Club Events


Collectors and Collections


Each year The Garden Club of the Back Bay decides where to focus its attention for the coming season. Last year we explored Technology in the Garden. 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 plants which inspire acquisitions, gardeners whose collections made a difference, plus we take an interesting field trip to the Athenaeum to view an unrivaled set of botanical prints. Complete details of each meeting will be sent to members prior to each event.


Wednesday, September 16, 10:00 am – Hydrangeas – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue

Endless Summer, Snow Queen, Pinky Winky, Incrediball – There has been an explosion of hydrangea cultivars with cut and quirky names. Gail Anderson will help demystify this immensely popular genus and will include tips for choosing the right hydrangea for your garden. You’ll enjoy an instructional look at the genus brought to popular attention by such disparate personalities as Martha Stewart and renowned plantsman Michael Dirr. Topics covered will include a primer of hydrangea species, cultivars commonly available for sale, flower shape and color, including soil pH, and how to plant and prune.


Gail Anderson is a former teacher and magazine journalist. She earned a Certificate in Landscape Design and Maintenance from North Shore Community College and was certified as a Massachusetts Master Gardener. Gail worked for six years as a staff horticulturist for The Trustees of Reservations at Long Hill, an estate garden in Beverly, Massachusetts known for its woody plant collection. She has also served as a photography judge and jury member at the Boston Flower & Garden Show and has lectured at the Portland, Maine Flower Show. Gail is a member of the Ipswich Garden Club.

Wednesday, October 14, 10:00 am – The History of the Tulip and the Tulipmania Movement in 17th Century Netherlands– The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue

We will explore the history of this wandering beauty with Ila Cox. From its cradle in the foothills of the Himalayas, we follow the tulip’s journey over the centuries through Persia, the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe in the 16th century. In the Golden Age of 17th century Holland, the tulip takes on larger prominence as it intersects with the burgeoning Dutch economy. It becomes a principle actor in an economic drama of historic proportion. Tulipmania has direct relevance for our 21st century experience with the inflated values of certain commodities and lack of market regulations. The tulip moved west during the 17th century and was introduced to North America and other colonies. Today Dutch tulip production has become a major commercial success as the tulip is marketed to the world.


Ila Cox is a plant lover, gardener, garden traveler, and a student of garden and plant history. She studied flower arranging with Sheila McQueen, has been a church flower arranger, owner of The Potting Shed, and is a member of the Andover and Boxford Garden Clubs, former Chair of the Flower Committee of the MFA Associates, and lectures on flower arranging and horticultural topics.


Thursday, November 12, 10:00 am – From Landscape Gardening to Landscape Urbanism – The Country Club, Clyde Street, Brookline

The Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America will hold its annual fall membership meeting, lecture and luncheon on Thursday, November 12 beginning at 10 am at The Country Club, 191 Clyde Street in Brookline. Charles Waldheim will give a talk entitled From Landscape Gardening to Landscape Urbanism.

Charles Waldheim is the John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His lecture will focus on the evolution and current trends in ‘Landscape Urbanism’, a term coined by Waldheim to describe the recent emergence of landscape as a medium of urban order for the contemporary city. Professor Waldheim is a Canadian-American architect, urban theorist, and educator. His research examines the relations between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. At the same time that urban sprawl has distanced the population from the landscape, environmental literacy among designers and scholars has grown, giving rise to an architectural discourse known as ‘landscape urbanism’. In his lecture Waldheim, who is at the forefront of this movement, explores the origins, the current context and the aspirations of this relatively new field that is inspiring the future of city making. Waldheim is author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books on the subject, and his writing has been published and translated internationally. He has taught at Rice University, University of Toronto, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan. Charles is also the Ruettgers Consulting Curator of Landscape at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The event is open to members of Garden Clubs affiliated with The Boston Committee and their guests. Garden Club of the Back Bay members will receive separate invitations and a car pool notice in the mail. For more information email


Monday, December 7 – Thursday, December 10, 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, December 6, time to be determined.

Thursday, January 14, 1:00 pmBotanical Print Collection at the Athenaeum – The Boston Athenaeum, 10 ½ Beacon Street

Stanley Cushing, curator of rare books and manuscripts, will welcome a group of up to 12 members of the Garden Club on the afternoon of Thursday, January 14, in the Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room for a viewing of botanical images in its rare books collection. A docent led tour of the building will begin at 1 p.m. prior to our visit to Special Collections. Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States. The Athenaeum’s holdings include the important collection of botanical prints which we will view.


January (date and venue to be determined) – Annual Garden Club Member Tea

Tuesday, February 9, 10:00 am – A Collector’s Guide to Hosta– The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue


This program by Joan Butler is constructed with a collector’s mindset taking the lead in discussing the genus Hosta, discussing how the focus of interest develops and changes, and actually drives the collector. So many fascinating people are met along the way. She also discusses using Hosta in garden design – how to set the stage for the seamless integration of a collection. The program is a PowerPoint presentation, with beautiful photography featuring Hosta from her own garden and from gardens she has visited. Joan is a member of the New England Hosta Society and the American Hosta Society, and was Chairman of the Garden Selection Committee for the National Hosta Convention held in Marlborough, MA in 2011.


Wednesday, March 16, 10:00 am – A Visit to ‘Les Quatres Vents’ : Frank Cabot’s Quebec Garden– The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue


Frank Cabot, founder of the Garden Conservancy, was a plant collector of the first order. Sally Muspratt will present an illustrated lecture of his showcase Quebec garden, which she revisited in May, 2015. Sally McGuire Muspratt holds a Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design from Radcliffe College (1993), a certificate in Landscape Maintenance from UMass Extension (2002), an M.A. from Newnham College, Cambridge and a BA from Harvard. In 2010 she was accredited as an Organic Land Care Professional by the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and in 2011 as a Professional Landscape Designer by the APLD, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (certification #344).

Sally gardens in West Roxbury, MA and La Malbaie, Quebec. She serves on the Board of the Arboretum Park Conservancy and on the advisory committees of The Kelleher Rose Garden and the Park Overseers of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. She is past President of the Board of Cogdesign, past Chairman of the Landscape Design Study Classes, the Landscape Design Council of the National Council of State Garden Clubs, and the Civic Development Committee for the GCF of MA.


Tuesday, April 12, 1:00 pm Twenty Five Fabulous Roses – The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue


Mike and Angie Chute have been growing roses for over twenty years in their East Providence, Rhode Island garden. For many years they have presented programs at such venues as the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show, the Boston Flower & Garden Show, Newport Flower Show, University of Rhode Island, garden clubs, and NBC10’s Plant Pro. As a way to reach more home gardeners and landscape professionals, they started RoseSolutions as a landscape consulting company that offers educational programs, workshops, seminars, and consulting services on rose horticulture. To further their goal of reaching every gardener who wants to know more about growing roses in New England, we have established this website – They are the authors of Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening, and Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners, both of which will be available for purchase at this meeting. The afternoon meeting will be followed by tea.