Category Archives: lecture

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.

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,

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.

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.

Thursday, November 19, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Tree Care for Autumn

Scott McPhee will give you the checklist to prepare your trees for the onset of winter, in this Massachusetts Horticultural Society lecture on Thursday, November 19, from 7 – 8:30 at Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street in Wellesley. He’ll show you how to troubleshoot common issues, and tell you when to call in the professionals. Lecture Fee: Mass Hort Members $10, Non-Members $15. Register online at|427|430|433/tree-care-for-autumn?filter_reset=1. Image from

Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure

How do we help our children become more confident, able, and independent in the kitchen? Join Alana Chernila for an evening of exciting ideas, strategies, and simple ways to empower kids in the kitchen. This night in the Parkman Room of the Elm Bank Education Building at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, will be useful for parents, caregivers, and educators of children of all ages.

Alana Chernila writes, cooks, sells fresh vegetables, and teaches cheese making. She is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe and lives with her husband and two young daughters in western Massachusetts. Her first cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making, was published by Clarkson Potter in Spring 2012. Her second book The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes For Cooking With Pleasure, will be published by Clarkson Potter in Fall 2015. Visit Alana online at Proceeds will help support the Garden to Table Program. Lecture Fee: Mass Hort Members $20, Non-Members $25. Register on line for this November 18 lecture, which begins at 7 pm, at|427|430|433/the-homemade-kitchen-recipes-for-cooking-with-pleasure?filter_reset=1

Tuesday, November 17, 9:30 am – 12:00 noon – Harvest and Holiday Inspired Designs

Join The Needham Garden Club on Tuesday, November 17 in the Community Room of the Needham Free Public Library, 1139 Highland Avenue in Needham. Julie Lapham will demonstrate her award-winning finesse as she composes several arrangements inspired by the bounty of the harvest and the upcoming holidays. She has been involved with flower arranging for 35 years and has exhibited widely throughout New England and beyond, including several international shows. Members and guests will have a chance to take home one of her designs that will use fruits, vegetables, flowers and foliage in elegant and new ways. Coffee, tea, and refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. The program, which is free, will begin at 10 am.

Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Heirloom and Native Plants: A Living History

On Tuesday, November 17 from 7 – 8:30 at the Dover Town Library on Dedham Street in Dover, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society welcomes its Director John Forti for a lecture entitled Heirloom and Native Plants: A Living History. For those interested in gardens that inspire a sense of time and place…this talk will foster a better understanding of the most tried and true plants and our role in preservation. This illustrated talk brings to life the unique and living history of plants that have a defining presence in our region. It explores the significance of heirloom/open-pollinated plants and gives voice to the history they keep alive.

John Forti is a nationally recognized lecturer, garden historian, ethnobotanist and garden writer. He is the Director of Horticulture for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the oldest horticultural society in the nation. Before taking on this new position, he was the Curator/Director of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. He previously served as the Director of Horticulture at Plimoth Plantation Museum where the gardens and seed program he created brought international attention to the preservation of Pilgrim and Wampanoag heirloom crops. Thousands on Facebook follow his posts where he blogs as The Heirloom Gardener – John Forti.

Lecture Fee: Mass Hort Members $10, Non-Members $15.  Register online at|427|433/heirloom-and-native-plants-a-living-history?filter_reset=1

Monday, November 16, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Understanding Roots: Exploring Plants Underground

In this Ecological Landscape Alliance webinar based upon Robert Kourik’s two books on the subject, Understanding Roots: Exploring Plants Underground uncovers one of the greatest mysteries below the soil surface―the secret lives and magical workings of the roots that move and grow invisibly beneath our feet.

Roots do more than just keep a plant from falling over: they gather water and nutrients, exude wondrous elixirs to create good soil, make friends with microbes and fungi, communicate with other roots, and adapt themselves to all manner of soils, winds, and climates, nourishing and sustaining our gardens, lawns, and woodlands. During the presentation, Kourik will share enchanting and revealing root drawings, from prairies, grasslands, and deserts, as well as drawings based on excavations of vegetable, fruit, nut, and ornamental tree roots. Through detailed illustrations, Kourik will describe how roots work their magic to improve soil nutrients and will discuss soil microbes and their mysterious relationship to roots. This presentation will also explore the question of whether deep roots really gather more unique nutrients than shallow roots. Kourik will explain the latest research about the mysteries of mycorrhizal (good fungal) association. Practical tips will provide guidance on the use of inputs such as fertilizer, compost, water, and mulch to help plants flourish.

Robert Kourik credits the School of Hard Knocks for much of his early life skills training (and numerous continuing-education credits). He learned various horticulture-related skills from the inside-out by working with clients throughout California and the rest of the country for over 25 years. During that time Kourik took on design projects of all sizes, shapes and textures—water gardens, paths and patios, elegant arbors, habitat gardens, innovative home playgrounds, outdoor barbecue areas, deer-resistant gardens and low-profile, attractive deer fences, to name just a few.

In the late 1970s, with only a high school diploma, Kourik wrote a landscape book which has become a classic in its field and helped to define the genera of gardening now known as edible landscaping. Kourik believes that it was a lack of formal college training in horticulture that allowed him to envision and interpret this new interdisciplinary and original approach to gardening and landscaping. Throughout his career, Kourik has focused primarily on organic, natural, sustainable, integrated systems, permaculture and appropriate horticulture methods. Kourik is the author of several books including: Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally; Roots Demystified; Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates; and just published, Understanding Roots. Robert writes and interacts with landscapes in the San Francisco Bay area in California.

Free for ELA members, $10 for nonmembers – See more at:

Thursday, November 12, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Prepping for the Holidays

Learn how to select and use fresh fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, woody herbs from your garden and locally grown evergreens and berries to decorate your home for Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society talk on Thursday, November 12 from 7 – 8:30 will cover gathering, preparing and using seasonal plant material as well as mechanics and containers. Two arrangements will be demonstrated

Betsy Williams teaches, lectures and writes about living with herbs and flowers. A life long gardener, herb grower and cook, Betsy trained as a florist in Boston and England. She combines her floral, gardening and cooking skills with an extensive knowledge of history, plant lore and seasonal celebrations. An entertaining lecturer, she weaves stories and legends throughout her informative talks and demonstrations.

She has presented at Monticello, The American Horticultural Society’s Youth Symposium, the Pennsylvania Lavender Festival and International Herb Association as well as Colonial Williamsburg, the Ozark Folk Center and the New England, Rhode Island and Cincinnati Flower Shows.  Image from

Lecture Fee: Mass Hort Members $10, Non-Members $15. Register online at

Thursday, November 19, 7:00 pm – Berry Basics

John Howell, former horticulturist at UMass Extension, will speak to the North Quabbin Garden Club on Thursday, November 19 at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main Street in Athol, on the basics of growing strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  Free, and the public is invited to attend.

Thursday, November 12, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm – Arboriculture

The Trustees of Reservations partners with Natural Resources Trust of Easton on Thursday, November 12, from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm at the Governor Oliver Ames Estate in Easton for a lecture on tree care and maintenance, helping trees survive the winter, tree identification and more.  $10 for members of The Trustees, $15 for nonmembers.  Register by emailing For directions, go to


Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Rocks, Resilience, and Conservation

Will species move in response to climate change? Yes, but where will they go and will they like it when they get there? Ecologist Mark Anderson, PhD, Director of Conservation Science, The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern U.S. Region, proposes that we step back from the individual species to examine the geology of places, looking at bedrock, sediment, and elevation, to correlate areas of species richness to future conservation strategies. His research suggests that these abiotic factors are better predictors of success than species-level climate change models. Come hear about his work in mapping the geophysical regions of New England with an eye towards conserving those that will support the greatest array of species into the future. The thinking is that the areas of most resilient will continue to support the greatest diversity of life, no matter the environmental challenges and changes. His assessment, done at an evolutionary timescale, provides critical data for scientists and conservationists considering how best to conserve landscapes and preserve biodiversity. The lecture takes place Tuesday, November 17 from 7 – 8 in the Hunnewell Building of the Arnold Arboretum. Fee: Free for Arboretum members and students, $5 nonmembers. Register at or call 617-384-5277.  Photo by Ken Richardson.


Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 pm – Moose: Life History, Ecology, and Current Research

Join the Athol Bird & Nature Club on Wednesday, November 18 at 7 pm at the Northfield Mountain Recreation Center, 99 Millers Falls Road in Northfield, for a fascinating evening exploring moose in Massachusetts. Dr. Stephen DeStefano, one of the foremost experts on moose in the Northeast, will share highlights from current research focusing on habitat use, distribution and movements. Steve will discuss how he and his graduate students tag area moose and use high tech equipment to monitor their movements throughout central and western Massachusetts. The current population estimate is over 1,000 moose in Massachusetts! This is a great opportunity to learn more about the largest mammal of our Massachusetts’ forests and how it uses the landscape. This free program is co-sponsored by Northfield Mountain and the Athol Bird and Nature Club. Stephen DeStefano is Leader of the Massachusetts Cooperative Research Unit and a research professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He directs a program of research, education and service focused on fish and wildlife ecology, as well as human-wildlife interactions and the impact of human activities on wildlife populations. His work has numerous implications for wildlife management and conservation biology. For ages 12 and older. FREE, and no pre-registration required. Image below is a GPS collared moose in the Quabbin Reservoir area, courtesy of

Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14 – Max Wasserman Forum

The Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art was established in memory of Max Wasserman (MIT Class of 1935), a founding member of the Council for the Arts at MIT. This public forum was endowed through the generosity of the late Jeanne Wasserman and addresses critical issues in contemporary art and culture through the participation of renowned scholars, artists, and arts professionals. The Forum is organized and presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center.

As the List Center celebrates it 30th Anniversary this fall, MIT is proud to present this year’s Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art: Public Art and the Commons, November 13-14, 2015.

Free and open to the general public – however registration for this event is required. To register visit

Public art has emerged as a crucial term over the past decade in response to conditions of intensifying economic and political precarity. Artists have renewed a dialogue on those social and cultural resources held in common, including media, education, the environment, and housing. The two-day conference addresses that development as practitioners from the visual arts, critical theory, and political activism examine public art from multiple perspectives.

This year’s Wasserman Forum will also feature a tour of Lawrence Weiner’s new mural commission A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER (2015) Dewey Square Park, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, and a tour of MIT’s Public Art Collection.

The Forum kicks off with a keynote address by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn on Friday, November 13.

On Saturday, November 14, the Forum continues with a series of panel discussions. Guest panelists include: Jasmina Metwaly (Artist, Cairo); Philip Rizk (Filmmaker, Cairo); Hakan Topal (Artist, New York); Jodi Dean (Professor, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York); Daniel van der Velden (Graphic Designer, Metahaven, Amsterdam); Lawrence Weiner (Artist, New York); Lina Viste Grønli (Artist, Cambridge, MA); Bill Arning (Director, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston). Panels will be moderated by Henriette Huldisch (Curator, List Center); Alise Upitis (Assistant Curator, List Center); and Gediminas Urbonas (Associate Professor, Director, MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology).

The Forum will take place at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Bartos Theater, Lower Level. Times vary – visit for full schedule.

Monday, January 18 – Friday, January 22, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm – ON LOCATION: The Kampong

Friends of Wellesley College Botanic Gardens announces the 2016 annual ON LOCATION: The Kampong,  National Tropical Botanical Garden in Coconut Grove, Florida.  All abilities are welcome.  Join Sarah Roche and enjoy five days of botanical art.  Once on location, start to draw with easy field sketches on the grounds of the stunning Kampong historic hoe and garden, where the climate of the southeast shore of Florida affords a natural open-air environment in which tropical species flourish.  Explore rudiments of form from live specimens as you work in graphite studies.  Some plants will be flowering, others will be fruiting, and some may have all stages of development visible.  Then add color with watercolors.  Take homea journal filled with field sketches useful for future art works and fond memories of a unique experience.  The fee includes class instruction, four luncheons, two half-day visits to local botanic gardens and/or a museum, a Thursday evening Kampong member lecture by Sarah Roche.  Travel, accommodations, other food, and other expenses not included.  Dormitory accommodations at The Kampong may be arranged on a first-come basis.  For those arriving on Sunday, January 17, a get-acquainted gathering will be arranged.  Contact WCBG Friends for more details.  WCBG Friends of Kampong Members $515, non-members $615. To register, email or call 781-283-3094. Offered in collaboration with The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Wednesday, November 18, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm – The Parks of Washington, DC

Delight in the charms of gardens and parks on the Mall, in leafy Georgetown, and on the grounds of George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon with garden designer and Wellesley College Botanic Gardens docent Maureen Bovet on Wednesday, November 18, beginning at 12:30 pm in the Botanic Garden Visitor Center.  Maureen’s photos and stories will take you on a tour of the green side of the nation’s capital.  WCBG members free, non members $10.  Call 781-283-3094, or visit  Photo by Maureen Bovet.


Thursday, November 12, 5:30 pm – NELDHA Fall Reception

The 2015 New England Landscape Design & History Association’s Fall Reception features a lecture by landscape architect Thomas Paine on November 12, 2015, at Massachusetts Horticultural Society. His  book Cities with Heart (bilingual in English and Chinese, 2015) explores leading examples of urban open space across the globe. The reception begins at 5:30 and features wine, beer, tea, and coffee, accompanied by small bites and is followed by the lecture. Members $10/Nonmembers $20. Registration Deadline is November 6, 2015.

Tom Paine heads the Boston office of AGER, a Shanghai-based multidisciplinary landscape architectural and urban planning firm that focuses on large urban projects in China. He has worked on commercial, residential, and institutional projects including campuses, retirement communities, historic sites and parks in the U.S., England, and Asia. He led the site design of the first Gold LEED-certified public project in Massachusetts.

Tom is currently placing a book for general audiences called The Greenspace Imperative. He is the principal author of Historic Parkway Preservation Treatment Guidelines (Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2006) and Guidelines for Greens, and, with Ronald Lee Fleming and Laurie Halderman, On Common Ground, Caring for Shared Land from Town Common to Urban Park (Harvard, Massachusetts: Harvard Common Press, 1, 1982).

For more information contact Janis Porter at


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