Saturday, April 16, 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm – Images of America: Arnold Arboretum

Join Lisa Pearson, Head of the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library, at the Arboretum on Saturday April 16 at 3 pm as she discusses her new book Images of America – Arnold Arboretum. She will speak about the extensive photograph collections of the Arboretum and how she used them to tell the institution’s story. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. Free, but registration requested at 617-384-5277.


Monday, April 18, 7:00 pm – Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

In a work rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, Eric Jay Dolin, the best-selling author of Leviathan, presents the most comprehensive history of American lighthouses ever written, telling the story of America through the prism of its beloved coastal sentinels. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America’s lighthouse system, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation’s hardscrabble coastlines. In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters including the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country’s efforts to adopt the revolutionary Fresnel Lens, and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, ruthless egg collectors, and most importantly, the light-keepers themselves. Richly supplemented with over 100 photographs and illustrations throughout, Brilliant Beacons is the most original history of American lighthouses in many decades. Mr. Dolin will speak at Porter Square Books, 25 White Street in Cambridge, on Monday, April 18 at 7 pm, followed by a book signing.

Eric Jay Dolin is the author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, and also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History; and Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. He is also the author of When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, he lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.


Thursday, April 14, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Seed Starting Lecture

Get a jump on the season by starting your own plants from seeds – less expensive than buying transplants, starting your own also gives you a much broader selection of interesting varieties to try!

Master Gardener Gretel Anspach will discuss seed choices, start times, and growing methods, including windowsill and grow-light gardening. Whether you are interested in annuals, perennials, edibles, or even shrubs and trees, this lecture will give you the information you need to go from starting a seed to planting it in the ground.  The event will take place Thursday, April 14 at 7 pm at The Gardens at Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street in Wellesley.  $12 for Mass Hort members, $20 for nonmembers.  Register at www.masshort.org or by calling 617-933-4973.  Image from www.parisfarmersunion.net.


Tuesday, April 26 – Thursday, April 28, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm – Painting in Sepia

The Friends of Wellesley College Botanic Gardens has added a three day Painting in Sepia class to its excellent calendar of classes and events.  Lara Call Gastinger will give a detailed approach to observing and painting spring specimens with a monochromatic sepia palette.  You’ll learn how to render stems accurately, create value, detail different textures, and use brush control to attain a tight finished look.  This is a great introduction to watercolor without the added complexity of color.  The class takes place Tuesday, April 26 – Thursday, April 28, from 9:30 – 3:30.  Friends members $340, nonmembers $415. Register by emailing wcbgfriends@wellesley.edu, or call 781-283-3094.  Watercolor below copyright 2014 Lara Call Gastinger.


Wednesday, April 13, 10:00 am – Let Us Grow an Edible Garden

Get ready to plan a vegetable garden in a container, raised garden bed, or community garden.

Megan McCue of McCue’s Garden Center will talk about time-tested methods to get your garden started, and the varieties available today. She will also be presenting coupons for use later that day.

Plan to bring a friend or neighbor to this informative and entertaining session at 10 AM, Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at the Scottish Rite Museum, 33 Marrett Road in Lexington, where you’ll find ample free parking and wheelchair accessibility. Free program is sponsored by Lexington Field and Garden Club.


Sunday, April 24 – Wednesday, April 27 – Inspired by the Sea: The Material Culture of Newport and Other Ports of Call

There is still time to register for the 2016 Newport Symposium, to be held April 24 – 27. The sea has always been the heart of Newport’s cultural identity. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, maritime enterprise forged cultural connections between cosmopolitan Newporters and makers, traders and collectors in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. But even as the city’s economy shifted away from trade towards scientific inquiry and recreation in the 19th and 20th centuries, the environment, heritage and mythology of the sea ensured that Newport remained a wellspring of artistic inspiration.

Tom Michie, Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will speak on Real and Imagined Luxury Goods and their Impact on New England.  Patricia Kane of the Yale University Art Gallery will give a talk entitled Faithfully Made of the Best Materials: Cabinetmaking in Rhode Island, and Karina Corrigan, H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem will present Asia In Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Dutch Golden Age, and all that happens before lunch on Monday!  For a complete list of speakers and topics, and we assure you the list is tantalizing, visit http://www.newportmansions.org/learn/newport-symposium/symposium-program

$550 for members of the Preservation Society of Newport County, $600 for general public.  Register online at www.newportmansions.org.

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Sunday, April 17, 1:00 pm – Organizing Nature Through Its Evolutionary History

Jennifer Berlinger, creator of History of Existing Life artwork, will share how evolutionary history is changing traditional plant classifications, and how this will improve medicine, agriculture and conservation.  The presentation will take place at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive in Boylston, on Sunday, April 17 at 1 pm.  Free with admission to the garden, but pre-registration is required, at www.towerhillbg.org.

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Sunday, April 10, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – The Arnold Arboretum Before It Was An Arboretum

Join Arnold Arboretum docent Brian Karlsson-Barnes at 1 pm on Sunday, April 10 in the Hunnewell Building, 125 Arborway, and step back in time to the early 19th century. Imagine the Arboretum before it was an Arboretum. Most of the land was treeless, cleared to grow crops and hay, graze animals, and supply firewood for Boston and nearby Third Parish of Roxbury, now Jamaica Plain. Hear how gentleman farmer, Benjamin Bussey, consolidated a number of small farms into a large estate, and how he safe-guarded and valued this land that would become the Arnold Arboretum. Free.

In case of inclement weather, contact 617.384.5209.


Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Magnolias for New England

For many New Englanders, magnolias blooming in April symbolize the much anticipated arrival of spring. Though a cold night can freeze the buds or blossoms and turn petals to a brown wilt, our anticipation for the coming season has already been unleashed and can’t be suppressed. That is the effect of this early-blooming flower after months of cold and snow.

Andrew Bunting, magnolia expert and Assistant Director of the Garden and Director of Plant Collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden, presents an in depth look at the best ornamental magnolias for the New England area. Many are highlighted in his newly released book, The Plant Lovers Guide to Magnolias.

The lecture will take place in the Hunnewell Building of the Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway in Jamaica Plain. Fee $5 for Arboretum members, $10 for nonmembers. For more information visit www.arboretum.harvard.edu.


Timber Rattlesnake to be Reintroduced to Massachusetts

The Timber Rattlesnake is listed as an Endangered Species in Massachusetts and has experienced the greatest modern decline of any native reptile.  It is a high conservation priority species for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildLife), the agency with the legal responsibility and mandate to conserve endangered and common wildlife species.  Currently, there are only five populations of Timber Rattlesnakes in the Commonwealth.  As part of an overall conservation strategy, MassWildLife is proposing to establish a small number of rattlesnakes on Mount Zion, a large island closed to the public at the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts.

Native to Massachusetts, the Timber Rattlesnake has lived here continuously long before European settlement.  Humans are the greatest threat to the Timber Rattlesnake.  While killing or disturbing this snake is a serious criminal offense, these acts, combined with road mortality, continue to be major factors that contribute to the rattlesnake’s imperiled status.  The proposal to establish a small discrete population at the Quabbin Reservoir has evolved out of the need to have at least one location where this native species will avoid people.

Snakes will be offspring of Massachusetts snakes.  Juvenile snakes will be headstarted in captivity by the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence for two winters, allowing them to grow large enough so they will have the best chance of surviving to adulthood. According the the government, while rattlesnakes are perfectly good swimmers, this island is large enough that they would have little motivation to swim away.  Even if the snakes did swim, they would pose no measurable risk to the public, considering rattlesnakes have long lived in popular state parks and wildlife lands heavily used by people elsewhere in Massachusetts.

Throughout human history, snakes of all types have been feared, maligned, and persecuted.  Because the snake is venomous, people express understandable concerns for their safety and the safety of family members and pets.  As a venomous snake, the Timber Rattlesnake certainly has the potential to be dangerous.  They are generally mild in disposition and often rattle their tails to alert animals and people.  Wild bites to people are extremely rare.  The latest antivenom treatments have greatly reduced the danger even if a person is bitten.  You may learn more at www.mass.gov/dfw/timber-rattlesnake-conservation.

If you wish to express an opinion, pro or con, on this issue, you may contact the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Field Headquarters, One Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581, or call 508-389-6300.   Also you may contact Matthew A. Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114.  His telephone number is 617-626-1015, and his email is matthew.beaton@state.ma.us.  Image by Tom Palmer from www.masnakes.org.