MHS Leaflet, November 2021

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 4 4 5 6 8 15 17

Notes from the Director’s Desk Upcoming at MHS Festival of Trees — TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Massachusetts Horticultural Society Board of Trustees Brave New Ecology By Peter Del Tredici 119th Honorary Medals Dinner Appreciation: A Universal Truth By John Lee From the Stacks By Maureen T. O’Brien, Library Manager



t’s officially November, that time of the year when we all start to run in overdrive as we prepare for the upcoming marathon of holiday gatherings and events. We tend to complain about not having enough time, but in the end, we look back at how much fun we had, and can’t wait to do it again the following year. I have to say, our garden visitation season played out much the same this year!

Thinking back to April, we opened the garden earlier than ever before, with the hope of giving people a safe place to meet and the enjoyment of watching the many changes that come with spring in a garden. Visitors were able to experience the waves of color from our 2019 bulb planting project, a sight that was sadly missed in spring of 2020. If you didn’t have a chance to see the Italianate abloom with daffodils, I highly recommend that you mark your calendar for next season. As we rolled right into May more colors popped especially those of a green hue, Ribbit the Exhibit made its debut and brought so much life to the garden. All ages adored their playful poses and interesting facts.

Music in the Garden with Wellesley Symphony Orchestra. June 23, 2021

Music in the Garden, a new-found staple to our garden season, kicked off in June. These evening concerts have welcomed many new faces and we’re thrilled to see all the member support for this new adventure! I can’t mention concerts without thanking everyone for their flexibility through the many rained out reschedules. Even writing about Music in the Garden makes me feel that it may rain tonight! Christmas in July gave us the opportunity to open Snow Village and pretend, if for only a week, that it was the holiday season. Young and old came to see the model railroad display, decorate wooden ornaments, and simply to enjoy the juxtaposition of the event.

As the garden flourished into August, we prepared to say goodbye to Ribbit the Cora in the Native Plant Garden Exhibit. But to our surprise, J.A. Cobb the mastermind behind the exhibit, allowed us to keep the sculptures until the end of September due to their popularity. With so much love for these sculptures we decided that we had to keep two in the garden and thanks to donations from many generous supporters we now have Cora and Freddie as permanent residents.

Ori Gersht, 'Forget Me Not" 2021 from Seeing the Invisible

September created a turning point as flowers began to fade and the signs of fall peaked through, we invited visitors to preview our 2022 exhibit, Seeing the Invisible. Being a part of a one-of-akind augmented reality exhibit has taken us on such an exciting journey, from operating with a team scattered across the world to learning about the technology needed to create such an original experience. I’m so excited to officially launch this exhibit in April!

October was bittersweet as we knew the season was wrapping up; in the end we saw a 71% increase in garden visitation numbers which blew us away! Thank you to all who helped us grow through this 2021 season, results like these only inspire us to create another memorable garden season. It’s safe to say that myself and the rest of the MHS Staff are excited to see what next year’s garden season will entail. Allison Dush Director of Programs & Education


Paste Paper Collage Workshop Saturday, November 6, 10am-5pm

History of Botanical Art Tuesday, January 4, 9:30am12:30pm

Designing the Ornamental Pollinator Meadow Wednesday, January 19 & 26, 10am-2pm





Friday 11/26, Saturdays, and Sundays

Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays in December

November 26-December 19

December 1-December 16


Fridays 10am-8pm Wednesdays & Thursdays 4-8pm




This event would not be possible without the help of many volunteers. As a volunteer, you get a fascinating look at the show behind the scenes, support our fundraiser, meet new people with shared interests, and share in the delight and enjoyment of our visitors. We hope you will join us to welcome our visitors and help us raise vital mission-supporting funds for our gardens and educational programs!

Massachusetts Horticultural Society Board of Trustees Finley H. Perry

Chair of the Board

Gretel Anspach Lynne K. Bower Dan Daly Graham Luce Suzanne B. McCance

Wayne Mezitt Dr. Barbara Millen Susan S. Mooney Kenneth Peters Darrol Roberts George Schnee

Bob H. Smith Carol Spinelli Helen R. Strieder Thaddeus Thompson Carrie Waterman James Hearsum

President & Executive Director

The fiscal year for MHS begins on October 1 each year and ends on September 31. At their meeting on October 18, 2021, Trustees serving on the MHS Board of Directors elected the following slate: Officers Finley Perry, Chair (year two of two-year term); Graham Luce, Vice Chair (year one of two-year term); Graham Luce, Secretary/Clerk (year two of two-year term); Bob Smith, Treasurer (year one of one-year term, Bob will term-limit out as Trustee in 2022) Chairs for the standing committees of the Board Finley Perry (Executive) Bob Smith (Audit & Finance) Dan Daly (Performance & Executive Compensation) Barbara Millen (Governance) Standing Committee Rosters

Executive: Finley Perry, Graham Luce, Bob Smith, Barbara Millen, Dan Daley, Darrol Roberts (includes Standing Committee Chairs plus one ad hoc member)

Audit & Finance: Bob Smith, Finley Perry, Dan Daly, Susan Mooney, Helen Strieder, Penni Jenkins (as Overseer)

Executive Compensation & Evaluation: Dan Daly, Finley Perry, Wayne Mezitt, Susan Mooney, Graham Luce Governance: Barbara Millen, Finley Perry, Graham Luce, Susan Mooney, Suzanne McCance, Thaddeus Thompson, Wayne Mezitt Trustees to be elected to a second three-year term Barbara Millen, Gretel Anspach

Trustees to be elected to an initial three-year term George Schnee, Carol Spinelli


Flash your memberhsip card for a 10% discount with any of our Green Partners.

Annual Fund Please make a contribution to our Annual Fund and help the gardens and our community grow. Thank you!



By Peter Del Tredici


he reality of climate change seems to have finally penetrated the American psyche. People are thinking about how to reduce their carbon footprint as well as how to protect their property from rising sea and river levels. It’s hard to argue with the fact that the past twenty years have been the warmest on record. Many people are now willing to admit—albeit begrudgingly—that the world is changing and that going back to the way things used to be is no longer an option. What holds for humans also holds for plants, the main difference being that the plants are not in denial about the future. Some species, particularly those near the tops of mountains, have gone into decline as the climate has changed, others, particularly those we label as invasive, have been making the most of these changes. They grow better with longer growing seasons, warmer winters and earlier springs and, with the help of birds, have spread rapidly across the landscape.

Like it or not, the plants we consider weeds— including both native and non-native species— know exactly what’s going on and are taking full advantage of it—they are the face of climate adaptation.

Efforts to control such aggressive species—as every gardener knows—requires constant vigilance and endless effort. As hard as it is to get rid of invasive species in one’s own garden, it’s super difficult to control them at the landscape scale where herbicides are the only approach that really works. In natural landscapes that are more or less intact, invasives can be controlled as long as they are not too well established. In landscapes where the soil has been drastically disturbed and the original vegetation has been removed (including most of our cities and suburbs), invasives have gained the upper hand and eradicating them is not a feasible option. It’s sad but true that the

disturbance created by the use of herbicides or mechanical removal typically opens the door for some new invasive species to say nothing of the fact that it often negatively impacts nearby native species. Manipulating the landscape so as to favor one species over another is called gardening, and people who garden know that weeding is an endless task. The same holds true for ecological restorations of natural landscapes—they only work if they are followed up with years of consistent maintenance, which typically doesn’t happen after the initial eradication effort.

The minimally managed wild landscapes that surround our cities and suburbs have been adapting to climate change for decades. The net result is the emergence of so-called “novel ecosystems” that consist of mix of native and non-native species that know how to deal with the reality of warmer air and soil temperatures, more CO2 in the atmosphere, and higher levels of nitrogen in the soil. Like them or not, novel ecosystems are flourishing under these new conditions and contributing valuable ecological services to the organisms—including both humans and animals—that inhabit them. Given that the eradication of invasive species at the landscape scale is not really an option, we need to learn how live with them, by which I mean how to manage them so as to increase their ecological and aesthetic

value. This means removing high-climbing vines, plants like poison ivy that are toxic to humans, and trees that are hazardous to the people who visit these landscapes. The path forward is one of accommodation not eradication.

Top: Toxicodendron radicans Bottom, left to right: Partenocissus quin. (Virginia creeper); Hedge bindweed on chainlink fence First page: Common Chicory in Detroit, MI

Peter Del Tredici is a botanist specializing in the growth and development of trees. He worked at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for 35 years and was also an Associate Professor in the Landscape Architecture Department at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for 24 years. His widely acclaimed book, “Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide” (2nd ed., 2020, Cornell University Press), catalogues the spontaneous vegetation that flourishes in cities and makes the case that it improves the quality of urban life.

119th Honorary Medals Dinner Thursday, November 4, 2021 HONOREES The George Robert White Medal of Honor Robert A. Bartlett, Jr. Silver Medals Sarah B. Cummer Michael S. Dosmann Kathi D. Gariepy Rosalind L. Hunnewell

Gold Medals John A. Cronin William (Ned) Friedman Penni Jenkins Heidi Kost-Gross Katherine K. Macdonald

The Jackson Dawson Memorial Medal Thomas G. Ranney The Thomas Roland Medal awarded jointly Steve Castorani and Mark Sellew


he 119th Honorary Medals Dinner held on November 4th, 2021 continues a 190-year tradition of awarding medals to individuals and organizations for their contributions to excellence in horticulture for the public good. Over 160 guests, including medal winners and their friends, family, and colleagues, the Board of Trustees, and many members of our horticultural community, attended the gala enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the Hunnewell Building tent before moving inside for dinner and the program. Finley H. Perry, Chair of the Trustees, welcomed guests, thanked the sponsors of the event (FL Putnam Investment Management, Gordon's Fine Wines & Liquors, Gourmet Caterers, Murphy Insurance Agency, Kevin J. Macdonald and Carrie Waterman) and then introduced James Hearsum, President and Executive Director. James gave a brief outline of recent accmplishments and future plans for MHS. Following dinner, George Robert White honoree Robert A. Bartlett, Jr. delivered the keynote speech and the remaining awards were presented. Continue reading to learn more about each Medal winner and to see photos from the event.


The George Robert White Medal of Honor is the highest honor given by Massachusetts Horticultural Society. It is given in recognition of eminent service in horticulture in its broadest sense. This award honors Robert A. Bartlett, Jr. for his lifelong engagement supporting horticulture and his generous, continuing contributions to the betterment of the science and practice of horticulture nationwide. Robert A. Bartlett, Jr. – Devoting his entire professional and business career to arboriculture, Mr. Bartlett earned his BBA at the University of Georgia in 1968. Following two years of active duty in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, he joined the family business in 1970. The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company was founded in 1907 and at the time of his joining had tree care operations over most of the eastern United States. Robert became President of the company in 1974 and was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1998. Mr. Bartlett has supported every aspect of professional arboriculture with a generosity that is unmatched, rooted in his firm belief that raising the level of professionalism in the industry benefits everyone—the public, property owners and managers, clients and even competitors. He willingly shares the company’s knowledge, facilities, personnel and assets for the betterment of arboriculture and the people who practice it. He is eager to share the services of the scientists and facilities of the unique Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories. Bartlett scientists, managers and representatives conduct seminars, provide speakers, contribute articles and offer their time and expertise freely.

Mr. Bartlett is keenly aware that young people hold the future of our profession in their hands and that knowledge is the key to advancement of the profession. To that end, the Bartlett Tree Foundation, Inc. provides grants for scholarships at 29 prominent colleges and universities across the United States and intends to extend this activity everywhere the company operates.

In his tenure at the company’s helm, Mr. Bartlett has expanded operations from coast to coast in the United States, to Canada, to the United Kingdom and Ireland. As a result of his work, The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company has become the leader in private tree care in Europe as well as in the States.


Sarah B. Cummer – For the past 18 years, Sarah has volunteered weekly in the Library, sharing her professional knowledge, skills and abilities. She is an archeologist, attorney, librarian, and Master Gardener. Since she started volunteering, Sarah has been cataloging the thousands of books in MHS’s digital cataloging system. This complex job is the foundation of all library service, as cataloguers organize detailed information to make it easily accessible. In one year-long project, Sarah documented and barcoded the rare books and other artifacts that were moved from the “Fortress” in Boston to another secure off-site facility. Her work on this important project ensures that these valuable assets are accounted for and allows us to quickly identify and retrieve items. The Silver Medal is awarded in recognition of her many projects and accomplishments as a volunteer in our Library.

Michael S. Dosmann – As Keeper of the Living Collections at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Dr. Michael Dosmann curates one of Earth’s finest collections of temperate woody plants. He is a plant explorer with keen interests in the horticultural improvement and conservation of woody plants and enjoys sharing plant stories with others through lecturing, writing, and showing people around the Arboretum’s collections.

Michael is an advocate for the work of public gardens and is a Director at Large of the American Public Gardens Association. He received his undergraduate degree in Public Horticulture from Purdue University and has a Masters and Doctorate in Horticulture (with emphases in woody plant physiology and ecology) from Iowa State and Cornell Universities, respectively. The Silver Medal is awarded in recognition of Dr. Dosmann’s innovative and visionary accomplishments in his role as curator at the Arnold Arboretum.

Kathi D. Gariepy – Twenty-six years ago, Kathi began volunteering at the New England Spring Flower Show leading adult tours followed by children’s tours. A nursery school teacher, she took the Master Gardener (MG) course in 2000 and began giving tours at The Gardens at Elm Bank in 2002. Taking charge in Weezie’s Garden she developed the Caterpillar Club for children. She taught Junior Master Gardeners and helped with the Adult MG classes. Kathi has been active with the Plantmobile, teaching 500 programs for children about seeds and flowers. Kathi has represented MHS at the R.I. Flower Show and written articles for Leaflet and children’s educational pamphlets. She continues children’s programming in Weezie’s. The Silver Medal is awarded in recognition of her many years volunteering her varied talents for our Society. Rosalind L. Hunnewell – Ros spent 15 years as a library volunteer, retiring in 2017. She brought a curiosity, a love of history and a determination to learn new facts, especially those that had been overlooked for too long. Ros’ specialty was MHS’s founding fathers. She photographed their framed portraits and facilitated online access.

Ros researched the complete identities of people whose gardens were awarded prizes throughout the 20th century, including the name of the wife or the professional gardener responsible for that garden’s design. Another project was an exhaustive outline of the New England Spring Flower Show including dates and venues from the late 19th to early 21st centuries. The Silver Medal is awarded in in recognition of her many years of critical and diligent historical research and other volunteer service in the MHS library.


John A. Cronin – John Cronin has long been an advocate for our environment. A resident of Milton, MA, he was an elected town Park Commissioner (1961-68) and was appointed Milton Conservation Commissioner serving from 1962-1968, followed by his 34-year career as Milton Town Administrator. During this time, he was Associate Commissioner of the Metropolitan District Commission under Governor Francis Sargent. He

also served 45 years as a board member of the Environmental League of MA.

John Cronin’s relationship with MHS began at an early age when he first attended the annual flower show. He became a member in 1960. Following his retirement in 2002, John enrolled in the Master Gardener program and continued his involvement with MHS as a volunteer, serving on the Development and Honorary Medals Committees and as an Overseer since 2009. The Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of his significant contributions serving in various capacities advising MHS and introducing possibilities for improvements in accomplishing MHS’s mission and objectives.

William (Ned) Friedman – William (Ned) Friedman is the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the eighth Director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in its nearly 150-year history. Friedman’s scholarly studies have fundamentally altered century-old views of the earliest phases of the evolution of flowering plants, He is also deeply interested in the history of early (pre-Darwinian) evolutionary thought and is particularly focused on the largely forgotten contributions of horticulturists and botanists.

As Director of the Arnold Arboretum, Friedman has worked to expand the Arboretum’s societal impact through diverse initiatives in public programming, digital communications (such as his “Posts from the Collections,”) enhanced dialogue between scientists and the public, the promotion of scientific scholarship within the living collections, and a reinvigoration of the longstanding relationship between the Arboretum and the biodiversity of Asia. The Gold Medal is given in particular recognition of Dr. Friedman’s public outreach successes that enhance the public understanding of sciences, horticulture and collections, and for his innovative and beautiful digital output. Penni Jenkins – A long-time believer in volunteering, Penni has donated her time and skills to many organizations, including The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts (where she has served on the board since 2009) and Landscape

Design Council. She has served as treasurer for many organizations, including her church, Beth Shalom Garden Club in Needham, and Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. Penni moved to Massachusetts full-time in 2001 and, after completing the Master Gardener course in 2004, began her incredible service to MHS. Highlights of her efforts include volunteering at the Flower Show beginning in the spring of 2005 and being the Awards Chair for the landscapes in 2007 and 2008. For more than a decade she has been involved with MHS special events including Mass Marketplace, the Gardeners’ Fair, Arts on the Green, Festival of Trees, and the Honorary Medals Dinner. Penni has been an Overseer since 2009 and a member of the MHS Finance Committee since 2011. The Gold Medal is given in recognition of Penni’s longstanding dedication of time, energy, and talents to MHS finances, operational programs, and major events.

Heidi Kost-Gross – One of the first things Heidi’s mother-in-law gave her when she arrived in Wellesley fifty years ago was a membership in Massachusetts Horticultural Society. This gift was the beginning of a long and passionate relationship which led to Heidi’s involvement in MHS garden shows, Board of Trustees and Overseers, and Library.

From Top to Bottom: James Hearsum, President and Executive Director, with Robert A. Bartlett, Jr., George Robert White Medal winner; Robert A. Bartlett, Jr. delivering his keynote; Mark Sellew and Steve Castorani, Thomas Roland Medal winners, and Thomas Ranney, Jackson Dawson Memorial Medal winner

Her dedication to the Library began when she spent numerous hours at Hort Hall working on her Radcliffe Seminar projects for her Certificates in Landscape Design and Landscape History. She is proud of MHS’s history and is eager to preserve its artifacts and make them available to the public. As Chair of the Library Committee, she provided guidance and advice on many projects. She travels to the MHS warehouse in Connecticut to ply through musty files and boxes, creates exhibits and most recently helps to care for our treasured portraits. She receives the Gold Medal in recognition of decades of service to MHS and intense involvement in countless activities that benefit the organization and its members. Katherine K. Macdonald – As President and Executive Director of Massachusetts Horticultural Society from 2011 to October 2018, Kathy prioritized stabilizing the organization’s finances

and making MHS and its gardens more accessible to the public through programming, education, and events.

She emphasized a focus on horticultural excellence, design, and productivity to delight the gardening public, including capital improvements to the Olmsted Brothers’ Italianate Garden including restoring its fountain. The Garden to Table program flourished with dedicated garden volunteers, programs, and the distribution of the garden’s bounty to food pantries. Weezie’s Garden received John Cronin, Gold Medal winner a generous grant to update its magic for children. Visits by Bressingham Garden designer Adrian Bloom enlivened this landscape. Hartley Botanic and Scott Birney teamed up to donate a Victorian Greenhouse. Kathy worked with staff, donors, and volunteers on the Festival of Trees and the addition of Snow Village; hosted other events including summer garden parties and The Highgrove Florilegium; and brought art and sculpture installations to the gardens. This award is given in recognition of Kathy’s skill and success in stabilizing the fundamentals of MHS operations during a critical time in organizational transition, setting new standards for future growth.


The Jackson Dawson Memorial Medal is given in recognition of exceptional skill in the science or practice of hybridization or propagation of ornamental plants. This award honors Thomas G. Ranney in recognition of his research programs, which have developed dozens of new plants bred for specific characteristics to address needs of the nursery and horticulture industry: better blooms, hardiness, resistance to insects and diseases, reduced fertility in invasive species, and better growth.

Table arrangements made by Melissa Pace and Penni Jenkins & menu

Thomas G. Ranney is the JC Raulston Distinguished Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at Mountain Horticultural Crops and Extension Center, NC State University. His research program focuses on the evaluation, selection, and development of new landscape and bioenergy crops. Ros Hunnewell, Silver Medal winner, and family

Robert A. Bartlett, Jr. delivering his keynote speech.

Clockwise: Massachusetts Horticultural Society Board of Trustees; Katherine Macdonald, Gold Medal winner; Carolyn Whitney and Carrie Waterman with friends; Many of the Medal winners including (from left to right) John Cronin, Steve Castorani, Penni Jenkins, Katherine Macdonald, Ned Friedman, Heidi Kost-Gross, Thomas Ranney, Kathi Gariepy, Michael Dosmann, Robert Bartlett, Sarah Cummer, and Mark Sellew

These efforts involve an ongoing search of new plants that provide economic opportunities for the green industry and a foundation for further plant breeding. Recent plant developments from his program include new hybrid Albizia, Calycanthus, Chaenomeles, Clethra, Exochorda, xGordlinia, Hydrangea, Hypericum, Illicium, and xSchimlinia. Dr. Ranney has published more than 230 research and popular articles on diverse horticultural topics. He has served in editorial positions for Tree Physiology, the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, and the Southern Nursery Association Research Conference. He has served on boards of the NC Urban Forest Council, Metropolitan Tree Improvement Alliance, Landscape Plant Development Center, and International Plant Producers Society.


The Thomas Roland Medal is awarded for exceptional skill in horticulture. This award is honoring Steve Castorani and Mark Sellew for their leadership in developing, selecting, propagating and marketing numerous superior cultivars and establishing nationally-recognized brands that increase the prominence of the nursery industry and enhance the value of American gardens. In 2004 Steve and Mark co-created American Beauties Native Plants®. American Beauties provides expertly selected native plants for the homeowner that are better for the environment and better for pollinators, helping people to reconnect with nature and bring success and life to their gardens. American Beauties Native Plants are currently available at independent garden centers in Eastern, Southeastern, Midwestern and select Western states. When the brand was established, it partnered with the National Wildlife Foundation’s wildlife habitat program. During the first 10 years of the program, American Beauties Native Plants donated more than $275,000 to NWF. Steve Castorani – Steve founded Gateway Landscaping and Woodworking, Inc., a landscape design-build firm located in Hockessin, Delaware, following his graduation from the University of Delaware in 1979. Later, in 1986, he founded

Gateway Garden Center. Gateway, managed by Steve’s wife Peggy, specializes in perennials, conifers, native plants, aquatic plants as well as water gardens.

Steve teamed up with Dale Hendricks from GreenLeaf Perennials (now Aris) to start North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, PA in 1988. From its conception, North Creek Nurseries became a wholesale propagation nursery with an emphasis on Eastern U.S. native plants. North Creek trials all propagated plants on the property, maintaining its trial gardens as well as rain gardens and various displays.

Mark Sellew – A 1978 graduate of Cornell University, Mark owns Prides Corner Farms, a 600+ acre, diversified wholesale nursery in Lebanon, CT with satellite operations in three other Connecticut towns—Cromwell, Ledyard, and Suffield. Mark joined his father, Peter, in the start-up phase of the operation in 1980 and has been running it ever since.

Prides Corner is the largest agricultural employer in the state of Connecticut with over 600 employees during peak times. Growing more than 2,500 varieties of nursery stock, perennials, roses, trees, herbs and vegetables, the company supplies these plants to independent garden centers, landscapers and landscape distributors throughout the northeast quadrant of the country from Maine to Virginia and west through Ohio. In addition, Prides Corner also grows and supplies a pre-vegetated green roof system called LiveRoof®, which is designed to grow plants on rooftop environments. During the course of his career, Mark has served on the Board of Directors of the CT Nursery and Landscape Association, the New England Nursery Association, the Wholesale Nursery Growers of America, and AmericanHort. In addition, Mark has served on the Cornell Agriculture & Life Sciences Deans Advisory Council. He also recently served as a USDA – Farm Service Agency State Committee Member.

Appreciation: A Universal Truth By John Lee


ppreciation (and gratitude) happen when reality exceeds expectation. It is one of those universal if ill understood truths.

This year, the so-called Back-40 never dried out properly. The weather was even wetter than several years ago when, with the help of a semi-permeable membrane, we had a pretty decent ‘wild rice’ crop. We called it ‘lemonade.’ That was then. Usually at this time of year, we are out in the gardens to get better sense of what could be done better: where to plant next year’s tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. They have been rotated so many times that maybe at least one (or all) of them needs to go into a barrel outside the normal confines of our veggie patch. It is also the time of year (note to self!) that I wish I had kept better records of what was planted when over the past several years and, of course, there are other thoughts that come to mind. Maybe the third generation of F-1 hybrids is asking a bit much. Should I spring for newer seeds and seedlings? It would be a small price to pay, methinks. On the other hand, the longer I save pumpkin seeds, the funkier my jack o’lantern crop becomes each year. (I am not willing to pay for ‘pretty’!). So, on we go, fall to spring without a plan of succession but undying hopes for the not-too-distant future. There were a few unusual quirks this year, however. My impressive garlic harvest was naked. There was

Wild Rice, photo courtesy of The National Wildlife Federation

not the usual clove-covering skins this year and my night-crawler crop turns out to be something else entirely. These monsters came to light as I was turning my compost piles out behind the hen house. I have to tell you, as a childhood connoisseur of night crawlers, these muscular monsters felt like gym-rats when they were picked up and they were uncharacteristically feisty. When I described them to a well-versed horti-friend, he sighed and directed me to the source of all horticultural wisdom which correctly and sadly identified these vermiferous athletes as ‘jumping worms’ (Invasive Asian Jumping Earthworms, by Sandy Vanno, Master Gardener Warren County CCE).

Invasive Asian Jumping Earthworms, photo couresy of Cornell Cooperative Extension Warren County Master Gardeners

Nearly all earthworms in the Northeast today are non-native, and European and Asian invasives are

altering the soil structure and chemistry of our forests. Asian jumping worms are a relatively new invasive species, but they are rapidly spreading across the United States. They can be found in the Southeast, along the Eastern Seaboard, and in the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and some Northwestern states. The first records of Asian jumping earthworms date back to the late 19th century; unfortunately, relatively little is known about them compared to European earthworms. European night crawlers are now being displaced by the destructive Asian jumping worms. There are actually at least three species: Amynthas agrestis, Amynthas tokioensis, and Metaphire hilgendorfi that co-occur. I promptly fed them to the nearest trout pond where, gauging from the surface activity, they were put to good use. Never fear, however, they did not jump but were uncharacteristically active close to the edges of my compost and the degradation of the organic matter was remarkable.

longer hiding the scampering red squirrels as they furtively put by stores of walnut and butternut with hope of finding a welcoming gap in the bordering stone walls as winter’s chill descends. I see them also chasing about the granite and field stone house skirts looking for the Avenida Centrale where they hope to find their holy grail—the direct route to a squirrel’s idea of the Florida snow-bird—winter warmth in the walls of our house. Soon, I too will appreciate the protection of those same walls but with a differently provisioned pantry stocked not with found sustenance but with lovingly tended and prepared foods foraged from the fields and gardens.

This year, this fall, the back yard has become the COVID ward where infected family members gather to get a little homework and ‘business’ accomplished en plein air. I can’t begin to tell you how delightful and unexpectedly serene it is to sit in the yard under a warm October sun and appreciate the naturalized beauty of our gardens now going by, the antiquated stone cribbing that holds up one of the sheds, the sun blazing through the butternuts turning the skyline to gold. Such simple pleasures as the blizzards of tumbling foliage baring the essential architecture of magnificent trees—their spreading limbs no

the smallest interplanted spaces if we carefully consider our expectations. Mother Nature and some of her partners in crime may have had other thoughts but we will have the upper hand: love and unbridled intention will win the day say members of the famed Findhorn community anchored on the wind-swept west coast of Scotland. Reality will always exceed seasonally diminished expectations in the gardens if, according to their creed, we feed the divas who protect and insure the harvest. We always plant a little extra, just in case. It is not too different than leaving a big tip for room service.

Truly, these gifts of nature, gifts of friends, gifts of a generous land warm the heart even on the shortest, coldest winter days. How lucky are those of us with even a small back yard in which to raise a garden, raise our children, decorate our tables and derive seasons of satisfaction from

John Lee is the recently retired manager of MHS Gold Medal winner Allandale Farm, Cognoscenti contributor and president of MA Society for Promoting Agriculture. He sits on the Governor’s Food Policy Council and UMASS Board of Public Overseers and is a long-time op-ed contributor to Edible Boston and other publications.

From the Stacks By Maureen T. O’Brien, Library Manager

The earth neither grows old or wears out if it is dunged. Columella (c. 4 – c. 70 AD)

Featured Collection ― Recipe for Compost

Cheap efficacious Manure — Raise platform of earth on the headland of a field 8ft wide, 1ft high & of any length, according to the quantity wanted. on the 1st stratum of earth, lay a fresh stratum of lime from the kiln; dissolve or slake this with salt brine from the nose of a watering pot; add immediately another layer of earth, then lime & brine as before; carrying it to a convenient height. In a week it sh[oul]d be turned over, carefully loosen, as mixed, so that the mass may be thoroughly incorporated. This compost has been used in Ireland; has doubled crops of potatoes & cabbages, & is s[ai]d to be far superior to stable dung. —

This recipe was found affixed in an 1806 copy of Bernard M’Mahon’s The American Gardener’s Calendar, a book that is in the Society’s Original Library. Also glued onto the inside cover and blank pages are articles from other publications. The practice of pasting documents into books was commonplace in the past. Books were not treated as untouchable objects but rather as an important tool that the owner would supplement or update with added content, in effect creating a convenient, unique reference book. Further, owners of books would often annotate their books with thoughts and comments, referred to marginalia. Marginalia are notes written in the margins or within the text of a book. These personal notations provide valuable clues as to how a book was interpreted by the owner and other valuable historical data. Some books were printed with blank leaves between the pages, specifically for marginalia. In another common practice, a book owner would take their book to a local bindery that would re-bind a book with blank pages for notes. This practice was known as interleaving. Thank you to volunteer Kathleen Glenn for transcribing this pearl of wisdom!

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In the Windows – Books on Composting and Books for Sale Our Collections are Growing… Thank you to Harvard Botany Libraries for its donation in kind of Herbarium and Plant Descriptions by Edward T. Nelson, c. 1895. This herbarium contains handwritten notes and interleaved between the pages are specimens of plants that were collected in Rockford, Iowa in 1891. Especially charming are the pressed flowers that appear to be boutonnieres. You can view an unannotated copy of the book here. It is a preformatted notebook with blank pages for notes and herbaria specimens.

Come Visit…

The Library is open by appointment. Please email Library Manager Maureen O’Brien at

Are you a Massachusetts Horticultural Society enthusiast age 70½ or older with an IRA? The Required Minimum Distribution is back this year. You can support MHS in a tax-wise way by making a charitable gift directly from your IRA. Reduce your tax burden while supporting our mission. If you need additional information, please contact Elaine Lawrence, Director of Development at or call 617-933-4945 What you need to know: • You must be 70½ or over. • The gift (up to $100,000) must be transferred directly from the IRA account by the IRA custodian to Mass Hort. • The IRA custodian will have an easy-tocomplete form to facilitate the distribution. • For gifts to be counted toward the 2021 required minimum distribution (RMD), transfers must be made by December 31, 2021.

The advantages: • You can count your gift towards your annual required minimum distribution. • Under current tax laws, keeping your IRA distribution out of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) may save you federal and state taxes. • Your Medicare Part B and D premiums are affected by your AGI. The QCD will reduce your AGI, which could lower your Medicare premiums. • The transfer process is quick and requires minimal paperwork.



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