Saturday, November 13, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – A Horticultural History Tour

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society is proud to announce a day-long series of lectures focused on the history of horticulture and landscape design in New England and beyond, to take place Saturday, November 13, from 9 – 4 at the Hunnewell Carriage House, Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street in Wellesley.

The symposium will be hosted by John Furlong, FALA, emeritus director, Landscape Institute, Arnold Arboretum, faculty member of the Boston Architectural College, Distinguished Radcliffe Instructor, and recipientof the  Gold Medal and emeritus trustee, Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

9:00 AM – Actor and interpreter Gerry Wright, as Frederick Law Olmsted, presents a biography of the landscape architect who was influenced by the natural landscapes of New England throughout his life. In 1850, at age 28, he traveled to England and was smitten with the countryside and a “democratic park” in Birkenhead. Olmsted’s two styles of landscape architecture were the creation of the “pastoral” and the “picturesque”. Beyond the creation for beauty, there was a sense of “service deeply rooted in his planning of public places.” New York City’s Central Park, Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum and the country estates on the Charles River in Wellesley and Dover are among the legacies of Olmsted and his firm.

At 10:30, Allyson Hayward, garden historian, popular lecturer for The Garden Club of the Back Bay and author of Norah Lindsay: The Life and Art of a Garden Designer will deliver a new talk on two important New England estates, the Hunnewell estate, known as Wellesley, and Elm Bank, the Cheney/Baltzell estate which is now the home of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Today, these landscapes reveal a layering of New England’s garden history. Ms. Hayward will take you on an armchair tour of these exciting gardens with an illustrated lecture tracing the landscapes dating from 1850 to the present. You will revel in the beauty of the initial vision of Horatio Hollis Hunnewell and his Italian Garden and Pinetum at Wellesley. The lecture will continue with images of Elm Bank from its Victorian grandeur to its transformation into a 1920s grandiose playground for Boston society, complete with theme gardens that portrayed the owners’ sense of taste and style.

11:30 AM – David Barnett, PhD., President and CEO of Mount Auburn Cemetery, will present Wilson’s China: A Century On, published by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2009. Wilson was the Arnold Arboretum’s principal plant collector from 1906 and following Sargent’s death he was appointed the self-styled ‘Keep” of the Arboretum. In addition to introducing over 1,200 plants, Wilson was a popular author and lecturer and a MassHort Trustee. His remarkable achievements are a continuing inspiration to botanists, horticulturists and landscapers. The slides have been loaned to MassHort through the courtesy of the English authors, Tony Kirkham and Mark Flanagan, respectively Head of the Arboretum at Kew and Keeper of the Royal Gardens in Windsor Great Park.

Following lunch, at 1:30 PM, you will hear Elizabeth S. Eustis, a garden historian and guest curator, former Trustee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, past President of the New England Wild Flower Society and faculty member of The Landscape Institute. She will speak on Romanticism in the Landscape, the subject of a 2010 exhibition that she co-curated for the Morgan Library in New York, Romantic Gardens: Art, Nature and Garden Design, with a catalog published by David R. Godine. Following the transition from formal classicism to more naturalistic garden design, Romanticism added a new emphasis on emotional and spiritual response to the landscape. The pervasive influence of Romanticism inspired artificial ruins, garden cemeteries, wild gardens, and contributed powerfully to the public parks movement. This talk will be extensively illustrated by recent photographs and historic works of art.

3:00 PM – Meg Muckenhoupf is the author of Boston’s Gardens & Green Spaces, Union Park Press, 2010, which is a guide to the Arnold Arboretum, The Boston Public Garden, Mt. Auburn Cemetery, the Olmsted sites, Elm Bank and Boston’s historic and newer parks. Beautiful photos. You will discover delightful new spots to visit.

Registration is $65 for MHS members, $75 for non-members, and the price includes lunch. You may register on-line at or call 617-933-4995.