Garden History Symposium
Historians, serious gardeners and landscape lovers may enjoy a day long garden history symposium on Saturday, November 13 at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Elm Bank headquarters on Rte 16 in Wellesley. Lecturers will illustrate how Frederick Law Olmsted, Ernest “Chinese” Wilson, and German Prince Puckler influenced modern landscape design on the huge Hunnewell estate in Natick and Wellesley (formerly West Needham), and the 200 acre Elm Bank estate in Dover, now DCR, as well as the Arnold Arboretum and New York City’s Central Park.
Internationally recognized Garden Historian Allyson Hayward will present her new paper on the Hunnewell and Elm Bank estates which abut each other on the Charles River, below the Natick dam. Each received landscape design from the Olmsted firm. The Hunnewell family were major supporters of the Arnold Arboretum and underwrote some of Wilson’s Asian plant hunting trips.
Historian Gerry Wright, in the person of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead will present a biography explaining his creation of the “pastoral” and the “picturesque” schools and his sense of service deeply rooted in his planning of public places.
David Barnett, PhD, President and CEO of Mount Auburn Cemetery, will present “Wilson’s China: A Century On”. Ernest Henry Wilson was Arnold Arboretum’s principal plant collector, introducing over 1,200 plants to America as a result of two remarkable expeditions to China in the first decades of the twentieth century. Barnett’s talk is illustrated with ‘then and now’ views taken by Wilson and English authors Tony Kirkham and Mark Flanagan, of Kew Gardens, who retraced Wilson’s expedition.
After lunch, garden historian Elizabeth Eustis will speak on Romanticism in the Landscape, the subject of a 2010 exhibition that she co-curated for the Morgan Library in New York, Romantic Gardens: Art, Nature and Garden Design. Ms. Eustis documents how Romanticism added a new emphasis on emotional and spiritual response to the landscape, and contributed powerfully to the public parks movement while creating new elements such as artificial ruins, garden cemeteries and wild gardens.
The final speaker of the day will be author Meg Muckenhoupt, who will lead attendees through the verdant world of Boston’s gardens and green spaces, including Olmsted sites. Ms. Muckenhoupt will discuss the role of public spaces throughout Boston’s historic and contemporary landscape and how the philosophy behind public spaces shifted over the years. It will be a fascinating journey through green Boston, past to present.
John Furlong, Landscape Architect and Emeritus Director of The Landscape Institute is the master of ceremonies.
The cost of the full day is $65 for Mass Hort members, which include box lunches catered by Cuisine Chez Vous. The fee for non-members is $75. Registration may be made online (www.MassHort.org) or by calling 617-933-4995. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be held at the Elm Bank estate, 900 Washington St., Wellesley.
Additional information on the program can be found at the Society’s website www.MassHort.org.
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