Thursday, February 11, 7:00 pm – Fruits of Their Labors: The Kenrick Nurseries Legacy for Today’s Garden

On Thursday, February 11, at 7:00 pm, Historic Newton will present the first in the 2010 Newton History Series programs at the Newton Free Library.  The series is called Roots in Our History.  The opening lecture, entitled Fruits of Their Labors: The Kenrick Nurseries Legacy for Today’s Garden, will be given by award- winning landscape designer and preservationist Lucinda A. Brockway.

In his nursery catalog of 1831, William Kenrick boasted that his family nursery was about 35 years old and “now without doubt, the oldest of note in New England.”  At the time he couldn’t have realized that the nursery would continue beyond his 76 year lifespan (1796-1872).  The Kenrick’s “undeviating principles of accuracy, of honor, and of rectitude” gained them the highest reputation in the plant industry, and many of our most beloved fruit and tree varieties, including many in our gardens today, first came to this country through the Kenrick family nurseries.  In 1796, their passion for plants, which began with “no other motive than the ornament and improvement of a portion of [John Kenrick’s] own lands,” launched the family to the heights of horticultural recognition.  Today their Waverley Avenue home in Newton, and the trees shading the streets of Farlow Hill, are fitting tribute to their labors.

Today’s green movement asks us to “buy local.”  What better way to buy locally than to celebrate the fruit and plant cultivars of the Kenrick nurseries in our backyard gardens or on our local grocer’s shelves!  From copper beeches to Belgian pears, there is something in their nursery lists for everyone.  The rich story of this family’s passions makes each juicy bit of a Van Mons pear even sweeter.

Lucinda A. Brockway is principal and owner of Past Designs, a landscape preservation and design firm in Kennebunk, Maine.  Brockway serves a national clientele, including The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Trustees of Reservations, and numerous state and federal preservation agencies.  In addition, she has designed landscapes for private homes which have been featured in Old House Journal, Victoria Magazine, Colonial Homes, and Accent.  She is an instructor for the National Preservation Institute, offering courses in landscape preservation from South Carolina to Hawaii.  Her work has been recognized by the Garden Club of America, The American Society of Landscape Architects, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and others.  She is the author of three books: A Favorite Place of Resort for Strangers, Taking a Garden Public: Feasibility and Startup, and Gardens of the New Republic.  For more information, call the Newton Free Library at 617-796-1360.  All programs are free and open to the public.  Parking is free, and the Newton Free Library is handicap accessible.