Remembering Debbie Roberts

Debbie Roberts Program

The Garden Club of the Back Bay lost one of its most active members on January 15, 2014, when Debbie Roberts passed away suddenly while on vacation with her husband Bill in Hanoi, Vietnam.  Debbie, a resident of Beacon Street and Nantucket, served as Corresponding Secretary of the Club, and was a volunteer for the annual Wreath Project and for the Twilight Garden Party.  In addition to her husband, she leaves behind her son Brian and his wife Becky, her son Tyler and his wife Kelly, and two grandchildren, Owen and Fisher.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Debbie’s memory may be made to The Debbie Roberts Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Nantucket ( or as a tribute donation to Doctors Without Borders (  We mourn her loss.

Debbie Roberts Program

Monday, February 10, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Déjà vu all over again: Denialism of Climate Change and of Evolution

Eugenie Scott, PhD, Director of the National Center for Science Education, will speak at The Arnold Arboretum on Monday, February 10, from 7 – 8:30 as part of the Director’s Lecture Series.  This program is sold out but you may join the waiting list by calling 617-384-5277.

Both evolution and global warming are “controversial issues” in education, but are not controversial in the world of science. There is remarkable similarity in the techniques that are used by both camps to promote their views. The scientific issues are presented as “not being settled”, or that there is considerable debate among scientists over the validity of claims. Both camps practice “anomaly mongering”, in which a small detail, seemingly incompatible with either evolution or global warming, is held up as dispositive of either evolution or of climate science. Although in both cases, reputable, established science is under attack for ideological reasons, the underlying ideology differs: for denying evolution, the ideology of course is religious; for denying global warming, the ideology is political and/or economic. Eugenie Scott will deconstruct the arguments and identify the ideologies that hinder widespread understanding of evolution and responsiveness to climate change.

Eugenie Scott, a former university professor, served as the executive director of NCSE from 1987 to 2014; she now serves as the chair of NCSE’s Advisory Council. She has been both a researcher and an activist in the creationism/evolution controversy for over twenty-five years, and can address many components of this controversy, including educational, legal, scientific, religious, and social issues. She has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups, and humanist groups. She holds nine honorary degrees, from McGill, Rutgers, Mt. Holyoke, the University of New Mexico, Ohio State, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Colorado College, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Chapman University. A dynamic speaker, she offers stimulating and thought-provoking as well as entertaining lectures and workshops. Scott is the author of Evolution vs Creationism and co-editor, with Glenn Branch, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.

Saturdays and Sundays through March 30 – Relics from the Pergolas

Clara Endicott Sears was a visionary, writer, historian, preservationist, and founder of Fruitlands Museum.

Born in 1863 of Boston Brahmin lineage, Sears was cosmopolitan, cultivated, and independent. She preferred artistic and intellectual pursuits to the conventional roles expected of a lady of her social stature. Instead, she chose a life of the mind, nurtured by extensive travel, illustrious friendships, and her own curiosity and spirit.

In 1910, Sears built a summer residence known as the “Pergolas” on Prospect Hill in Harvard, Massachusetts. The house (now gone) and property commanded dramatic views of the Nashua River Valley, originally settled by the Nashaway Indians.

This spectacular site turned out to have historical associations that dovetailed with Sears’ passionate interest in the great minds and spiritual seekers of America’s past. Along with this extraordinary property came the farmhouse site where Bronson Alcott had founded his Transcendentalist community known as Fruitlands.

Alcott’s utopia was short lived, but Sears was drawn to Transcendentalist writings, and their experiment in communal living. In 1914, she had the vision to turn Alcott’s farmhouse into a museum housing a treasury of original artifacts and furnishings.

It was the beginning of Sears’ career as a preservationist, historian, writer, and curator of the four distinct collections she built over the next thirty years. Fascination with Alcott led Sears to the Harvard and Shirley Shakers, whom she befriended and admired for their ingenuity, spiritual devotion, and industry.

When the Shaker community closed in 1917, Sears brought the eighteenth-century Shaker office to Fruitlands, furnished it with Shaker artwork, implements, and artifacts, many donated by the Shakers themselves.

Sears went on to develop a small but exquisite Native American collection (with help from the Peabody Museum at Harvard), and later still, she built the Picture Gallery to house her Hudson River School landscapes and 19th-century vernacular portraits. Each museum: Fruitlands Farmhouse; the Shaker Museum—the first in this country; the Indian Museum and the Picture Gallery celebrate a unique spiritual encounter with the New England landscape, with the mind, and with the heart.

Come celebrate the life of Clara Endicott Sears, and explore all the Fruitlands Museum has to offer, on Saturdays and Sundays through March 30, in the new exhibit in the Art Gallery entitled Relics from the Pergolas. For directions and complete information visit

Sundays, January 26 – March 23, 11:00 am – 12:00 noon – Photography Workshops

Individuals of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate in these free and informal photography sessions presented as part of the ParkARTS program sponsored by Bank of America and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. Participants will learn techniques for taking impressive photographs of Boston’s scenic parks as well as be given a theme to focus on each Sunday. The programs will take place Sundays from 11 – 12, at the locations below. Please note there is no session on March 16. Photo below from For more information please call 617-961-3051 or email 
January 26 -  Jamaica Pond Boathouse, Jamaica Plain

February 9 -  Christopher Columbus Statue, Christopher
Columbus Park, North End

February 23  – Grampian Way Basketball Court, Savin Hill Park,  Dorchester

March 9  – Millennium Park, Canoe Launch, West Roxbury

March 23  – Lagoon Bridge, Boston Public Garden, Boston

Saturday, February 1, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm – Mothers Out Front

Join Mothers Out Front to Kick Off The First Massachusetts Campaign!  Saturday, February 1, 2014 — 11am to 1pm at Tremont Temple Baptist Church, 88 Tremont Street, Boston
(Red Line, Park Street Station).

Together, send a clear message to Governor Patrick and Gubernatorial Candidates that we can and must choose clean energy in order to protect our children and grandchildren.

Mothers and Grandmothers Organizing in Massachusetts Communities
State Representative Lori Ehrlich
Special message from Bill McKibben of
Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band

Refreshments and banner making for the whole family
March to the State House
Group photo for delivery to Governor Patrick

Click here to RSVP!

Sunday, January 26, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Boston’s Orange Line

The story of the Orange Line is the story of Boston: always in flux but trailed by its long history. Since 1901, this rail line’s configuration has evolved in response to changes in the city, society, and technology. Hazardous sections have been eliminated, ownership has transitioned from private to public, and the line has been rerouted to serve growing suburbs and to use land cleared for the failed Inner Belt. Both its northern terminus, which shifted from Everett to Malden, and the southern route, realigned from Washington Street to the Southwest Corridor, have seen dramatic transformations that have in turn changed riders’ lives. Today, the line’s 10 miles of track curve through many Greater Boston communities, serving thousands along the way.

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society will host an authors book talk on Sunday, January 26, from 3 – 5 at Doyle’s, 3484 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain. The authors Jeremy C. Fox and Andrew Elder are JP residents and will have copies of the book for sale. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served (but cash bar).

Saturday, January 25, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Closing Reception: 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 various forms to fulfill these common biological functions in a column for Print magazine’s online blog, Imprint. For this Arnold Arboretum exhibition, images of seed pods were captured exclusively at the Arnold Arboretum, highlighting select examples of dispersal mechanisms employed by both flowering and non-flowering plants in the living collections. Individually, each of the 33 photographs included in the exhibition is a fine art portrait of a unique botanic specimen; as a series, it is a scientific exploration of reproductive adaptation and the diversity of botanic design. Don’t miss this last chance to see the exhibit, at the closing reception on Saturday, January 25 from 1 – 3 in the Hunnewell Building.

Wednesday, February 12, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Gardening is Murder

The Evening Garden Club of West Roxbury will host author Neil Sanders on Wednesday, February 12, from 7 – 9 at the Elks Lodge, 1 Morrell Street in West Roxbury.  Mr. Sanders will present a humorous horticultural talk that focuses on gardening from a husband’s perspective.  Open to the public for a fee of $5.  For more information visit

Thursday, January 30, 7:00 pm – Trowels and Tomorrow

The beauty of gardens is that they mature. Join Tovah Martin at Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, on Thursday, January 30 beginning at 7 pm in this lecture about horticultural preservation, stewardship, and how gardeners grapple with change. We address the challenges of bringing landscapes into the next generation.

Whether you have inherited a landscape or created a garden over decades and now face mature trees and shrubs that require preemptive pruning or relocation, we explore issues and answers. We look at woodland gardens and grand estates, we explore gardens great and small. We tackle such sticky wickets as rehabilitating overgrown boxwood hedges and coping with plants that were once considered exotics but have now been unmasked as invasives.

This is a lecture about bringing yesterday’s gardens into tomorrow. But we also talk about plant preservation and heirloom varieties, honoring the people who have worked to preserve vintage ornamentals so those plants with a past can become the superstars of future gardens.

Ms. Martin will have copies of her most recent books available for purchase and signing.  Fee is $20 for Massachusetts Horticultural Society members, $25 for nonmembers.  For more information visit or call 617-933-4973.  Image below from

Wednesday, February 12, 1:00 pm – Well-Designed Gardens


You know a well-designed garden when you see it. You enjoy the space. There are places to go. There are surprises. There is lush vegetation. Enjoy a trip through several well-designed residential gardens with Professor Emerita Mary Coyne as she shares images from her garden travels and explain what makes a garden work from her point of view as a landscape designer. The lecture will take place at the Wellesley College Botanic Garden on Wednesday, February 12 beginning at 1 pm.

After her retirement from the College, Mary Coyne embarked on her retirement career and received her Certificate from the Landscape Institute in 2010. The Harriet B. Creighton Educational Garden across the driveway from the Visitor Center is designed and maintained by her. WCFH Members Free / Non-Members $10. To register, contact, or call 781-283-3094.

Sunday, January 26, 2:30 pm – The Black Bear in Massachusetts

The Sterling Land Trust will host Department of Fisheries & Wildlife Technician Sue Ingalls, who will cover black bear natural history, research efforts, management practices, and human/wildlife interactions. Her talk will take place at 2:30 P.M. at the First Church Parish Hall on 6 Meetinghouse Hill Road in Sterling (on the common just off Rte 12/Rte 62.) The event is free and open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible. Contact Marion Larson of the Sterling Land Trust at (978) 422-5162 or email for more information.

Monday, July 7 – Friday, July 18 – Great English Gardens & the Hampton Court Flower Show

England is famous for its gardens. The Pacific Horticulture itinerary includes vast stunning landscapes of Capability Brown, the extraordinary designs of Tim Smit and John Brookes, as well as exquisite, small cottage gardens where you can chat with the owners. You’ll visit Sissinghurst Castle, Wisley, Great Dixter, Denmans, Heligans, Hever Castle, Hampton Court Palace — where you’ll take in the spectacular Hampton Court Flower Show featuring creative display gardens and horticultural exhibits — Hestercombe, and more.

Greg Graves, PHS board member will escort this tour, taking place Monday, July 7 – Friday, July 18. The tour is under development at this time; contact Sterling Tours to be notified of a full itinerary once it is completed.  See more at:

Jesse Brackenbury to Serve as Executive Director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy


The Board of Directors of the non-profit Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy named Jesse Brackenbury as the Conservancy’s Executive Director. Brackenbury joined the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy as Chief Operating Officer in December 2009 and assumed the role of acting Executive Director following the January 2013 departure of founding Executive Director Nancy Brennan.

Prior to joining the Greenway Conservancy, Brackenbury worked for The Boston Consulting Group where he managed strategy, real estate, organizational development and other projects for Fortune 500 companies and government. Brackenbury also held management roles at the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, where he oversaw a billion-dollar capital budget and a 14-person special projects team. He holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in Political Economy from Williams College.

Wednesday, January 29, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm – Grow Your Food

Make your garden dreams a reality! Gardening for Life and the Concord Seed Lending Library are pleased to co-sponsor Grow Your Food, with two talented and experienced speakers, on Wednesday, January 29, from 7:30 – 9:30 at the Fowler Branch Library, 1322 Main Street, West Concord. This mid-winter program will help you plan your food garden before the growing season has begun.

Grow Your Food features Meighan Matthews, Growing for Good founder, and Linda Ugelow, Dancing Tomato Farmer, who use slides, stories, handouts and plenty of time for Q&A. Geared for less experienced gardeners, or as a refresher for more advanced gardeners.

The two hour presentation covers how and what to grow and to save seeds, maintain and build soil health, site the garden plot, use season extenders, find local sources for compost and plants etc with plenty of time for Q&A. The program is free though donations are welcomed to offset costs.

Space is limited to 30 participants. RSVP by January 24 to to reserve your seat! For details go to:

Saturday, February 1, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – The Garden in Winter

The garden can be a magical place in winter. Stripped of summer foliage and flowers, the success of a winter garden lies in its structure, basic design and choice of plant material. This Tower Hill Botanic Garden lecture on Saturday, February 1 from 1 – 2:30 provides inspiration and tips on designing your garden for winter interest, choosing the best trees, shrubs and perennials, and grouping them to create arresting vignettes. Following the lecture, join the presenters Jana Milbocker and Joan Butler of Enchanted Gardens for a walk at Tower Hill to view some of the plants and plant combinations mentioned in the lecture. $15 for THBG members, $25 for nonmembers. Register at, or click  here.  Image from

Friday, February 7, 6:45 pm – The Role of Seed Banks in Plant Conservation

The February lecture sponsored by the New England Botanical Club will take place Friday, February 7, beginning at 6:45 at Harvard University in the Haller Lecture Hall (Room 102), Geological Museum, 24 Oxford Street (door to the right of the Harvard Museum of Natural History entrance,) and will feature Dr. Tristram Seidler, Herbarium Curator at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, speaking on The Role of Seed Banks in Plant Conservation. Dr. Seidler was a post doctoral fellow at Imperial College, England, and his work has been sponsored by the Food and Health Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the William F. Milton Fund. For more information visit

Saturday, January 25, 5:00 am – 5:00 pm – Superbowl of Birding

Winter is a wonderful time to bird in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. In celebration of this season, the Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport,  is hosting the Superbowl of Birding XI on Saturday, January 25, 2014 – 5am to 5pm (Snow date: Sunday, January 26).

Superbowls I-X were great successes with teams from as far away as Delaware and Pennsylvania participating. The challenge is renewed this year, with prizes awarded in ten categories!

This is a unique competition to find the greatest number of species and to earn the greatest number of points based on the rarity of the birds recorded. The Nikon Joppa Cup is awarded to the team that collects the most points by the end of the specified 12-hour birding day. Strategy and planning are essential in order to win this competition.

The event consists of activities targeted for all levels of birders. Expert birders can compete for a number of awards, including the Nikon Joppa Cup, Essex County Award, or Rockingham County Award. Teams with young birders 18 years old or younger can vie for the Seekers Award. The Fledgling Award encourages young families to participate. Nikon is the lead sponsor, and complete information may be found at

Saturday, January 25, 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm – Frogs, Mussels, Crayfish and Other Critters: Biodiversity of Lakes and Ponds in Massachusetts

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Aquatic Ecologist, Peter Hazelton, will speak on Frogs, Mussels, Crayfish and Other Critters: Biodiversity of Lakes and Ponds in Massachusetts, at a meeting of the Massachusetts Congress of Lake and Pond Associations (COLAP) from 1:45-2:45 pm on Saturday, January 25. The COLAP meeting will take place at Worcester State University and is open to the public. MASS COLAP is a non-profit organization.  Its membership consists of private lake and pond associations, publicly appointed lake committees, students and professional organizations. For more information contact Carol Hildreth at

Saturday, January 25, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon – Annual Duck Walk with the Waltham Land Trust

Come to the popular Duck Walk and see beautiful waterfowl along the Charles River.  Tag along on this very popular walk along the Charles River to see dabbling and diving birds, visiting from Canada. In the past we have seen mergansers (hooded and common), ring necks, golden eyes, grebes, and others, even a bald eagle! Bring your binoculars, cameras, and bird books. Dress warmly–we only cancel if there is very heavy snow falling.  Meet in the back corner of River Street Shaw’s parking lot by footbridge.  For more information visit

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