More than 20 years ago we had the pleasure of a guided tour of Monticello's incredible gardens given by Peter Hatch, the Director of Gardens and Grounds from 1977 until his retirement earlier this year.
We were delighted to re-connect with Peter when he recently spoke at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain at the invitation of Pamela Thompson, the Manager of Adult Education.
A resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, for 35 years Peter was responsible for the maintenance, interpretation, and conservation of the 2,400-acre landscape at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, where the president lived for some 50 years.
The subject of Hatch's presentation was his latest book, "A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello" (Yale University Press), which specifically focuses on the 1,000-foot-terraced vegetable garden.
According to Hatch, were Thomas Jefferson to walk the grounds of Monticello today, he would no doubt feel fully at home, where the very vegetables and herbs he favored are thriving.
We were told that Jefferson was "a handy guy" who could even make keys. He grew at least 170 different varieties of fruits and veggies in his gardens, from giant cucumbers to rutabagas, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and peanuts. He kept meticulous notes and charts, some of which Hatch shared with his audience via excellent images.
According to William (Ned) Friedman, the Director of the Arboretum, there are many more "extraordinary" lectures scheduled for all of us to enjoy. In fact, he noted that anyone can sign up for their e-News, even if not a member. For more information, be sure to visit www.arboretum.harvard.edu.
Boston's 71st Annual Official Tree Lighting on Boston Common is scheduled for Thursday, November 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The celebration is hosted by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the Province of Nova Scotia, the Boston Pops, Distrigas/GDF SUEZ, and JetBlue, in addition to media sponsors WCVB-TV Channel 5, MAGIC 106.7 FM, boston.com, and the Boston Herald.
The holiday decorations throughout Boston Common and the Public Garden, including the City of Boston's official Christmas tree from Halifax, a 45-foot white spruce donated by Paul and Jan Hicks of Jordan Bay, Nova Scotia, will light up in sequence shortly before 8 p.m. when Mayor Menino is scheduled to be joined onstage by Deputy Premier Corbett, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Santa Claus. The show will close with a pyrotechnic display by Pyrospectaculars, Inc.
WCVB TV's Anthony Everett and JC Monahan will host Channel 5's live broadcast of the event beginning at 7 p.m. featuring "The Voice" contestant James Massone, Nova Scotia band Squid, the Boston Arts Academy, an appearance by the Grinch, and many more acts to be announced.
The annual holiday display includes the official Christmas tree from Halifax and trees throughout Boston Common with ten additional trees around the Frog Pond skating rink sponsored by The Skating Club of Boston. Refreshments and fun giveaways will be provided by in-kind sponsors Dunkin' Donuts, HP Hood LLC, and Nantucket Nectars.
This is the 41st year that Nova Scotia has given a tree to the people of Boston as thanks for relief efforts following the December 6, 1917 explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax Harbor. Within 24 hours of the disaster, a train loaded with supplies and emergency personnel was making its way from Boston to Nova Scotia. In addition, this year Nova Scotia is donating smaller trees to two Boston charities, the Pine Street Inn and Rosie's Place.
Photographs taken following the 1917 explosion are on display during the month of November at Boston City Hall.
Trees along the Mall will be illuminated through April 1 with elegant white lights made possible thanks to community support and private donations raised by the Committee to Light Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
For more information, call 617-635-4505 or visit www.cityofboston.gov/parks.
A festive celebration of Chinese culture will take place on Saturday, December 1 at the Kwong Kow Chinese School's annual fundraising gala and auction, which will be held at The China Pearl, 237 Quincy Ave. in Quincy, beginning at 7 p.m. The Honorary Chairs are Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Congressman Michael E. Capuano.
The festive evening will include cocktails, dinner, student performances and awards. There will also be a raffle of sports memorabilia, fine dining and unique experiences.
The Kwong Kow Chinese School, located in Chinatown, is a non-profit organization that provides after-school, weekend, and summer programs for students including homework assistance, Chinese language, culture and history as well as Math and English.
Tickets (which must be purchased prior to the night of the event) are $100. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 617-426-6716 or visit www.kwongkow.org.