Wreath of the Day – Floral Fantasy


A former member, Florence Massimo, was known for her dried flower wreaths, intricately assembled from hydrangeas, roses, and any other naturally colored flower we had in the workshop.  The work took hours, since the blossoms are fragile, but each was a masterpiece.  One of our newer decorators is carrying on the tradition of the “Florence Wreath.”  She made the one below for herself, and the textured brocade ribbon keeps the wreath design from being too Christmas – themed.  This will look as pretty on Valentine’s Day as it does now.


Thursday, January 16, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (Snow Date January 17) – Managing Large-Scale Landscapes Sustainably

Join the Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA ) and Wellesley College on Thursday, January 16, from 8:30 – 4:30 at the Wellesley College Science Center for a symposium on the development and maintenance of large-scale landscapes that utilize fewer inputs, are designed and maintained with the environment in mind, and become more sustainable over time. Experts who work daily in successful, sustainable large-scale landscapes will lead four panel discussions. If you are interested in sustainable landscapes for colleges, parks departments, public agencies, cemeteries, golf courses, forests, land trusts, public gardens, or other large landscapes, this event is for you.

Maintaining Large-Scale Landscapes
Landscapes Over Time, Soil Compaction, Invasive Plants, Recycling Organic Matter, and Sourcing Quality Compost

Panelists: Dennis Collins, Mount Auburn Cemetery, John Forti, Strawbery Banke Museum, and Stuart Shillaber, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.  Please note that both Dennis Collins and John Forti are past Garden Club of the Back Bay presenters.

Large Lawns: Ecological Approaches
Mowing Frequency, Inputs, Pests, Disease, and Alternative Energy Mowers

Panelists: Richard Luff, Sagamore Golf, Fred Newcombe, PJC Ecological, and Anthony Ruggiero, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Runoff as Resource: Large Scale Stormwater Solutions
Erosion to Irrigation, Collection Options, Dealing with Large Rain Events, Water Quality, Minimizing Demands of Potable Water

Panelists: Tom Benjamin, LA/Sustainable Designer, Brad Buscher, Groundwork Lawrence, Eden Dutcher, GroundView, and Kate Venturini, University of Rhode Island

Managing Semi-Wild Landscapes

Designating “Semi-Wild” areas, Identifying Invasive Plant Threats, Setting Management Priorities, Tackling What is Feasible (and Leaving the Rest)

Panelists: Tobias Wolf, Wolf Lighthall, Heidi Kost-Gross, G/S Associates, and Sandy Vorce, Mass Audubon

Registrations are limited – Use This Link to Register Online Now

For more information: ela.info@comcast.net



Wreath of the Day – The Birds Had It


Sometimes a beautifully decorated wreath leaves the workshop for delivery and disaster strikes.  In one particular instance this year, the delivery crew was about to hang a wreath on a nail outdoors, at the customer’s request, when a bird flew over and deposited a gift – a large gift – smack dab in the middle of the ribbon.  The ribbon was velvet, and no amount of cleaning would have sufficed.  So back came the wreath for a new bow.  The wreath pictured below was not the one described, but we discovered that this lovely red satin ribbon was unsuitable for outdoor use, since water would stain the fabric, so we used it only in indoor conditions.  No birds will get to this one!


Tuesday, December 17, 7:00 pm – Port Norfolk Civic Association Meeting: Shaffer Paper Park

The Dorchester site of Shaffer Paper will be turned into a park, after years of toxic dumping, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation will transform the fourteen acre industrial site on the mouth of the Neponset River into a park.  Patrick D. Rosso of Boston.com has written an excellent article on the project.  Visit http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/dorchester/2013/12/hold_shaffer_paper_site_in_dorchester_to_be_cleaned_and_turn.html to read his complete report.  If you wish to see the conceptual plans and hear a report by DCR officials, attend the Port Norfolk Civic Association meeting on Tuesday, December 17, beginning at 7 pm at the Port Norfolk Yacht Club, 179 Walnut Street in Dorchester.


Wreath of the Day – Boola Boola


A New York City customer requested a wreath with a Yale theme, to be sent as a gift to friends in Cambridge.  The blue and white fabric ribbon was specially purchased – we have blues, but blue and white was called for – and the wreath was embellished with fresh rosemary (for remembrance), since a good memory is helpful in a collegiate setting.  There are also branches representing branches of knowledge, and pearls, for pearls of wisdom.  We don’t do things by halves.  The wreath was named “Lux et Veritas.”


Saturday, December 21, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Solstice Headlamp Hike

A holiday celebration for hike lovers, this Athol Bird & Nature Club romp will be on the carriage width ski trails at Northfield. Our headlamps will light the way on this longest night of the year as we share solstice facts and quotes from literary lovers of the night. A visit to a mid-mountain campfire and shared cider and snacks will sweeten this night as we turn toward the sun. Participants should bring a headlamp, dress in layers for hiking in winter weather and expect to hike 1 ½ miles with an elevation gain of 300‘. If our trails are open for skiing, snowshoes are required. Free and suitable for ages 11 and older. Pre-registration required by calling 800-859-2960. Meet at the Northfield Mountain Recreation & Environmental Center.


Wreath of the Day – Cherries and Pearls


We had quite a few orders this year for fruit themed wreaths, a number of which will appear on this website in the coming days.  Real fruit is sometimes a problem if the wreath will hang outdoors – there have been instances of flies gathering around dried apples and oranges on a warm winter’s day.  While we often steer away from artificial elements, the fake apple, white balls, and glistening pearls worked beautifully with the ribbon.


Adopt-A-Tree on the Charles River Esplanade

This holiday season create a living memory by adopting a tree in the name of someone special.

The Charles River Esplanade is the home to 1,800 trees. Throughout the year park visitors marvel at their beauty, find shelter beneath their branches, and breathe in the fresh air they help to create. With a wide array of species that range from cherry blossom to weeping willow, each tree is unique and beautiful.

This holiday season give someone a gift as special as they are by adopting a tree in their name. Adopt-A-Tree is a unique and symbolic way to show someone that you care. It connects them to the park and creates a living memory that they can enjoy for years to come.

For $1,000 you can adopt-a-tree on the Esplanade and support the pruning and maintenance that is needed to keep the tree healthy, strong, and beautiful. To acknowledge your gift The Esplanade Association will tag the tree with the name of the person that you are honoring and send them a certificate with information about the tree species, location and history.

Give the gift that keeps on giving. Adopt a tree by visiting our Adopt-A-Tree page, http://www.esplanadeassociation.org/help-the-park/adopt-a-park/adopt-a-tree/, or calling #617-227-0365.  Photo by Daniel Gerard.


Wreath of the Day – Romantic Formality


For the past few days we’ve shown some classic looks, filled with holly and plaid and berries, but we do many wreaths with a more formal or exotic theme as well.  This wreath, suitable for indoors because of the gauzy burgundy bow and dried hydrangeas, showcases a dried protea blossom surrounded by magnolia leaves.  The leaves are attached so their velvety undersides frame the flower.  A bit of silver paint embellishes the lotus pods and sweet gum balls.


Monday, December 16, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – What’s a Craft Beer?

Intrigued by IPA? Curious about Kolsch? Join Urban Grape’s resident beer expert Ben Bouton at the Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington Street, on Monday, December 16 beginning at 6:30 pm, for a class on craft beer basics. Ben will explain the differences between mass and craft production, and divulge the details of several popular beer varieties. The best part? You’ll learn by tasting! BCAE member cost $38, nonmember $45. Register at www.bcae.org, or telephone 617-267-4430.


Wreath of the Day – Childhood Whimsy


A customer asked for a classic Christmas wreath with a bit of childhood whimsy.  The decorator chose a cheerful red, green and white ribbon, added classic holiday elements of pine cones, berries and holly, along with a birch twig, and as a final touch inserted a little Santa.  The toy might not be to everyone’s taste, and can easily be removed without spoiling the overall design of the wreath, but we think it fulfilled the order perfectly.


Saturday, December 14 – Christmas Bird Count

Join this “Citizen Science” project, the longest continuously running bird data in the area, on Saturday, December 14. Contact Dave Small for additional information and to participate in this nationwide annual event: 978-413-1772 or dave@dhsmall.net. Note: team leaders and participants will meet again this year at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main Street, Athol.  We will gather between 6:00 and 7:00 am and plan to hit the field by 7:00 am. We’ll have coffee available and potluck breakfast treats to share would be great to bring. Please let Dave know if you have a good dish you can provide.  Image of evening grosbeak from www.birds.audubon.org.


Eliot Memorial Restoration Project Update

Over the past two years, The Garden Club of the Back Bay has contributed $7,500 to The Esplanade Association in connection with its Eliot Memorial Restoration project.  TEA’s contractor Sequoia has been hard at work at the site and has made great progress. The granite pavers and curbing, and the new pavement, have been fully installed and look fantastic.  The soil remediation, irrigation and electrical work also have been completed, and the plant material has arrived – planting has begun. There will be many new and exciting additions in the next few months: restoration of the historic overlook fence, preparation of the lawn areas, installation of the new benches, and completed demolition of 3 feet of asphalt on the main pathway to reclaim green space.  If you are interested in contributing to the project, contact Jessica Pederson, Director of Operations, at jpederson@esplanadeassociation.org.

Eliot Memorial

Wreath of the Day – A Trip to Provence


One of our accomplished decorators is of French heritage, and received a request for a wreath with a Provence theme.  This same customer, last season, asked for a Downton Abbey wreath, so we know she gives a lot of thought to her holiday design motif each year.  The wreath features dried sunflowers and lavender, along with a fruit print ribbon.  Club members felt the sun was shining just looking at the finished product.


Thursday, December 19, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Armenian Heritage Park Labyrinth Walk

Walk the Labyrinth at Armenian Heritage Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway with the Labyrinth Guild of New England on Thursday, December 19, beginning at 12:30 pm.  The Labyrinth Guild of New England was formed in 1999 to help create a community of labyrinth walkers, explore a deeper sense of the Spirit and wisdom that the labyrinth reveals, witness the manifestations of the labyrinth in each other, support each other in the creativity that the labyrinth awakens, learn from each other, teach each other, and celebrate all the labyrinths in homes, and houses of worship, schools, hospitals and community centers all over New England!  The Armenian Heritage Park is located on Atlantic Avenue and Cross Street.  Free.  For more information visit www.rosekennedygreenway.org.


Wreath of the Day – We’re Back!


For the past two years we have featured pictures of holiday wreaths created during Wreath Week  by The Garden Club of the Back Bay’s members, and this year we continue the tradition.  A different wreath will be described from now through New Year’s Day.  Wreath of the Day has become a very popular web site feature, and our readership increases during December – we believe the pictures are responsible for the uptick. We begin with a classic – “Plaid Bow, Outdoor Wreath, Designer’s Choice Accents.”  What makes this an outdoor wreath?  The use of holly, which would dry up pretty quickly if hung indoors.  The addition of sprigs of umbrella pine add more texture, and the baby’s breath lightens the entire look.



Wednesday, December 11, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Garden in the Woods Master Plan

Mark Richardson, Director of Horticulture, New England Wild Flower Society, will speak at Garden in the Woods in Framingham on Wednesday, March 11, from 7 – 9, in a program sponsored by the Ecological Landscaping Association, the New England Wild Flower Society, and the Boston Architectural College.  New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods is a 45-acre botanical garden.  With over 1,000 native plant species on display and 150 rare and endangered species, the Garden is a valuable resource promoting conservation of native New England plants.  The various gardens and habitats serve as the Society’s laboratory for horticulture, gardening, conservation and education, and has long been a model of naturalistic garden design.

Now, the Garden in the Woods must grapple with a future of uncertainty in the face of climate change.  Get a behind-the-scenes look at the master plan recently completed by Andropogon Associates to envision the future and advance the sustainable operations of this botanical gem.  Registrations are limited.  For more information email ela.info@comcast.net, or call 617-436-5838.  $26 members of sponsoring organizations, $32 general public.


Wednesday, December 11, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Winter Wonderland Fairy Garden Holiday Workshop

Weston Nurseries’ fairies are getting in the holiday spirit this year! They have snowmen, sleighs, holiday mailboxes and more that will turn your fairy garden into a winter wonderland. Don’t forget to check out the ‘Fairy Tree’ in the Garden Center Holiday Shop for even more inspiration. The store, located at 93 East Main Street in Hopkinton, will stay open until 8:00pm that night so plan to end the evening with private shopping.

Cost: $10 Workshop fee includes registration, soil and moss. Additional items such as the planter, plants, fairies, fairy houses and stepping stones are priced a la carte. Space is limited. Please call 508-293-8091 to reserve your spot.


Saturday, December 14, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon – Tropical Terrarium Workshop

Art Scarpa is a busy man. As part of its Festival of Trees Celebration Mass Hort is offering this hands-on workshop to create a glass tropical terrarium with lid to give as a gift or to keep for your own home.

You will be making a 2-gal. round glass terrarium with lid. Included in fee are up to five miniature tropical plants, soil mix, charcoal, pea stone top dressing and decorative stones for landscaping. All necessary tools are provided. The terrarium will be suitable for an east or north window exposure with bright natural light- no direct sunshine needed – or you may choose to grow under fluorescent lights.

Art Scarpa is known for his expertise in growing succulents and for his love for unusual plants, is certified as a judge by the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and has competed and judged at numerous major shows, including Boston, Newport and Philadelphia and many regional cactus and succulent shows. Art is also a 2013 Mass Hort Gold Medal recipient.

All materials will be provided. Space is limited to 20 participants.  Cost: $45 for Mass Hort Members; $55 for non-members. Register online at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e8d31iohc35843b1&oseq=&c=&ch=


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