highland Street Foundation, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department team up to bring a Red Sox away game to the Boston Common on Sunday, July 27. Bring a blanket to watch the game on the big screen and cheer on the Red Sox! Everyone is welcome at this free event featuring live viewing of the game, caricaturists, balloon artists, face painters, giveaways, and refreshments. Special guests include Red Sox mascot Wally, Red Sox DJ TJ Connelly, Announcer Henry Mahegan, Organist Josh Kantor, and the Hot Tamales Brass Band.


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