Tuesday, November 5, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm – ELA Season’s End Summit: Natural Landscapes

Natural Landscapes are not just for nature preserves. Join the Ecological Landscaping Association at Montvale Plaza, 54 Montvale Avenue in Stoneham on Tuesday, November 5, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm,  for a full day of presentations, panel discussions, and networking with colleagues to explore the many aspects of natural landscapes. Learn techniques to expand client notions of the potential of ecological landscapes.  $75 for ELA members, $95 nonmembers, including lunch and networking.  Featured speakers are Nanette Masi, a landscape designer specializing in Wildlife Habitat, Carolyn Summers, Kim Eierman, Amanda Hardy Sloan, Carl Brodeur, Kate Pawling, Darryl Newman, and Jeremy Dick.  Image from www.greatecology.com. Register online at https://www.eventville.com/catalog/eventregistration1.asp?eventid=1010648. 


Saturday, October 19, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm – South End House Tour: Back to Our Roots

Tomorrow is the day of the 45th Annual South End House Tour, hosted by The South End Historical Society.  The tour will take place from 10 – 5, rain or shine. Day of tour tickets may be purchased for $30 in the theater lobby of the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, and at Roundeau-Tierney Real Estate, 69 Appleton Street.  For complete information visit www.southendhistoricalsociety.org, or call 617-536-4445.  All House Tour attendees gain free admission to the Ellis Boston Antiques Show.


Saturday, November 9, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Project Handprint Symposium

The Wellesley Center for the Environment’s Project Handprint is creating a powerful new learning community focused on environmental issues.  This inaugural symposium for Project Handprint brings together alumnae, faculty, staff, students, and Friends who are interested in and working on improving food systems, from production through consumption.  Be inspired to expand your handprint.  Hear from faculty about current research in the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens and beyond.  Connect with farmers, foodies, scientists, policy-makers, and activists about their current roles and the paths they took to get there.  The symposium will take place Saturday, November 9, from 2 – 6 in the Wellesley College Science Center Focus.  Free, but space is limited.  Please pre-register by Friday, November 1 by calling 781-283-3094, or email wcbgfriends@wellesley.edu.



Wednesday, November 6, 6:00 pm – Feasting at Leisure: 19th Century Hotel and Resort Dining

During the 19th century, hotels and resorts elevated fine dining for their guests to an art form, a combination of entertainment and spectacle. This Wednesday, November 6 lecture, Feasting at Leisure: 19th Century Hotel and Resort Dining by Mary Ann Caton, Director of the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum, at Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Avenue in Newport, examines the causes for such feasting and highlights special foods, chefs, menus and recipes used at resorts from New York to Newport and beyond.

Admission: Newport Mansions Members free, general admission $5. Advance registration required. Register online, or call Brittany Hullinger at 401-847-1000 ext. 154.


Saturday, October 26, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm – Canine Promenade

The Esplanade Association’s Annual Canine Promenade is just around the corner.  Don’t miss your chance to join them for this adorable parade of pets dressed in festive holiday costumes.  Whether you are a pet owner or spectator, this is one event that can be enjoyed by everyone.  Meet in front of the Hatch Shell.  Last year over 100 pups came out to the park, and they are expecting a great turnout again.  Following the parade a panel of judges will award prizes for best costume and invite guests to provide some helpful tips for dog owners.  Tickets are $15 a dog if you wish to enter your own pooch.  Sign up on line at www.esplanadeassociation.org.  Thank you www.bostondoglover.com for the perfect picture.


Saturday, October 26, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm – The Garnet Cabinet

The Millers River Natural History Museum and Laboratory presents its inaugural show, The Garnet Cabinet, on October 26 in a new gallery at 100 Main Street in Athol, Massachusetts. The three-dimensional “cabinet” made by Royalston artist Donald Shambroom uses paintings, sculpture, and rhombic dodecahedrons constructed of cardboard by local crafters, to evoke the space under the earth’s crust where crystals formed more than 360 million years ago.  For more information visit www.atholbirdclub.org. Below is Mr. Shambroom’s “Geranium.”


Saturday, October 26, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm – All Eyes on Invasive Insects

Do invasive insects threaten the Arnold Arboretum’s valuable tree species? Join Rachel Brinkman, Horticultural Apprentice, at the Arborway Gate of the Arnold Arboretum on Saturday, October 26 at 11:30 am on a tour to learn more about the Asian Long Horn Beetle (ALB), Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (below), and other pests. Learn about susceptible tree species and how to identify these insects before they infest trees. Neither EAB nor ALB have been found in the Arboretum, but close monitoring is critical. Bring binoculars if you have them; a limited number will be available to borrow.  In case of inclement weather, contact 617.384.5209. This activity is free, but you may register at www.my.arboretum.harvard.edu.


Saturday, October 26, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm – Alfred Russel Wallace Day

Although Alfred Russel Wallace co-discovered the theory of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin, he has held a relatively obscure place in the history of science. This year marks the centenary of his death and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival, is celebrating Wallace’s rich legacy with “Wallace Day” on Saturday, October 26.  Learn more about a brilliant scientist, a heroic naturalist, and a passionate social reformer.

Event Schedule
11:00 am – 4:00 pm (In the galleries, free with museum admission)
Explore the HMNH galleries and see a one-day-only display of Wallace-related specimens and objects from the Museum’s zoological collections. Come see Wallace’s spectacular birds of paradise and birdwing butterflies. At 2:00 pm
, join Alfred Russel Wallace himself (impersonated by Wallace historian and evolutionary biologist Andrew Berry) for a live presentation about his remarkable life as scientist, author, and social activist.

Evening program (below): Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available by online registration only.  Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street. Free event parking is available after 3:00 pm in the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

4:00 pm
Who was Alfred Russel Wallace?
A panel discussion with: James T. Costa, Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University; John Durant, Director of the MIT Museum; James Wood, Professor of Literary Criticism at Harvard University and staff writer for The New Yorker. Moderated by Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, and acclaimed biographer of Charles Darwin.

Parallel Lives: Edward O. Wilson & Alfred Russel Wallace
A conversation with Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, and Andrew Berry, Wallace historian and Lecturer on Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University.

The evening program will conclude with a reception in the HMNH galleries for all ticket holders.


Saturday, October 26, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Opening Reception for Dispersal: Photographs by Anna Laurent

Seed pods are incredible vessels, protecting seeds as they develop and assisting with their dispersal. Photographer Anna Laurent explores the evolution of different forms to fulfill these common functions. Individually, each photograph is a fine art portrait of a unique botanic specimen; as a series, the collection becomes a visual and scientific inquiry into the remarkable diversity of botanic design. The project began in urban Southern California and has extended to the rain forests of Hawaii, the deserts of northern Iraq, and public gardens throughout the United States, including the Arnold Arboretum. This Arnold Arboretum exhibit runs through January 26, 2014, but the artist will speak of her work at the opening reception on Saturday, October 26, from 1 – 3 at the Hunnewell Building lecture hall at 125 Arborway. For show hours visit www.arboretum.harvard.edu.


Thursday, October 24, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – Walid Raad and Theaster Gates: On Art in Cities

Theaster Gates, an artist trained as an urban planner and sculptor (pictured below courtesy of www.chicagomag.com,) has developed a practice that includes space development, object making, performance, and critical engagement with many publics. Among recent projects, he was a participating artist in Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, for “12 Ballads for Huguenot House.” Gates, a 2011 Loeb Fellow, is a Creative Time Global Resident for 2012–13 and was honored by the Wall Street Journal as an Arts Innovator of the Year in 2012. Walid Raad is a New York-based artist and associate professor of art at The Cooper Union. His works include The Atlas Group, a fifteen-year project about the history of Lebanon between 1989 and 2004; the ongoing projects Scratching on Things I Could Disavow and Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut); and several books.  They will be in conversation on Thursday, October 24, from 6:30 – 8 in the Piper Auditorium of Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, in a free program sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  For more information email events@gsd.harvard.edu.


Thursday, October 24, 6:00 pm – Time Reckonings

The Harvard Museum of Natural History will present a lecture and reception with Daniel Lord Smail on Thursday, October 24, beginning at 6 pm in Haller Hall, 26 Oxford Street in Cambridge, entitled Time Reckonings. It is hard to imagine life functioning without a universal, scientific, and technologically-driven system of time-keeping and measurement, yet it once did. One of the great transformations in European history was the shift from relative time to absolute time. With this shift, the modern discipline of history became subject to chronological reckonings and concordances. Daniel Lord Smail will explore these ways of interpreting time. This event is in conjunction with the current Harvard Museums of Science and Culture exhibition Time and Time Again at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. Lecture followed by reception in the HMNH galleries.  Free and open to the public.  Free event parking is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage after 5 pm.


Fridays, October 25 – November 22, 12:15 pm – 2:00 pm – Plant Stories and Poetry Reading Group

Bring your lunch and join the Friends of Wellesley College Botanic Gardens for a weekly discussion with experienced group leader Joan Parrish of short stories and poetry featuring plants.  Joan is a WCBG docent with a master’s degree in adult education from Boston University and teacher of short story courses for Life Long Learning at Regis College.  Each week (Fridays, October 25 – November 22, from 12:15 – 2) read one assigned short story and one poem for discussion.  Peas, mango blooms, sawlogs, and blue flowers are some of the plants that inspire and contribute meaning to works by authors including Andrea Barrett, Rick Bass, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas.  The story for the first session, “Flowers” by Alice Walker, and the poem “Peonies” by Jane Kenyon can be read online or picked up the the Friends’ office.  WCBG free, nonmembers $25 for the series.  Contact www.wellesley.edu/wcbgfriends, or call 781-283-3094.


Sunday, October 20, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Bonsai Matching

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University presents Bonsai Matching with Arboretum Docent Robbie Apfel on Sunday, October 20 from 2 – 3:30 pm at the Hunnewell Building of the Arboretum. Most of the species seen as bonsai in the Arboretum’s Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection can also be found in the landscape. Explore the history and culture of bonsai and the Arboretum’s relationship with these plants, and compare bonsai with their “unrestricted” counterparts in the landscape.  This activity is free. In case of inclement weather, contact 617.384.5209. For directions visit www.arboretum.harvard.edu.  Image from www.arborday.org.


Thursday, October 17, 7:00 pm – 114th Honorary Medals Dinner

Please join The Massachusetts Horticultural Society for an evening of cocktails and dinner and welcome  keynote speaker William Cullina, Executive Director of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens,  the 2013 George Robert White Medal of Honor Awardee.

The 114th Honorary Medals Dinner will take place Thursday, October 17, 2013 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Hunnewell Building Carriage House,  900 Washington Street, Wellesley, Massachusetts. The keynote address is Gardening On the Edge of the Continent.  Gardening in Coastal Maine has more than its share of challenges and opportunities. Close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean buffers the coast from the worst of winter cold and as importantly, summer’s heat. Still, winter is long and snow-cover unreliable. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is trying out many, many perennial species and cultivars for suitability and adaptability. In this talk, William Cullina will detail some of the Gardens’ triumphs, failures, and “too soon to tells” in an informative, humorous, and visually rich presentation about gardening on the edge of the Continent.

Other award winners include Mary Ann Streeter, Allandale Farm, Art Scarpa, the Garden Club of America, the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Katherine Tracey of Avant Gardens, and meteorologist David Epstein.  Tickets are $125, and may be ordered online at www.masshort.org.


Mondays, October 21 – December 9, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – The Winter Garden Plants

Gardeners who strive for year-round interest do not ignore the months of dormancy, instead choosing plantings to seamlessly link the four landscape seasons. Discussions and projects in this Boston Architectural College course will heighten students’ awareness of the quiet beauty of the winter landscape. We will explore plants for the winter garden in depth, discussing evergreen and persistent foliage, winter buds, colorful winter twigs and bark, winter-flowering plants, grasses, and bamboo, as well as the use of weeping and contorted plants as sculptural elements and columnar plants as spatial accents. In addition, each class will explore architectural elements such as walls, fences, hedges, topiary, sculpture, and rocks, all of which enrich the experience of the winter garden. This course will meet Mondays, October 21 through December 9, from 6 – 8 at 100 Massachusetts Avenue, Room M512, and includes 4 Field Trips.  The instructor is Gary L. Koller, and the fee is $920.  Register on line at www.the-bac.edu.

Gary Koller is president of Koller and Associates, specializing in residential garden design. His award-winning gardens have been featured on tours conducted by the Perennial Plant Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Garden Conservancy. Gary served for 22 years as Director of Horticulture for the Arnold Arboretum and is currently an instructor for the Landscape Institute of the Arnold Arboretum. He is an international lecturer and has published numerous articles. Gary has received many awards and medals for his skills in communicating about environmental horticulture. He serves on the Medals Committee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the awards committee of the New England Wild Flower Society and the Buildings and Grounds Committee of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum.  Photo from www.valbourne.co.uk.


Saturday, October 19, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Bonsai at The Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University presents Bonsai at The Arnold Arboretum with Rhoda Kubrick, Arboretum Docent, on Saturday, October 19, from 2 – 3 pm. The Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection turns one hundred this year. Discover the art of bonsai and the history of the Arnold Arboretum’s bonsai collection, which includes a core of seven, large compact hinoki cypresses (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chabo-hiba’)–each between 150 and 275 years old–as well as younger plants. Get a close-up look at these remarkable trees and gain a better understanding of bonsai maintenance. This activity is free. In case of inclement weather, contact 617.384.5209.  For directions visit www.arboretum.harvard.edu.


Wednesday, October 30, 10:00 am – Bark: Get to Know Your Trees

The Garden Club of the Back Bay will hold its October meeting on Wednesday, October 30 beginning at 10 am at The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue, with a lecture on Bark: Get to Know Your Trees.

As a naturalist, writer, photographer, and illustrator, Michael Wojtech strives to share the science and beauty of natural history in an accessible and compelling fashion. He began his ongoing study of tree physiology and ecology at Antioch University New England, where he earned his Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology and edited the journal Whole Terrain. Michael speaks about and leads workshops on trees throughout the Northeast. Many people know how to identify trees by their leaves, but what about when those leaves have fallen or are out of reach? With detailed information and illustrations covering each phase of a tree’s life cycle, his recently published Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast is an indispensable guidebook explaining how to identify trees by their bark alone.

Chapters on the structure and ecology of tree bark, descriptions of bark appearance, an easy-to-use identification key, and supplemental information on non-bark characteristics–all enhanced by over 450 photographs, illustrations, and maps–will show you how to distinguish the textures, shapes, and colors of bark to recognize various tree species, and also understand why these traits evolved.

Whether you’re a professional naturalist or a parent leading a family hike, Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast is your essential guide to the region’s 67 native and naturalized tree species. Following his talk and before our optional lunch is served, we will stroll outside with Michael to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and take a took at the bark of some of the trees growing in our neighborhood.  GCBB members will receive written notice of the meeting.  Guests are welcome – please email info@gardenclubbackbay.org if you are interested in attending.


Sunday, October 20, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm – Thoreau and the Language of Trees

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University will present Thoreau and the Language of Trees on Sunday, October 20 in the Hunnewell Building of the Arnold Arboretum beginning at 3 pm with writer and editor Richard Higgins. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) wrote about trees as few others have. He admired their beauty and found poetic forms and mythic meaning in them. He studied how they grow and also took them as his spiritual companions, discerning the individual character of each tree’s “soul”. Richard Higgins has studied Thoreau in depth, and in this presentation, pairs his own images of trees and forests with the writing and philosophy of this hallowed figure of the American Renaissance.  Fee $5 Arboretum member, $10 nonmember.  Register online at www.my.arboretum.harvard.edu.


From the Archives – The Great Birdbath Robbery

Bud Collins wrote the article excerpted below for the Monday, July 3, 1967 Boston Globe:

James Vorenberg, executive director of the National Crime Commission, warned the nation that crime in the streets is increasing – but he didn’t prepare Bostonians for the foulest deed of the decade: the Great Birdbath Robbery on Commonwealth av. (sic)

Two weeks have passed since the prized William the Conqueror antique granite basin was snatched – along with its pedestal – from a cement mooring in the sidewalk garden at 169 Commonwealth.  There are no clues, not even a ransom note, and the police are frantic.  Police Commissioner McNamara has tried to calm a terrified neighborhood, but flocks of dirty birds are screeching louder every day for relief.

Specs O’Keefe of the Brinks Gang was questioned, and had an alibi.  Teddy Green has been ruled out as a suspect because he was in Walpole the night of the robbery, and Raymond Patriarca can prove he was in Providence.  McNamara has instructed detectives to watch for a heistman with a hernia, since the birdbath weighs almost 200 pounds.

Shaken by his loss, the owner, Dr. William Macdonald, has issued a plea to the bath-lifters not to drop it.  He has also offered a $25 reward for the safe return of his feathered friends’ tub.

Dr. Macdonald, a skin specialist who raises roses redder than rashes in his small, handsome plot facing the Commonwealth Mall, is “saddened” to think that thieves would knock over his garden.  “It’s quite amazing,” said Dr. Macdonald, a short, sprightly man with a thin mustache whose garden is celebrated throughout Back Bay.” …

Within the 12-by-15 foot space between his house and the sidewalk, Dr. Macdonald has created such a splendid floral display. His arrangement of roses, coral bells, pansies, geraniums, a Japanese cherry tree, a yew and an Austrian pine won him first prize ribbons from the Back Bay Garden Club last year and this.

The place became Macdonald Springs to the flighty members of the wing set that came to take the waters.  Rising above the flowers, to about 30 inches, was their pool, a six-sided granite basin where finches, grackles, sparrows, pigeons and an occasional hummingbird gossiped and bathed.  It was L St. for birds.

“…this granite was from Caen, France, William the Conqueror’s hometown, and was brought over by him to England in 1066.” Why William would lug blocks of granite to England is a mystery.  Perhaps he envisioned a granite sink for himself to shave in.

Anyway Dr. Macdonald bought the basin for $100 and paid $60 more to have it shipped to Boston.  The doctor has tended gardens all over the world, in his native Australia and in Egypt where he was stationed during World War I.

Today a Garden Club of the Back Bay magnolia tree enhances the front garden.  The birdbath, we believe, was never recovered.


Saturday, October 19, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm – Pumpkin Day

Celebrate the arrival of fall with Historic New England at Cogswell’s Grant, 60 Spring Street in Essex, Massachusetts, from 11 – 4. Take a hay wagon ride through the fields to choose a jack-o’-lantern from our pumpkin patch. Decorate and carve pumpkins, compete in a pumpkin pie-eating contest, make crafts, play games, have your face painted, and try cider pressing. Enjoy hot mulled apple cider and pumpkin pie. Tour the house and see one of the most celebrated collections of American antiques and folk art. Free to Historic New England members and children under 3, $6 nonmembers, $4 children ages 3 to 12 years. Please call 978-768-3632 for more information, or visit www.historicnewengland.org.


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