Saturday, December 12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – Bark and Buds: Winter Identification of Trees and Shrubs

Develop or enhance your ability to identify winter trees by twig and bud anatomy, bark features and plant architecture, in this Saturday, December 12 class at Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, from 10 – 2. Students will practice their skills with winter tree dichotomous keys. This class will be indoors primarily and participants will work with collected specimens. Class enrollment is limited. Bring a bag lunch. Dress for limited outdoor fieldwork, since it’s December, after all. BBG members $30, nonmembers $35. Register at or call 413-298-3926.

Friday, December 11- Sunday, December 13 – MetroWest Festival of Trees

The 2015 MetroWest Festival of Trees will be held December 11, 5 – 9, December 12, 10 – 9, and December 13, 10 – 5, at the Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center on Route 20 West in Marlborough, Massachusetts. What started eight years ago as a small “Christmas at the Farm”, Festival of Trees at the Marlborough Historical Society’s 1688 Peter Rice Homestead with 17 trees has evolved into one of the premier Holiday events in the Metro West & Central Mass area! From 17 to 40 trees in the second year, to 60 trees in the third, and the introduction of animated figures from Edaville RR, to 125 trees and wreaths. Our attendance has continually grown with over 4,000 persons attending from 100 different communities and 13 states.

Now entering our eighth year, we have expanded and bringing the Festival to a higher level, by producing it for the third year in a row at the 47,500 sq. ft. Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough and expect to have 5,000 people attending. Adults $8, Seniors and children $5, children under 5 free. Proceeds benefit historical programs and activities in the MetroWest area. For more information visit

Holiday Wreaths – Black Friday Nonsense

We certainly hope no one we know was getting up at midnight to stand in line at a Big Box store, but if you did and are now quietly enjoying time with your feet up, consider purchasing one of our magnificent holiday wreaths as a gift for a loved one.  This year we have designed beautiful custom gift cards to attach to wreaths ordered for others, and invite you to visit to choose a custom wreath, or a huge poinsettia, to give to friends and family.


Through Tuesday, December 15 – Lilac Sunday T-shirt Competition

Create a piece of Arnold Arboretum history & enter the contest to design the 2016 Lilac Sunday T-shirt!  The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University invites artists of all ages to submit their designs for Lilac Sunday 2016.  The winning 2015 design is shown below.

Lilac-themed t-shirts have been a tradition at Lilac Sunday for many years, and continue to be a highly anticipated and popular memento of this event. Entry is free, but entries must be received by Tuesday, December 15. For complete details visit

Happy Thanksgiving

The Garden Club of the Back Bay wishes Happy Thanksgiving to all our loyal followers.  We hope you are surrounded by family and friends, and our members are reminded to save materials from any stray arrangements for our upcoming Wreath Week project!

Friday, December 4, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm – Fourth Annual Repeal Day Celebration

Sponsored by Ryan and Wood’s Knockabout Gin and hosted by Etiquetteer Robert B. Dimmick, The Gibson House Museum will be the venue for the Fourth Annual Repeal Day Celebration on Friday, December 4 from 6:30 – 8:30. Prepare to enjoy an evening of Prohibition-era gaiety at 137 Beacon Street! Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) staff the bar, featuring the Charlie’s Beacon cocktail. Sumptuous hors d’oeuvre will be served in the dining room. Hotcha! RSVP by November 30.  $75, members and nonmembers. Please pre-register at,, or 617-267-6338.

Monday, December 7 – Thursday, December 10 – Holiday Wreath Making

Pastor Ingo R. Dutzmann and his parish will again host The Garden Club of the Back Bay for wreath making on the lower level of The First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkeley Street (on the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough Streets). We are very, very grateful. Please note that we are setting up the space on Sunday, December 6 and will be ready to work first thing Monday morning – Monday participation by as many of you as possible is critical to our success. The hours are as follows:

Monday, Dec. 7 – 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating)
Tuesday, Dec. 8 – 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating)
Wednesday, Dec. 9- 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating, delivery)
Thursday, Dec. 10- 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating, delivery, clean up)

Please come to the side door on Berkeley Street. We’ll post a sign. Coffee and baked goods will be available each morning, and catered lunches will be delivered all four days. Dried materials and fresh greens can be delivered to the Church no earlier than Monday, December 7. Please have all decorations “cleaned down” – branches cut down, dead leaves removed – so we can contain the mess we inevitably make. Delicate materials can be laid flat in sweater boxes or gently stacked in cardboard containers. We are going to need as many dried items as we can collect, and we especially want interesting fresh evergreen boughs and holly.

Bring clippers and scissors if you have them, labeled with masking tape for ease of identification. Aprons are also a good idea. Dress comfortably! We need everyone’s help, whether you decorate, deliver, organize, make telephone calls confirming delivery, or sweep. Contact if you have specific questions,or if you can take a delivery shift. Otherwise, we’ll see you on Monday. If you still plan to order wreaths, send the order forms along as soon as you can, or order online at Please try to come for as many hours as possible, on as many days as you can spare – we need you, and you’ll have a great time.


Tuesday, December 8, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design

Does the universe embody beautiful ideas? Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” Quantum physicist and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, PhD, Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and 2004 Nobel Laureate, has been inspired throughout his career by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature, to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, whose hallmarks are symmetry—harmony, balance, proportion—and economy. In this December 8 lecture in the Hunnewell Building of the Arnold Arboretum, Professor Wilczek will share examples from Pythagoras, Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, from twentieth century physics to the edge of knowledge today to demonstrate how our ideas about beauty and art are intertwined with our scientific understanding of the cosmos. Fee: Free Arboretum members and students, $5 nonmember.  Register at or call 617-384-5277.

Thursday, December 3, 6:00 pm – Our National Parks and the “Fairsted School”: An Enduring Legacy

The Olmsted firm is famous for the design of hundreds of municipal parks and other landscapes. The achievements of Olmsted and his successors in scenic preservation are less well understood, but park design and scenic preservation were both aspects of the practice of landscape architecture Olmsted developed in the second half of the nineteenth century. This December 3 talk explores the role of the “Fairsted School” of landscape architecture and its influence on scenic preservation and the design of state and national park systems through the twentieth century. The program will begin with a 6 pm reception followed by the lecture at 7, at the Wheelock College Brookline Campus, 43 Hawes Street, corner of Hawes and Monmouth Streets in Brookline. Reservations are required. Call 617-566-1689, x 265, or reserve online at

Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA, is a landscape historian and preservationist specializing in public landscapes. He has taught at the Harvard GSD, the University of Virginia, and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a professor. He has written two award-winning books, Wilderness by Design (1998) and Mission 66: Modernism and the National Park Dilemma (2007), and is the volume editor of Volume 8 of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, The Early Boston Years, 1882-1890 (2013).

Limited street parking is available. Public parking is not allowed in the Wheelock parking lot. Venue is easily accessible by MBTA Green Line “C” (Hawes Street) or “D” (Longwood) trains.

Tuesday, December 1, 5:00 pm – State House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Open House

Governor Charles D. Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn E. Polito invite you to the State House on Tuesday, December 1, to celebrate the start of the holiday season with the annual State House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Open House.  This year they will showcase Massachusetts agricultural businesses, to give guests a sense of what it means to have a true Massachusetts holiday.  The tree will be lit on the front lawn at 5 pm, followed by the open house.  There will be a visit from Santa Claus, carolers, and more.  Photo from

Holiday Wreaths – We Deliver!

You’re very busy right now.  Thanksgiving is coming up, then there are shopping lists to fulfill, transportation to arrange, trips to plan.  Why not cross one item off your list and have us deliver a beautiful holiday wreath to your door on either Wednesday, December 9 or Thursday, December 10?  Our delivery area encompasses Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the South End, Audubon Circle, Downtown Crossing, and if you’re not sure, just email and we’ll let you know if you are in our delivery zone. Of course you can always pick up your order at The First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkeley Street, on the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough, with the added bonus of seeing all the beautiful wreaths coming out of our workshop.  To order, visit

Wednesday, December 2 – Friday, December 4 – New England Grows!

The leading commercial horticulture and green industry show, New England Grows!, has moved to December (last year’s February snows must have discouraged the promoters) and this year will be at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, from Wednesday December 2 through Friday December 4. The GROWS experience is unlike anything else in the industry today. The world-class expo and dynamic lineup of learning experiences draw 12,000 professionals from all segments of the green industry to Boston every year. All access tickets are $89, expo only $39.

There will be a Women in Horticulture Networking Luncheon on Wednesday, December 2 from 12 – 2 at the Lighthouse Room in the Seaport Hotel. Celebrate the power, influence, and entrepreneurial spirit of women in horticulture. In addition to great company, good food, a stellar view of the waterfront, and a few surprises, this popular gathering will feature a conversation with esteemed biologist, author, educator, researcher, Garden Club of the Back Bay speaker, and scientific illustrator Elizabeth Farnsworth. As Senior Research Ecologist at the New England Wild Flower Society, Elizabeth’s most recent report – State of the Plants of New England – is a fascinating treatise on the status of plants and the impact of climate change in our region. Separate ticket price of $50 per person.

For complete information visit

Wednesday, December 2, 6:00 pm – Holiday Flowers with Global Appeal

Kirsten VanDijk, an internationally acclaimed floral designer, will demonstrate how to create a series of imaginative arrangements for the holidays from around the world, on Wednesday, December 2 beginning at 6 pm at the Mill Pond School, 6 Olde Hickory Path in Westborough.  This Westborough Garden Club presentation will include light refreshments, shoe box raffles, and a holiday boutique.  $10 fee.  For more information contact  Photo courtesy of the Holliston Reporter,

From the Archives: Victorian Flower Show at Webster House

In December of 1972, The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts sponsored a Victorian Flower Show in the Webster House on Commonwealth Avenue.  The Garden Club of the Back Bay members staffed this show as guides, clad in Victorian costume.  We seem to have specialized in dressing up as Victorians in our early years – we did so again in June of 1980 as part of the Afternoon in Victorian Boston, 350 Boston Jubilee.   We would love to see examples from that exhibit – if you have an image, please email Image below from

Tuesday, November 24, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop

In this Tuesday, November 24 workshop, from 6 – 8, Scott Clarke, a noted gardener and floral designer, will help you create a Thanksgiving centerpiece to adorn your dinner table. Learn how to prepare flowers for arranging, the art of creating a compelling design, and tips for extending the longevity of your creation.

All materials will be provided including fresh flowers, grasses, and seasonal elements. No experience needed. $80 per person, $60 for Members of Gore Place. Gore Place is located at 52 Gore Street in Waltham.

Space is limited to 25 participants. For information, or to request the Member Discount Code, email or call (781) 894-2798.

Monday, November 30, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Copley Square Tree Lighting

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and The Friends of Copley Square welcome the holidays with the annual Copley Square Tree Lighting on Monday, November 30, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.  The free event will feature appearances by Mayor Walsh, “Dining Playbook” host Jenny Johnson, Santa Claus, and Rudolph along with live entertainment including members of the Boston Pops Brass Ensemble, Berklee College of Music’s co-ed contemporary a cappella group Pitch Slapped, “The Voice” contestant Brittany Butler, and a holiday sing-along. In addition, the US Postal Service will unveil its new holiday stamp. The festivities continue with a family reception from 6 – 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. For more information visit


Thursday, December 3, 7:00 pm – Plant Life Through the Ages: A Mural of Plant Evolution

The Smith College Botanic Garden is proud to unveil a new 60-foot mural, consisting of eight panels depicting great moments in plant evolution. While there are numerous depictions of animal evolution, until now there has been no mural devoted specifically to the evolution of plants. Seeing this opportunity, the Botanic Garden stepped in to commission a mural and fill the void. The stunning paintings were created by muralist Robert Evans. With a specialty in natural history, ethnography, and history, his work can be found at the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, and numerous museums, zoos, and aquaria. This is his first installation at a botanical garden.

To celebrate the opening of Plant Life Through the Ages, they have invited paleobotanist James W. Walker to speak about plant evolution and the mural. The lecture will take place in the Campus Center Carroll Room. Dr. Walker is Paleobotanical Consultant on the Mural and Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The talk will be followed by a reception and viewing of the mural at the Lyman Plant House.

The eight panels will permanently reside along the corridor to the Palm House.

Saturday, November 28, 8:00 am – Late Fall Migrants at Plum Island

Joan and Larry Duprey will be leading this Athol Bird & Nature Club trip to one of the best birding spots in the Eastern United States, Plum Island. Migrating waterfowl and seabirds should be present in good numbers and anything can show up on the island. Meet at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main Street, Athol at 8:00 am on Saturday, November 28. Those members to our East who may wish to meet in Amesbury call Larry and Joan for details. Info: Joan or Larry Duprey, 978-249-4964. Image from

Sunday, December 13, 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm – The Beacon Hill Holiday House Tour 2015

The Nichols House Museum invites you to its annual Holiday House Tour.  Visit rarely viewed Beacon Hill Houses festively decorated for the season.  The event takes place Sunday, December 13 from 12 – 4, with a holiday reception at King’s Chapel Parish House, 64 Beacon Street from 3 – 5, and a Handbell Concert at the Nichols House Museum, 55 Mount Vernon Street, from 1 – 3.  Tickets ($100 – $250) may be purchased online at, or call 617-227-6993. Tickets purchased on the day of tour will be $120.


Tuesday, December 1, 6:00 pm – A Traditional North Shore Holiday

The Friendly Garden Club of Beverly presents A Traditional North Shore Holiday with floral designer Bert Ford on Tuesday, December 1 at the Cove Community Center, 19 East Corning Street in Beverly. Door open at 6, presentation begins at 7.  $10 in advance or $15 at the door.  For ticket information visit, or call 978-381-3597.  Fresh greenery arrangements will be on sale as well as holiday decor and wreaths.  This event is the main fund raiser for the Friendly Garden Club and allows the club to provide a college scholarship for a Beverly high school senior, as well as funding ongoing civic projects.

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