Thursday, October 19, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Landscape Options: Focusing on Great Underused Plants

So many plants – so little space… The options are endless and though some plants have very desirable traits and applications yet, they are rarely used.

In a live webinar with the Ecological Landscape Alliance on Thursday, October 19 at 7 pm, Darryl Newman from Planters Choice will discuss native cultivars and non-invasive exotic plants that can be used to meet challenging conditions when designing a more formal landscape. He will focus on plants that have great potential but are underused and could, consequently, be phased out of production by suppliers. Picture of spicebush is pictured below. Mr. Newman will also provide tips on installation, establishment and maintenance for these plants.

Darryl Newman is a principal at Planters’ Choice Nursery, a grower and wholesaler of nursery stock and related goods in Newtown and Watertown, Connecticut. Mr. Newman worked for two prominent Landscape Design/Build firms in the Washington, DC Metro area prior to returning to Connecticut and his roots. He is also the Vice President of the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association. He holds a degree in Landscape Management from the University of Maryland. Free for ELA members, $10 for nonmembers. Register at

Saturday, October 21, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm – Building a Dry Stone Wall

Join stone mason artist Mark Mendel at Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge on Saturday, October 21 from 9 – 3 for a hands-on program covering the basics of dry stone wall building, including planning, layout, and demonstrations on cutting and fitting. The morning will consist of a lecture, a walk through the garden to view a variety of stone walls, and site preparation. BBG Members: $75; Nonmembers: $85, Register online at, or call 413-298-3926.

Tuesday, November 14, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm – The Evolving Role of Urban Landscapes

Increasing urban growth continues to raise concerns about biodiversity, ecosystem function, and ultimately, sustainability. Ecological designers are making some progress in developing semi-wild areas, landscape connectivity, and resilience. A variety of initiatives are creating green space in urban areas including canopy tree projects, preserving natural areas, encouraging rooftop planting, designing new green spaces, and promoting wild, successional vegetation taking root in unused lots. These green spaces, especially large tree projects and meadows, can cover large urban areas.

Join The Ecological Landscape Alliance on Tuesday, November 14 at Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware for a day to reflect on urban landscapes with author James Hitchmough from the University of Sheffield. Hitchmough will share insights from three decades of research including his work on planting design and horticultural consulting on the Olympic Park Gardens in London. Since the mid 1980’s Hitchmough’s main research interests have centered on the ecology, design, and management of herbaceous vegetation. While he has a strong interest in native, semi-natural herbaceous vegetation, increasingly he has re-interpreted ecologically based herbaceous vegetation in the cultural context of the public greenspace of towns and cities. This has resulted in a large volume of research on the creation of various native and non-native meadow, steppe and prairie vegetation from sowing seed in situ. This vegetation is designed to be much more sustainable than the traditional herbaceous plantings, however the main goal of the work is to produce ecologically informed herbaceous plant communities that are highly attractive to the public.

And a local expert, Amy Highland from Mt. Cuba, will share a preview of their new tool to assess risks and benefits of native plant selection for landscape design projects.

Creating Perennial Herbaceous Plant Meadows by Sowing Seed In Situ

Sowing is potentially an attractive approach to establishing herbaceous meadows and similar vegetation in landscapes at relatively low cost, and has been the focus of much practice in restoration ecology, often in semi-rural locations. This approach is more problematic in urban places where people expect more instant results, and more control over species composition and performance than many conventional restoration ecology approaches can deliver. This presentation focuses on the creation of sown vegetation in these more cultural landscape settings and the techniques that we have developed to minimize the risk of failure in contractual situations, and to maximize the visual drama and long term sustainability of the resulting “meadows”.

When does local matter? A new tool to assess risks and benefits when selecting native plant materials

Loss of habitat and decline in many species (such as pollinators) has led to a growing interest in planting native plants and native plant restoration. Botanic gardens, local governments, ecological organizations, and even neighborhood gardeners are seeking the best plants for their projects. Selecting from available plant materials is not always easy and there is an ever-growing need for evidence-backed guidelines on sourcing native plant materials. To address this need, we convened a small gathering of experts from around the United States specializing in plant restoration, conservation, ecology, genetics, germplasm selection and environmental decision making. During the 2017 workshop hosted by Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware US, we developed a tool to assess options of plant provenance based on the goals and context of a given project. Plant traits change with their provenance, and determining the best choice in terms of genetic diversity, local adaptation, and ecosystem function is a complicated topic. Strict, hyper-local guidelines for sources of plant materials can lead to severe constraints on restoration practices, while long-distance or genetically selected sources can compromise restoration success. Given what we know about plant availability for small-scale practitioners and local citizens, we aim to guide decision-makers through currently-available selection AND help guide future development/availability of plant materials. Botanic gardens can provide leadership on this complicated topic by synthesizing current ecological theory and supporting the native plant enthusiasm seen in our audiences thus resulting in less confusion and more successful restoration of biodiverse systems.

The Design Of Novel Planted Communities For Specific Roles In Urban Landscape

Urban landscapes require vegetation to be able to look good and also provide specific functions at the same time, for example the provision of resources for native invertebrates or being able to deal with directed stormwater run-off. In some cases there are advantages to be gained in providing these “services” by adopting a more pragmatic approach in which useful attributes from a variety of different plant communities are “borrowed” and then re-assembled. These processes lead to the creation of new, novel communities that may have no direct equivalent in the natural world. This presentation will deal with the underlying philosophical and practical issues in doing this and how such vegetation can be conceived, designed, and managed in the longer term. The presentation will draw heavily on Hitchmough’s research and practice work over the past 15 years.

Early registration: ELA members $119, nonmembers $139. Register online at

Thursday, October 19, 6:00 pm – Wonders of the Microbial World

Scott Chimileski, Microbiologist and Photographer, Kolter Lab, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University Roberto Kolter, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University will lecture on Thursday, October 19, at 6:00pm in the Geologic Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge.

In this lecture, Scott and Roberto will share their fascination with the wonders of the microbial world through vignettes and images from their new book, Life at the Edge of Sight: A Photographic Exploration of the Microbial World. Their presentation will feature a stunning visual exploration of microbes, from the pioneering findings of a seventeenth-century visionary to magnificent close-ups of the inner workings and cooperative communities of Earth’s most prolific—but often invisible—organisms.

Free and open to the public. Copies of their book will be available for purchase and signing.  Free parking is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

Related exhibition: World in a Drop: Photographic Explorations of Microbial Life, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, now through January 7, 2018.

Sunday, October 22, 12:00 noon registration, 1:00 pm parade – The Canine Promenade

The Canine Promenade is a 1/2 mile Halloween costume parade around the Esplanade to benefit the park, highlight the park as a resource for dog owners and to raise awareness about park improvements. In the spirit of the season, The Esplanade Association encourages you to dress up your dogs (and yourself) in costume. Registration at noon, parade at one, at the Fiedler Field on the Charles River Esplanade. The walk is 1/2 mile, and there will be gift bags and dog treats for all registrants, plus demonstrations, family-friendly activities, giveaways, and more. Free for spectators, $15 pre-registration fee per dog, $20 on day of event. Register online HERE. Image courtesy of

Wednesday, October 11, 11:00 am – Ernest Bowditch: Out of Olmsted’s Shadow

The Preservation Society of Newport County will host a lecture on Wednesday, October 11 at 11 am at Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Avenue in Newport. Jim Donahue, Curator of Historic Landscapes & Horticulture for the Society, will speak on Ernest Bowditch: Out of Olmsted’s Shadow. Ernest W. Bowditch (1850-1918) was a key figure in the evolution of the profession of landscape architecture in the late 19th century. Over a 40-year career, Bowditch’s firm designed over 2,500 projects ranging from Gilded Age estate master plans to designs for planned garden suburbs and civil engineering projects. The Breakers landscape plan helped to launch Bowditch, and he returned to redesign the site over the course of his career. Come and learn about Bowditch, his relationship to the Vanderbilts, and the private paradise they created at The Breakers.

Admission is free, but advance registration is required. Register at

Wednesday, October 18, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm – On the Wing Part II

On Wednesday, October 18 at 6:30 pm, the Arnold Arboretum hosts Lorna Gibson, PhD, Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a free lecture (registration required at 617-384-5277, or email

What do you get from a bird-lover who is a materials science engineer? A close look at feathers. In this second installment of On the Wing, Lorna Gibson discusses how down keeps a bird warm, how the structure of the feather shaft reduces its weight, and how adaptations of flight feathers produce or suppress sound.

Monday, October 16, 6:30 pm – Friends of the Public Garden Members Reception

This year’s annual Friends of the Public Garden Members Reception on Monday, October 16 at 6:30 pm at the Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston Street, will feature a speaker program followed by a reception with refreshments. Our speaker will be Jim Canales, President and Trustee of the Barr Foundation.

Jim Canales became President and Trustee of the Barr Foundation in May 2014. He spent two decades at The James Irvine Foundation, including service as president and CEO from 2003–2014. Jim taught high school English in San Francisco after earning degrees in English and education from Stanford University. His range of volunteer engagements includes service as trustee of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and on the Advisory Board for Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative. In 2015–2016, he co-chaired the Leadership Council of Boston’s cultural planning process. Jim previously served as Stanford University trustee; as chair of the College Futures Foundation, KQED, Stanford Alumni Association, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations; and as vice chair of Monterey Bay Aquarium. Jim’s writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and other outlets. This reception is complimentary for current Members, and space is limited. You are a current Member if you have made a contribution to the Friends in either 2016 or 2017. Contact Rachel Hangley at the Friends if you’d like to inquire about your Membership status: 617-723-8144 or email:

Please register for the event online by October 9th online at

Friday, October 20, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, and Saturday, October 21, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Invasive Plants: Identification, Documentation, and Control

What’s all the fuss? Botanists, ecologists, horticulturists, and conservation professionals are united in their concern about invasive plants, but there is still some confusion about what they are and what to do about them. In this two part, New England Wild Flower Society class at Garden in the Woods on October 20 and 21, you will study the basic ecological problems created by these aggressive species and the complicated issues involved in controlling them. You will learn to identify many of New England’s invasive species through images, specimens, and a local field visit. Bring a bag lunch and a hand lens; wear waterproof shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Friday session from 6:30 – 8:30, Saturday from 10 – 4, both led by Ted Elliman at Garden in the Woods in Framingham. $124 for NEWFS members, $145 for nonmembers. Register online at

Wednesday, October 18, 7:30 pm – Food and Health: Food as Medicine

In the spirit of inspiring and facilitating conversation in a time where it is crucial that we stay informed about the world around us, the staff of Wright-Locke Farm invites you to their 2017 Speaker Series. Join them monthly in the beautiful 1827 Barn in Winchester for an evening of discovery and discussion. The Speaker Series is free and open to the public. They kindly ask you to RSVP by emailing so they can save you a seat.

Each presentation will begin at 7:30PM and allow for a follow-up Q & A session. On Wednesday, October 18, Founder of Fresh Advantage and lecturer at Yale University’s School of Medicine, Marydale Debor, J.D., will speak about her experience at the intersection of the food system and healthcare and how important it is to keep these two fields closely intertwined.