Club Events

Technology and the Garden


Each year The Garden Club of the Back Bay decides where to focus its attention for the coming season. In 2013/2014, members welcomed local authors of important gardening books. In the past we have looked at the Gardens of America, Japan, water conservation, ethical gardening practices, trees, women garden designers and patrons, garden history, the science of gardening, art in the garden, plant societies, and more. This year we celebrate technological advances in the art of gardening, plus we take an interesting field trip to the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill, celebrating the engineering feat of bringing water to our urban areas. Complete details of each meeting will be sent to members prior to each event.


Wednesday, September 17, 10:00 am – Go Botany! – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue

Elizabeth Farnsworth, Senior Research Ecologist for the New England Wild Flower Society, demonstrates exciting new tools for plant identification.  Go Botany is the NEWFS’s new website that teaches botany and plant identification.  This resource serves as a field guide to help you identify and learn about 3,500 of the most common native and naturalized plants of New England. Imagine identifying plants in the field with your iPad or smartphone!

This flexible and user-friendly tool helps you identify species based on whichever portions of the plant (leaves, flowers, winter buds, bark, etc.) you are able to observe at any given time of year.  Once you identify the plant, you can see a wealth of information about it, including gorgeous color photographs, maps of its geographic range, diagnostic characteristics, and memorable facts.  Go Botany is optimized for both desktop and tablet computers, so you can use it anywhere you have a web connection.  Dr. Farnsworth is one of New England’s great botanists and Editor-in-Chief of Rhodora.

Wednesday, October 22, 10:00 am – The Engineer in the Garden: from Amadis to L’Astree – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue

Tom Conley, Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor, Harvard University, will speak to us on early technological advances in gardening. In his classic work The Machine in the Garden (1964), Leo Marx posited that modernity came into being when the machine—a symbol of the forces of technology—entered the pastoral garden of the pre-industrial world. The machine was the engine of change and a profound disturbance to the garden, traditionally seen as a peaceful, static realm and the antithesis of the turbulent forces of technology and the nascent modern world. Yet gardens are products of technology, and this intimate connection invites further exploration. Scholars have long recognized the impact of technology on our understanding of nature and geography, but have rarely analyzed its relation to gardens and other designed landscapes.


Wednesday, November 19, 10:00 am – Tablet Tech for Gardeners – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue


Sarah Roche teaches a variety of courses for all abilities throughout the year, focusing on botanical drawing and painting in watercolor. She currently teaches at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA, at the Copley Society in Boston and at the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens for the Friends of Horticulture , where she is Education Director for the Certificate program in Botanical Art and Illustration . She will demonstrate how the tablet computer can be an invaluable tool in the garden – feel free to bring your tablet with you to this meeting.


Monday, December 1 – Thursday, December 4, 8:30 am – 7:00 pm – Wreath Making – The First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkeley Street

Join fellow garden club members and friends for training, decorating and delivery of holiday wreaths throughout the neighborhood and beyond, with proceeds benefiting the many projects of The Garden Club of the Back Bay. Set up will take place Sunday, November 30, time to be determined.


Wednesday, January 28, 3:00 pm – Annual Garden Club Member Tea –
The Courtyard Restaurant, Boston Public Library, Boylston Street


Wednesday, February 11, 10:00 am – New Technologies and Unique Set-Ups – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue


Urban farming is taking off in some of the most densely populated places around Greater Boston in interesting, unexpected ways. Learn about the ever-changing landscape of growing technologies that is making this possible and how to apply these techniques at home or in your community. Jessie Banhazi, CEO of Green City Growers, will join us for this informative talk.


Thursday, March 12, 10:00 am – Tour of Waterworks Museum – Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon Street, Boston


We will be joined by Executive Director Marcis Kempe and architectural historian Dennis DeWitt at the Waterworks Museum, who will discuss Boston’s first water safety laboratory, the landscaping of Boston, and other technological aspects of the creation of Boston’s excellent water system. Car pool notices will be sent.


Wednesday, April 8, 10:00 am  – How to Create a Garden Blog – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue


Amy Murphy will be the featured speaker at our April meeting.


Monday, May 11, 5:00 pm – Garden Club Annual Meeting – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue

Thursday, June 4– Twilight Garden Party, The Chilton Club, 152 Commonwealth Avenue (entrance on Dartmouth Street)