From the Archives: Buying Speakers


The Garden Club of the Back Bay has welcomed an impressive roster of guest speakers to our meetings since we began. The usual process is to identify a topic of interest to our members, and then search for an appropriate person to deliver the information. In 1983, however, late members Stella Trafford and Susan Davis attended an auction held for the benefit of the Arnold Arboretum, which was held at the Case Estates in Weston. They made successful bids on two distinguished speakers – Corliss Engle, who promised to talk on the topic of Begonias, and Lily Rice, whose subject was Daffodils. Each high bid was $25. Additionally, Stella and Susan purchased two spring garden tours: the Haffenreffer garden in Chestnut Hill ($40), and Uplands in Manchester ($70).  Corliss Engle, whose contributions to the Begonia Society led to the naming of Begonia ‘Corliss Engle’ in her honor. gave her presentation on November 10, 1983, and Ms. Rice spoke on March 15, 1984.  We have not yet found mention in our records of taking the two tours purchased.  To see the array of programs presented over the years, we encourage you to visit http://www.gardenclubbackbay.org/history/, and if any recent speaker is of interest, email info@gardenclubbackbay.org and we can try to put you in touch.  Photo of a begonia cross of ‘Corliss Engle’ below is by Guy Savard.