Wreath of the Day – Winter Solstice/Moonlight Sonata

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Another named wreath, featured today during the Winter Solstice.  The customer asked for a Winter Solstice Theme, and this could have gone in a number of different directions, including Wiccan.  The decorator chose to emphasize silver and white, reminiscent of frost, and a rich texture of greens.  Subtle but bright, the white and silver ribbon has “full moon circles.”

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Friday, May 9 – Saturday, May 17 – Morocco: Gardens, Culture and Cuisine

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Discover the imperial cities of Morocco—Rabat, Meknes, Fes, and Marrakech—and travel back in time with visits to the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, the medina of Fes, and villages in the Atlas Mountains.

Along with the Pacific Horticulture Society, you will experience the fascinating culture of Morocco through its gardens, workshops devoted to Moroccan arts, and visits to private homes. The itinerary also includes a visit to a winery near Fes, and an ethno-botanical adventure in Marrakech. Katherine Greenberg, PHS board member, will escort this tour.

For more information and a detailed itinerary, contact Sterling Tours at 800-976-9497 or visit http://sterlingtoursltd.com/Morocco2014.html.

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Wreath of the Day – Quality Control

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We show many gorgeous wreaths, but they don’t always start out that way.  Our process includes at least three points of quality control evaluation.  Once a decorator finishes a wreath, the assignment desk checks it for accuracy of description (how well were the order instructions followed) and mechanical security (will those pine cones fall off during delivery.)  The wreath next goes to the delivery area, where it is checked again.  Periodically, the aesthetic police view the wreaths in daylight, to make sure they are up to standards.  Yes, we are a charity, earning money for neighborhood street tree projects, but customers are still paying money for a product and we cannot disappoint.  Here are two shots, “Before” and “After,” of a wreath which was sent back for editing.

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Saturday, January 4, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Beekeeping for Gardeners

Learn how to start a honeybee colony, the seasonal management required to keep a healthy hive of bees and the role of pollinators and their relationship to flowering plants. Novice beekeepers, or those who are considering becoming beekeepers, will get an overview of the beekeeper’s job and learn to make the correct choices when starting a backyard apiary. Equipment and tools used by the beekeeper will be discussed, and step-by-step instructions for starting a new colony of bees will be covered. At the end of the workshop, participants should have a solid understanding of how to successfully begin as a new beekeeper. The final hour of the program will be a Q&A session covering questions, issues and problems, with realistic solutions for a successful beekeeping experience.

The program, led by Dan Conlon, will take place at Berkshire Botanical Garden on Saturday, January 4, from 10 – 1, and bees can be ordered from Dan so participants can start a hive in the spring. Cost of the class is $35 for BBG members, $45 for non members, and you may register on line at www.berkshirebotanical.org, or by calling 413-298-3926 x 15.

Dan Conlon owns Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Warm Colors maintains bee yards in western Massachusetts for honey production and pollination services on area farms. Dan is a full-time beekeeper and President of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association. He was recognized as the Eastern Apicultural Society’s 2004 Beekeeper of the Year and the Massachusetts 2005 Beekeeper of the Year.

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Wreath of the Day – Subtle Perfection

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Yesterday’s post was all about drama and color impact.  Today we take a look at a (mostly) natural design with a cream, silver and gold bow and plenty of pine cones and greens, with a few gold pearl and gilded cone touches.  We love it.  Customers shouldn’t shy away from “designer’s choice” as an accent – this doesn’t mean we’ll go wild with glitter and paint, unless you ask.  Sometimes, though, as in this example, a bit of shine enhances the total look.

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Friday, January 10, 5:30 pm – Fourteenth Foray into Fantastic Flora and Flavorsome Feasts

The New England Botanical Club will host a program for members on Friday, January 10 beginning with a potluck dinner at 5:30 with member’s “Show and Tell”.  For more information visit www.rhodora.org.  NEBC meetings are held in Haller Lecture Hall, room 102, found inside the door to the right of the Harvard Museum of Natural History entrance, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge.

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Wreath of the Day – Fruit Loops

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The Vendome Condominium hangs two large fresh wreaths flanking its front door.  The wreaths are mounted high, and are beneath an underhang, so nothing too subtle will be visible.  Our decorator took large scale glittery fruits – apples, pears, and pomegranates – and accented them with gilded elements and a bright green sequined bow.  If you are walking by 160 Commonwealth Avenue, please do take a moment to admire them.

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Sunday, January 26, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Exploring Victory Gardens: How a Nation of Vegetable Growers Helped to Win the War

Our old friend Judith Sumner, PhD, Botanist and Author, will speak at the Hunnewell Building of the Arnold Arboretum on Sunday, January 26 from 2 – 4 on Exploring Victory Gardens: How a Nation of Vegetable Growers Helped to Win the War. During World War II, home front victory gardens flourished nationwide—in former lawns, flower gardens, school yards, public parks, ball fields, and abandoned lots. As part of the war effort, posters encouraged patriotic Americans to “Grow vitamins at your kitchen door” and “Eat what you can, and can what you cannot eat.” In fact, Americans needed to supplement their diets during a time of food rationing and shortages. Nearly 20 million gardeners answered the call, including many who had never wielded a hoe. Explore the role of 1940s vegetable gardens, ration-book cookery, and food preservation in wartime victory.
Fee $15 Arboretum member, $20 nonmember.  Register online at https://my.arboretum.harvard.edu/SelectDate.aspx.

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Wreath of the Day – Classic Simplicity

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Here is an outdoor wreath anyone would be proud to hang.  The sparkly red and gold striped bow is centrally placed at the top, magnolia, white pine and eucalyptus augment the balsam, red and brushed gold balls balance the bow, and a few painted pine cones, lotus pods, and milkweed pods add interest at the bottom.  This wreath was meant to be hung outdoors, but would do equally well inside.

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Friday, January 3 – Sunday, January 5, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm – Leaves in Perspective: Opposite, Alternate, Whorled

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Do all your careful observations fall flat when you sit down to draw leaves?  Heighten your artist’s eye by learning how to analyze shapes and bring correct perspective to your compositions.  Under the guidance of Carol Ann Morley, discover  how to depict with botanical accuracy the tricky angles of foreshortened leaves.  Through a series of graphite drawing exercises, explore creating clarity and visual depth while bringing shape and form into your art.  This Wellesley College Botanic Garden class will be held January 3 – 5 (snow date January 6) from 9:30 – 3:30.  Friends price $250, nonmembers $300.  For complete details and to register email wcbgfriends@wellesley.edu, or call 781-283-3094.

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Wreath of the Day – Floral Fantasy

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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.

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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

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Wreath of the Day – The Birds Had It

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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!

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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.

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Wreath of the Day – Boola Boola

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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.”

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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.

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Wreath of the Day – Cherries and Pearls

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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.

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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.

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Wreath of the Day – Romantic Formality

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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.

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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.

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