For more than a century, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society has recognized individuals of great merit in the world of horticulture by awarding coveted medals in honor of their service, accomplishments, and record of achievements.
Considered among the most prestigious horticultural awards in America, the medals are given once a year to those whose nominations are submitted to the Honorary Medals Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees.
Through the years we have been honored to attend and report on the gala event.
Awardees have visited the Greater Boston area from far and wide, bringing to mind the late Rosemary Verey, the internationally renowned plantswoman, garden designer and writer, who in 1998 traveled all the way from Barnsley House in Gloucestershire, England, to the festivities held that year at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
This year's awards were held on October 17 in the Hunnewell Carriage House at Mass Hort's home, the beautiful Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception followed by a delicious dinner from Pepper's Fine Catering's "Farm to Table" menu.
Jeanne Leszczynski, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Katherine Macdonald, Mass Hort's President and Executive Director, graciously welcomed everyone to the 114th Honorary Medals presentations.
The keynote speaker, and recipient of the George Robert White Medal of Honor, was William Cullina, Executive Director, Coastal Botanic Garden in Boothbay, ME.
Mary Ann Streeter of Wenham, MA, a distinguished horticulturist and longtime volunteer, received The Thomas Roland Medal.
Gold Medals were presented to: Brookline's Allendale Farm for promoting urban farming and community involvement; Arthur Scarpa, of Reading, MA, longtime Mass Hort volunteer, for excellence in growing cacti and succulents; Garden Club of America, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, for working to promote a greater understanding of the importance of horticulture, environmental protection, and community improvement across the U.S.; and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, celebrating its 150th anniversary, for leadership in agricultural education.
Receiving Silver Medals were: Katherine Tracey, of North Dartmouth, MA, for horticultural excellence and unique plant offerings at Avant Gardens; and David Epstein, the noted meteorologist, writer, and gardener.
The 2013 Honorary Medals committee members included Scott Birney, Diane Cullen, Betty Ferris, Paul Rogers and Carrie Waterman.
In his delightful keynote presentation, "Gardening On the Edge of the Continent," Mr. Cullina shared that he propagated his first plant (a Christmas Cactus) when he was 8-years-old and how he still delights in "growing" friendships.
Seeing the wonderful photos of the development of the ocean-front property that is now the famous Coastal Maine Botanic Garden, it was hard to imagine that in 1995 the property was scheduled to be developed for housing.
Through the devotion and efforts of volunteers, the original gardens featured wildflowers only before the hiring of a landscape gardener in 2004. A visitor center was built in 2006, a children's garden in 2010 and an education center in 2011. This year alone, 120 programs were sponsored.
Trip Advisor recently named them as the #1 Botanical Garden in the country. Cullina's goal for 2014 is to provide access to the waterfront and "take advantage of the Atlantic," as he said, for the expected 98,000 visitors. Incidentally, he noted that the gardens are open in winter when there is no charge for admission.
Congratulations and Best Wishes to all. We are already looking forward to next year's awards and look forward to seeing you there!
The annual gift of an evergreen Christmas tree from the people of Nova Scotia will arrive by police escort at Boston Common at approximately 11 a.m. on the morning of Friday, November 15.
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of this traditional gift giving, a way to thank the people of Boston for providing emergency assistance when Halifax, Nova Scotia's capital city, was devastated by an explosion in 1917.
Boston's official 2013 Christmas tree is a 47-foot white spruce. In addition, Nova Scotia is donating smaller trees to Boston charities to be announced.
The tree will be installed near the Boston Visitors Center at 139 Tremont Street, where it will be met by Boston Parks Commissioner Antonia M. Pollak and local schoolchildren. The Nova Scotia tree will be lit at approximately 7:55 p.m. during the City of Boston's Official Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, call the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at 617-635-4505 or visit www.cityofboston.gov/parks.