Wednesday, February 26, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Celebrating Toni Pollak

The Friends of the Public Garden is joining with Boston Park Advocates to celebrate retiring Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak on February 26, from 5 – 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.  Admission is $10, and space is limited.  Please rsvp by February 20 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thank-you-to-toni-pollak-tickets-6825494237.

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Wednesday, February 26, 6:00 pm – Building Earth-Like Planets: From Gas and Dust to Ocean Worlds

How do planets form, and what makes them habitable? Where might life be found beyond our solar system? Linda Elkins-Tanton, Director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution and an expert in planet formation and evolution, will discuss how the violent impacts that are the “final act” of a planet’s creation may not always wipe out water and carbon from the early-growth period. Enough of these all-important elements may have existed to make many rocky planets and exoplanets habitable, increasing the likelihood that life might exist elsewhere among the Milky Way’s 17 billion Earth-sized planets. The Harvard Museum of Natural History lecture will take place Wednesday, February 26, beginning at 6 pm.  Free and open to the public. Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street. Free event parking in the 52 Oxford Street Garage. Image from www.sciencedaily.com.  For more information visit www.hmnh.harvard.edu.

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Wednesday, February 26, 7:30 pm – A Night on the Frog Pond

The Young Friends of the Public Garden presents the second annual Young Friends on Ice: A Night on the Frog Pond, on Wednesday, February 26 beginning at 7:30 pm.  The $35 ticket includes skate rental.  Space is limited so get your tickets soon.  To buy tickets: http://friendsofthepublicgarden.org/about-the-friends/young-friends/events/

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Friday, March 28 – Sunday, March 30 – Doin’ the Charleston : Azalea Style

Friday, March 28 – Sunday, March 30, 2014 are the dates of our next Azalea Society of America convention, Doin’ the Charleston – Azalea Style, in Charleston, South Carolina, hosted by the Reverend John Drayton Chapter of the ASA. The convention hotel is the Charleston Marriott Hotel, 170 Lockwood Blvd, Charleston SC 29403, where they have a special $179 rate until March 6 – mention Azalea Society of America when you call for reservations at 1-800-968-3569.

Spend time under stately live oaks hung with Spanish moss, visit the intimate gardens of the old homes and the historic plantations. Gaze at the plethora of azaleas as the Low country seduces you. During your time in Charleston, you’ll visit Magnolia Plantation & Gardens (pictured below), Middleton Place, Cypress Gardens, historic downtown Charleston and see many beautiful displays of azaleas.

Lecturers include Tom Johnson, Director of Magnolia Plantation; Ernest Koone from Lazy K Nursery in Pine Mountain,GA, and famed for its native azaleas; Mary Roper, Garden Director at Asticou Azalea Garden in Maine, and Robert “Buddy” Lee, inventor of the Encore Azalea. Registration fee is $85, which includes the opening reception with two drink tickets, breakfast on Friday and Saturday, a great bag of gifts, and the Friday evening meeting. The registration form may be found at http://www.nationalazaleaconvention2014.org/Registration.html.

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Wednesday, March 5, 10:00 am – Fascinating Fungi of New England

Let Lawrence Millman escort you on a journey into the amazing natural history of over 150 Northeastern fungi species on Wednesday, March 5, beginning at 10 am at The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Learn how to make spore prints, discover which species are edible and which are poisonous, and find out which mushroom the Vikings ate before their raids. His book Fascinating Fungi of New England will be available for purchase and signing.

This Garden Club of the Back Bay meeting is free for GCBB members, and a $5 contribution is suggested for nonmembers. An optional lunch at a separate cost will follow the meeting. Guess what we’re having for lunch? Members will receive written notice of the event, and nonmembers may email info@gardenclubbackbay.org for more information.

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Monday, February 24, 7:00 pm – Water Wars in Massachusetts: Reforming Water Management in a Blue State

Julie Blatt, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, will speak at the Newton Free Library’s Druker Auditorium, Homer Street in Newton, on Monday, February 24 beginning at 7 pm as part of Newton’s Greening Our Community Series.  The event is co-sponsored by Green Decade/Newton and the Newton Free Library.

Though Massachusetts receives 44” of precipitation a year, about a fifth of the state’s streams suffer from unnaturally low flows during dry summers, a condition that could worsen with climate change. To curb the overuse of water and leave enough in streams to keep them healthy, the Patrick Administration introduced the Sustainable Water Management Initiative in 2010 to reform the allocation of water. Since, 2009, Julia Blatt has served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, a statewide group that works to improve river protection across the Commonwealth. She will speak about the changes afoot in the way the state doles out the right to use water, and the challenges in getting to “yes” on this contentious issue.

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Monday, February 24 and Wednesday, February 26, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, and Saturday, March 1, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm – Bones of the Garden: Strengthening the Design

All memorable landscapes have one thing in common – strong “bones.” The placement of trees and shrubs creates form, directs movement, and organizes the garden. Learn to situate and integrate these stately elements into the cultivated landscape. Explore the concepts of scale, the creation of space, and the impact of change over time. Cheryl Salatino, Landscape Designer, Dancing Shadows Garden Design, will teach this three part New England Wild Flower Society course on Monday, February 24 and Wednesday, February 26 from 6:30 – 9, and Saturday, March 1 from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. You will experience first-hand how these concepts can change your approach. Using these concepts, develop your own site-specific design and receive feedback on designs and plant combinations. During the final session, inspect the “bones” of Garden in the Woods with a late winter walk. Image from www2.fiskars.com.

The classes take place at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, and the fee is $132 for NEWFS members, $160 for nonmembers. Register on line at www.newfs.org/learn/catalog/hor4223. 

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Thursday, February 20, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Planning a Cook’s Kitchen Garden

Do you love to cook? Wouldn’t you like to step out your door and pick the ingredients for your evening meal? Gardeners know that home-grown food tastes the best. Learn how to select the best tasting varieties for your kitchen garden and make a plan for successful harvests from spring to fall. Learn simple preservation techniques and strategies for eating from the garden all year long. On Thursday, February 20, from 7 – 8:30, vegetable grower Tim Wilcox will discuss growing techniques and how to make the most of limited space, at the gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley.

Tim Wilcox owns The Kitchen Garden farm in Sunderland, MA where he grows specialty vegetables for farmers markets, restaurant chefs and grocery stores throughout the Pioneer Valley. Tim started the farm in 2006 with his wife Caroline Pam and together they have grown from a 1-acre garden to a full-blown farm of 25 acres. His favorite crops are garlic, herbs, chili peppers and tomatoes, which inspire him to create amazing homegrown meals from cuisines as diverse as Italian and Thai.

Lecture Fee $15 for Mass Hort members; $20 non-members.  Register at www.masshort.org, or call 617-933-4973.

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Thursday, February 20 – Sunday, February 23 – The Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show

The Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show will be held Thursday, February 20 – Sunday, February 23 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  Hours are 10 am – 8 pm Thursday through Saturday, and 10 am – 6 pm on Sunday. The show combines America’s passion for gardening with its love affair for classic cars. Vintage autos, which stir memories, will be the centerpieces for the unique gardens, which will be created by some of the most talented landscapers of the Northeast. Examples may be a 1950s period garden featuring a classic Belaire or an Italian piazza featuring a classic Ferrari. The 2014 Flower Show will be like no other show in the country.  For complete details visit www.flowershow.com.

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Saturday, February 22, 2:00 pm – Wild Animal Neighbors

In cities and suburbs around the world, wild creatures such as coyotes, alligators, and mountain lions are showing up where least expected. How can they survive in the contemporary world of concrete, steel, and glass? Ann Downer discusses the factors that bring these creatures to our backyards and ways to create spaces for people and animals to live side by side, in a talk and book signing at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, on Saturday, February 22 at 2 pm. Regular museum admission rates apply. Visit www.hmnh.harvard.edu for more information.

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Thursday, February 20, 6:00 pm – English Heraldry

Again, another announcement not strictly horticultural, but which may appeal to our readers.  On Thursday, February 20, the British Society will hold another evening of “Britishness” with a talk on English Heraldry with John Shannon, President of The College of Arms Foundation (see its coat of arms below).  Mr. Shannon’s presentation will cover the evolution of English heraldry, the history of The College of Arms and the origins of several of the current Royal Arms including those of Elizabeth II – The Queen, Prince Philip – Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles – Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay and Prince William – Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus.

During the optional dinner, Mr. Shannon will discuss how Americans may apply to The College of Arms for proving a right to arms or for the granting of honorary arms.The talk will take place at The Chilton Club, 152 Commonwealth Avenue, by courtesy of Hope Baker.  Cocktail reception will begin at 6 with the presentation at 6:30.  An optional dinner with the speaker will begin at 7:45.  Reception and presentation – $50.  Reception, presentation and optional dinner – $150.  If you wish to be seated at the speaker’s table, the cost will rise to $200.  RSVP no later than February 17.  To reserve, click here and follow the directions.

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Friday, February 14, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Valentine’s Day Campy Terrariums

Because terrariums don’t have as many rules as you think they do. Because Valentine’s Day is kind of dumb. This niche urban garden supply class is intended for people who have an basic knowledge of building a terrarium (or not) and want to put together a something with a little more personality. Class includes everything. Even glitter. Couples, singles, everyone is welcome. The Friday, February 14 class time has been bumped up to 6 – 8 pm to accommodate romantic dinners, but if you need to arrive later, just let us know. $75 registration fee. Visit www.nicheboston.com or call 857-753-4294. Picture from www.oddyssea.com.

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Thursday, February 20, 7:00 pm – Pollinator Gardens: The Beautiful Buzz

Come to the Miller’s River Environmental Center on Thursday, February 20, for a special meeting when Christine Beckert Long, North Quabbin Garden Club president and graduate of the New Wild Flower Society’s Native Plants Studies program, will show us how our garden choices, both of plants and practices, can significantly encourage pollinators to get to work and make our gardens bloom and produce beautifully. This is a joint meeting of Athol Bird and Nature Club with the North Quabbin Garden Club. Free and open to all 7:00 PM at MREC 100 Main Street,  Athol.

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Sunday, February 16, 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm – History of Camellias in Boston

New Englanders have been growing decorative plants for centuries. Many large estates in the Boston area featured glass greenhouses and significant collections of camellia trees. Discover the rich history of camellia cultivation from the late 1700s through the 1900s at this illustrated lecture by Lyman Estate Greenhouse Manager Lynn Ackerman on Sunday, February 16, at 1:30 pm.  After the lecture, visit the 1804 Lyman Estate Greenhouses, enjoy our large camellia collection in bloom, and shop with advice from staff experts.  $5. Registration is required. Call 617-994-5959 or email programinfo@historicnewengland.org. Image from www.southernweddings.com.

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Thursday, February 20, 7:30 pm – Unusual Bulbs

The Wollaston Garden Club presents a lecture with Russell Stafford on Unusual Bulbs at the Wollaston Congregational Church Social Hall, 48 Winthrop Avenue in Wollaston (Quincy), on Thursday, February 20 at 7:30 pm.  The public is invited.  As a trained and experienced ecologist, horticulturist, botanist, and plant enthusiast, with a deep understanding of plant ecology and an expansive knowledge of plant material (and a boffo collection of plants), Russell delights in working with homeowners to create gardens that harmoniously express the unique particulars of their place. He also enjoys collaborating with landscape architects and designers as a plant material consultant. For more information contact Kathleen Ceurvels at ceurvels@comcast.net.

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Wednesday, February 19, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Invasive Plants: What Follows Success Webinar

Many projects designed to control and eliminate invasive species meet with success only to find that an unintended consequence of success results in new infestations and unexpected problems. Invasive Plants: What Follows Success reviews the concepts and strategies that are used to deal with the successful removal of invasive species and the prevention of the establishment and spread of new species that arise when necessary actions that follow success are not taken into consideration prior to control efforts.  This free webinar, on Wednesday, February 19 from 7 – 8, is sponsored by the Ecological Landscaping Association, and you may register on line at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/944497270.

About the Presenter:
John Peter Thompson is a contractor and consultant working with USDA ARS, APHIS, Forest Service and the National Park Service, as well as the Africa Trade Office of Maryland (Parker & Associates), and Invasive Plant Control, Inc..
Mr. Thompson is a nationally recognized speaker on horticulture, invasives, bioeconomics and history. he was born in California but has lived in Maryland for the last 52 years. He owned and operated a small business for ten years before returning to the family nursery and garden center business in 1988 starting as a warehouse janitor and finishing as CEO and Chairman of the Board in 2008. During this time, while managing the perennial production and sales department, he was awarded the Perennial Plant Association Retailer of the Year award in 2000.
Mr. Thompson has been reappointed to the National Invasive Species Council Advisory Committee (NISC ISAC) having previously served as Vice Chair and Secretary. He is the Maryland Nursery & Landscape Association liaison to the Maryland Invasive Species Council and expert subject matter member of the State of Maryland’s Invasive Plant Council. He also is an active user of social media ‘Tweeting” daily @InvasiveNotes with over 6925 followers as well as a writer of essays about social, scientific and philosophic issues on his blog, Invasive Notes (www.ipetrus.blogspot.com). John Peter works as a volunteer advocate to politicians and policy makers as President of the National Agricultural Research Alliance.

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Thursday, February 13, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Frances Crane Wildlife Habitat Walk

Join Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Ecologists and Foresters from 2:00 P.M. – 3:30 P.M. on Thursday, February 13 to walk the Pheasant Area of Frances Crane WMA in Falmouth and learn about habitat improvement plans. DFW has been working to improve habitat conditions for rare and endangered grassland birds on the northern section of Crane Wildlife Management Area. The next phase involves converting second growth forest on abandoned agricultural lands by clearing invading pine and oak trees and planting native warm-season grasses. Please dress warmly for the weather and wear sturdy boots. An inclement weather date is set for February 14. Contact John Scanlon at (508) 389-6324 for more information or to check on the inclement weather plan.

Directions and meeting location: From Boston area, take Route 3 to the Cape Cod Canal. At the Canal, go partly through the traffic circle to Route 6 (Scenic Hwy) west. From Route 6, follow the signs to Route 28 south, and the Bourne Bridge. Go over the bridge and continue going south on Route 28 to Route 151. Go east on Route 151. After approximately 2 miles there will be a sign for the Nickelodeon Theater on the left (north). Immediately after the theater, there will a sign for the Frances Crane WMA. Take a left (north) onto the unpaved road at the sign and follow approximately ¼ mile to the end. This is the primary parking area for Frances Crane WMA north.

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Thursday, February 13, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Garry Kessler Opening

You are cordially invited to An Exhibition of Photography and Art Tiles by Garry Kessler at The Art and Frame Emporium, 18 Lyman St., Westborough on Thursday, February 13 from 6 PM to 8 PM. The exhibition will run through Saturday, March 1. Garry is a local nature enthusiast and photographer. He will be exhibiting a collection of photographs and art tiles. The tiles are made from mosaic patterns that the artist created from butterfly pictures he has taken (and for you birders, one from a bird photo).

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From the Archives: Recipes of the Back Bay

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The Garden Club of the Back Bay published a cook book in the 1970’s, with recipes contributed by members.  Betty Matz was then Club President, and all recipes were tested in her kitchen.  Many of the recipes now betray their era – English muffin canapes, mushroom soup based casseroles, and dried processed flavoring mixes in the ingredient list.  Many, however, are still delicious and classic, such as the orange dessert below contributed by former member Arlene Mannos:

Ingredients: 8 large seedless oranges, 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier, 1 tablespoon grenadine syrup, 8 candied violets

Peel oranges, remove pith from peel, and sliver peel into fine threads.  Place in saucepan with water, sugar and cream of tartar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until thick and syrupy – about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in liqueur and grenadine.  Chill.

Remove any remaining pith from oranges (left whole), refrigerate for at least two hours, then arrange in a pyramid in a serving dish.  Spoon chilled syrup over oranges, placing shredded peel carefully over each orange, and garnish with candied violets.  Serves 8.

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Sunday, February 9, 10:00 am – Roses, Roses, Roses! Extend the Life of Your Rose Bouquet

Do you love getting a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day but hate throwing them away? Join Dorothy Adams, Customer Care Supervisor at Weston Nurseries, as she demonstrates three ways to extend the life of your rose bouquet. Learn how to make Rose Potpourri, Rose and Lavender Sachets and Rose Bath Salts…all to delight any Valentine! Weston Nurseries is located at 93 East Main Street in Hopkinton, and the seminar is free.

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