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Adult Education

Providing horticulture education for aspiring gardeners is a large part of the mission for the Massachusetts Horticulture Society. We offer an array of gardening workshops, courses and lectures throughout the year that cover a wide variety of gardening topics and interests. Below is the list of upcoming classes.

Northeast Region Perennial Plant Association Symposium

Perennial Inspirations and Concepts

September 10, 2015

 Mass Hort’s Gardens at Elm Bank

 Wellesley, Massachusetts

Presented by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society & the Perennial Plant Association

perennial color

The Perennial Plant Association connects professionals, provides education, and promotes perennial plants. Their regional symposium is open to all levels of gardeners and professionals. This year’s symposium includes six presentations led by some of the perennial industry's best. 

Featured Presentations:

Native Perennials and Nativars for the Pocket Prairie Garden                    
Jennifer Brennan of Chalet Nursery and Garden Shop, Wilmette, IL

Jennifer Brennan will highlight the native plants and also native plant cultivars that can be used in various sites including shade, full sun, and half & half shade/sun. Many of these selections are quite useful for nectar and pollen for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

The New American Garden: Modeling the Regional Landscape: An Anarchist Primer
Donald Pell of Donald Pell Gardens, Phoenixville, PA

Donald Pell calls his gardens impressionistic models of regional landscapes. Understanding specific plants and how they may integrate into any given landscape is the key to programming these gardens. He will look at how cool and warm season plants are accessed for performance to stabilize soils and create desirable compositions. Donald will discuss the role of ephemeral plants to build desirable seed banks while a garden is evolving and look at the role of aggressive and invasive plants. He will discuss the successes and failures of projects as well as what inspires these gardens. This is a presentation to inspire you to tear out that front lawn and boring boxwood hedges and to create a dynamic and experiential landscape.

Tropical Flair
Jason Reeves of the University of Tennessee Gardens, Jackson, TN

Tropicals work beautifully with perennials, and make a big impact in any garden. The bold foliage stands out whether in large landscape displays or everyday back yard gardens and containers. Get a refresher on tried and true varieties as well as some hot new selections that will make any perennial purist think twice.

Successful Gardening in Deer Country
Ruth Rogers Clausen of Easton, MD

Keeping your beautiful garden safe from deer is as simple as choosing the right plants. Ruth will discuss plants that do not require us to fence the deer out or the gardener in.

Perennials in Pots: Creative Combinations for Jaw-Dropping Containers  
Deborah Trickett, MCH MCLP of Westwood, MA

The container gardening craze, which began over ten years ago, shows no sign of slowing down. More than ever these perfectly sized “gardens” are the answer for time-pressed gardeners, down-sizing gardeners, city-dwelling gardeners, aging gardeners and more.  The good news is the container gardens of yesterday (think geranium and vinca) have evolved. Today’s containers showcase many types of plants, including perennials. Join Deborah Trickett, principal and owner of The Captured Garden, and learn how to use perennials to transform your containers from “blah” to “aah”. She will share fundamentals of container gardening, “out of the box” design tips, as well as some of her favorite tried and true perennial performers. 

Are They Better or Just New??
Paul Westervelt of Saunders Brothers, Inc. Piney River, VA

With so many new perennials released every year, it can be difficult to distinguish legitimately better cultivars from those that are simply marketable.  Through production trials, garden visits, vendor visits, and conversations with other growers, Paul works to select the true winners for our region.

Registration Fee:

$99/person through September 2

$109/person after September 2

***Price includes lunch


trial garden




Attendees do not need to be members of Mass Hort or the Perennial Plant Association

Hands on Hort

We all have different learning styles. In this year round program of hands on workshops Mass Hort is looking to support those individuals who enjoy the “Learn by Doing” model of education. Throughout the year we will provide a variety of workshops across the spectrum of horticulture. Our goal is offer you the opportunity to learn and do in a professional setting from leaders and experts in the horticultural world.

Click here to see a schedule and descriptions of the lectures.

Read more: Hands on Hort

Art in the Garden

Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the New England Watercolor Society (NEWS) have joined forces to offer you an exciting new way to appreciate the beauty of Elm Bank. From May through October, the gardens will provide the inspiration for a series of watercolor workshops taught by award winning professional artists of NEWS. Each instructor, demonstrating their unique style and technique, will take you through the elements that go into creating a painting. Whether you are an experienced artist seeking new inspiration or have longed to try watercolor for the first time, choose a workshop to suit your needs and take advantage of this perfect opportunity to express the beauty of Elm Bank through watercolor.

Click here to see a schedule and descriptions of the classes. 

About the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Massachusetts Horticultural Society LogoFounded in 1829, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is dedicated to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment.

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2015 Calendar & Courses

Mass Hort Calendar Courses 2015

Mass Hort Classes & Events

Fri Nov 27 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Wed Dec 02 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Thu Dec 03 @ 4:00PM - 05:00PM
Children's Horticulture Workshop
Fri Dec 04 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Wed Dec 09 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Thu Dec 10 @ 4:00PM - 05:00PM
Children's Horticulture Workshop
Fri Dec 11 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sat Dec 12 @11:00AM - 12:00PM
Children's Horticulture Workshop
Sun Dec 13 @10:00AM - 06:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Mon Dec 21 @10:00AM - 12:00PM
Winter Solstice Walk