Wreath of the Day – Lime Green

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Most of our ribbons are red, plaid, and gold, although we carry silver, blue, copper, and patterns as well.  Over the past few years we have received more requests for green, and this example shows what can be done with it.  We used to believe green “didn’t show up well” but clearly that is not the case here.

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Saturday, January 11, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon – Small-Space Garden Solutions

When space and time are limited, you need the best performing plants for your patio, beds and borders. Berkshire Botanical Garden will hold a class with Barbara Pierson on Saturday, January 11, from 10 – 12, entitled Small-Space Garden Solutions, particularly applicable to those of us who garden in the City. Barb will highlight new varieties of edibles and annuals for containers, as well as some of the must-have, easy-care classics. “Compact” is the buzzword in breeding today for perennials and shrubs. She will highlight the top picks for performance and hardiness.

Barbara Pierson is the nursery manager for the prestigious White Flower Farm Nursery in Litchfield, CT. She holds a degree in horticulture from Cornell University and has worked at WFF since 1998. Barbara is a popular speaker at horticultural conferences and has appeared as a guest on TV and radio. She is quoted widely in the print media and was the lead horticultural resource for a 2010 New York Times garden series.  BBG member price $25, non member $30.  Register online at www.berkshirebotanical.org or call 413-298-3926, x 15.

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Tuesday, January 7, 9:00 am – 11:00 am – Irrigation Tips for Landscape Designers

The Ecological Landscaping Association and the New England Wild Flower Society will co-sponsor Irrigation Tips for Landscape Designers on Tuesday, January 7, from 9 – 11 (snow date Wednesday January 8), a panel discussion lead by Theresa Sprague and Trevor Smith, at Garden in the Woods in Framingham.  $20 for ELA and NEWFS members, $25 for nonmembers.

The goal of most irrigation systems is to produce healthy landscapes while conserving water.  For landscape designers to achieve this goal, irrigation systems need to be well designed.  This panel discussion will held you understand the basics of irrigation systems in order to improve communication with irrigation contractors.  For more information email ela.info@comcast.net, or call 617-436-5838.  Theresa Sprague is the owner of BlueFlax Design in Mattapoisett, where she focuses on merging science with the fine art of landscape design.  She holds a Masters Degree from the Conway School of Landscape Design and is currently ELA’s Vice President.  Trevor Smith is owner of Land Escapes, a full service ecological landscaping company in the Boston area. He is currently ELA’s President.

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Tuesdays, February 4 – March 18, 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm – Residential Landscape Design

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In this multi-session New England Wild Flower Society and Cambridge Center for Adult Education course appropriate for beginners, learn different aspects of the landscape design process, with special emphasis on the use of native plants in the residential landscape. Workshop sessions focus on design methods involving site analysis techniques and schematic design tools. Consulting with the instructor, work on a project of your own choosing. Interspersed with design work are lectures on plants and habitats, including information on plant choice and placement in the landscape. A list of required materials will be discussed at the first class. Classes begin on February 4, from 5:45 – 7:45, and are taught by Karen Sebastian, principal, Karen Sebastian LLC Landscape Architecture. Classes will take place at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education on Brattle Street in Cambridge, and the fee is $209 for members of the sponsoring organization(s), or $245 for nonmembers. You may register at www.newfs.org/learn/catalog/hor4002.  Image of one of Ms. Sebastian’s landscapes from www.bostondesignguide.com.

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Wreath of the Day – Mother Daughter Teamwork

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One of our younger decorators brought her mother, newly relocated to Boston, with her this year, and we all had such fun welcoming her to the neighborhood.  The twosome are an awesome pair, producing fabulous designs such as the wreath pictured below, one of a matched pair for King’s Chapel Parish House.  The request was for a blue bow with copper accents, and if you walk past the doors on Beacon Street in Beacon Hill you can observe these close up.  Wreath Week is a priceless opportunity to meet neighbors – we encourage participation from anyone willing to lend a hand.

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Wednesday, January 8, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – A Husband’s Point of View of Gardening

The Tewksbury Garden Club will present A Husband’s Point of View of Gardening with Neal Sanders on Wednesday, January 8, from 7 – 8, at the Tewksbury Senior Center, 175 Chandler Street in Tewksbury.  Neal is an author and garden lover, and his humorous horticulture lecture is free and open to the public, but please bring a canned food donation for the Food Pantry.  In Mr. Sanders’ words:

“Eight years ago, I helped sell the company that had been my long-time employer. When the sale was done, I had two ‘sensible’ offers that would have kept me in the corporate world. To make a long story short, neither option appealed.

There was something else I wanted to do, something that had been on my mind for a couple of decades: I wanted to see if I could write fiction. Not the Great American Novel. Not poetry. Not some thinly disguised autobiographical cathartic work. I wanted to see if I could tell a rousing good story using believable characters people would root for. I wanted to write stories with satisfying conclusions that sprinkled enough clues about the outcome throughout the story to make a reader say, ‘why didn’t I see that coming?’ Oh, and I wanted to write stuff that people would actually go out and buy. In short, I wanted to write mysteries, suspense, and thrillers.

Since then, I’ve published seven books: Murder Imperfect, The Accidental Spy , Deal Killer, The Garden Club Gang, A Murder in the Garden Club, and Murder for a Worthy Cause. All are available in both print and Kindle editions at Amazon.com and in book stores . My latest, Deadly Deeds, has just been published.”

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Wreath of the Day – Legacies

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Another new designer, the daughter of one of our Past Presidents, came one day to help out, and designed the indoor wreath below.  The customer asked for a cream bow and all natural accents – the very fancy silk brocade bow is offset by feathery miscanthus flowers, lotus pods, milkweed pods, and pearls.  We are happy she subsequently joined the Garden Club!

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Friday, January 10 – Sunday, January 12, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm – Leaves in Pen and Ink

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Following a brief review of the Crowquille pen’s basic techniques, Carol Ann Morley encourages you to bring classic sophistication and grace to your pen and ink illustrations. Move beyond beginning stipple to create texture and tone with hatch and cross hatch.  Through the study of selected pieces by master illustrators and the practice of recreating sections of those works, find the confidence to effectively apply these techniques to your own pen work.  Some drawing and dip pen skill advised (but it’s also a great way to polish up your dip pen skills!)  This Wellesley College Botanic Garden class takes place Friday, January 10 – Sunday, January 12 (snow date Monday January 13) from 9:30 – 3:30.  Wellesley Friends $250, nonmembers $300.  For complete information, call 781-283-3094, or email wcbgfriends@wellesley.edu.

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Wreath of the Day – New Talent

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Each year we discover the hidden talents of new members who haven’t decorated before, and they quickly become stars.  In the next few posts we will feature their sensational work.  The classic wreath below, replete with red berries, pine cones, and plaid ribbon, with just a hint of gold sparkle, was created by a member who could only come by after work, and in a few short hours each day created some of the most outstanding wreaths we sent out this year.  We are shy about naming names, only because we are unable, for the most part, to honor special decorator requests each year, but if you Friend us on Facebook you may discover more.

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Saturday, February 22 – Wednesday, March 5 – Wild Tanzania: An Eco-Friendly Safari

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Still looking for a last minute Christmas gift? Journey with the Harvard Museum of Natural History into the heart of East Africa and go off the beaten path to learn about the culture, people, and wildlife of Tanzania. Marvel at a vast and unspoiled landscape under the equatorial sun and enjoy comfortable tented camps and small lodges, beautifully situated for their proximity to the seasonal concentrations of wildlife. Begin in Enashiva, a nature refuge in the Loliondo area just east of Serengeti National Park, and a model for community-based tourism. With multiple Masai villages nearby there will be opportunities to visit homes, talk with people, and learn about challenges facing the people today. We will go on game drives — both day and night. Drive to the Serengeti, spending the days amidst untamed wilderness where lion, cheetah, warthog, and millions of hoofed animals roam. Travel to the lush and verdant Ngorongoro Crater, a massive caldera inhabited by rhinoceros, elephant, and black-maned lion. En route, visit Olduvai Gorge, the site of the Leakey family’s remarkable discoveries. We spend the last two nights at Gibbs Farm, a peaceful sanctuary surrounded by breath-taking scenery (pictured below.)  The study leader is Professor Andrew Biewener, and the cost of the trip is $6,975 per person, double occupancy, with a $1,300 single supplement option available.  Call 617-495-2463 for more information, or click on to the Harvard Museum link above.

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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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