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Press and Media

Welcome to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Press Room. Here you will find information about the Society and upcoming events.

For Press Inquiries please contact:

Katherine Macdonald
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Fund for Wellesley Grant helping gardeners give back

Gardeners Give Back
Katya Portnaya (l), student gardener, and Joan Parker, master gardener, harvest produce at the Elm Bank Reservation's vegetable garden, to be given to the Wellesley Food Pantry. The Fund for Wellesley, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and the Wellesley Food Pantry are collaborating in the initiative. Wicked Local staff photo / Kate Flock



As the twice-weekly harvest drew to a close Monday, master gardener Susan Hammond walked back to the Garden to Table garden at Elm Bank and asked everyone who was left to guess how much the day’s harvest had yielded.

Bryce Hawes, the intern at the garden, was the closest. His guess of 75 pounds was just half a pound off from the 75.5 that would soon be headed to the Wellesley Food Pantry.

"We forget that there are always people in need," Hawes said Monday as he surveyed the wide variety of organic foods being grown in the garden. "That tends to be forgotten when we drive past suburban life."

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society has, for five years now, been providing fresh produce on a weekly basis to the Wellesley Food Pantry. This week will be a small part of what Horticulture Director John Forti said will ultimately be approximately 2,000 pounds that will end up in the hands of food pantry clients.

Another 2,000 pounds goes to the Natick Food Pantry, he said, when gardeners return for their Thursday harvests throughout the summer and into the early fall.

(read the full artcle here)

The Gardens at Elm Bank Opens for the Season May 1st

WELLESLEY, MA April 20, 2015 - The Gardens at Elm Bank will open May 1st with a focus on kids and families this season, announced Katherine Macdonald, President of Massachusetts Horticultural Society. This beautiful garden destination, located in Metro West and fifteen miles from downtown Boston, offers over 16 acres of gardens and historic landscapes. The Gardens at Elm Bank are open from May 1 through Columbus Day, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am – 4pm. Admission is free for Mass Hort Members, for Visitors: Adults: $8, Children under 12 free with adult. The entrance is located at 900 Washington Street (Route 16), Wellesley, MA.

This summer, families will enjoy daily garden tours free with membership or daily admission. Tours meet at 11 am at the new Visitors' Center located in the "Flora" cottage adjacent to the parking lot. Youth and Family Programs will be held on Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am – 11 am, and will meet in Weezie's Children's Garden.

StatuesatElmBank FloraCeresPomona 3236
The goddess statues, Flora, Ceres, and Pomona, overlook the Maple Grove at The Gardens at Elm Bank.

John Forti, Mass Hort Director of Education and Horticulture noted: "I am excited to explore new ways by which we can engage all of our visitors with hands-on outdoor education that can inspire a sense of place shared by the generations. Each year we will be planting the seeds of our intention with an annual theme, beginning with our 2015 theme of "Youth and Family Engagement". This will be evident in our public programs, educational outreach, and most importantly throughout the landscapes and gardens of Elm Bank. When you visit Elm Bank in the coming season, you can explore inspiring, new pathways to learning, including daily garden tours of the site, family discovery guides, and hands-on garden programs in our children's garden."

The Gardens at Elm Bank are a wonderful natural resource for people of all ages to enjoy, whether you are interested in plants or gardening or just relaxing in the beautiful landscape. Located at 900 Washington Street in Wellesley (Route 16), on the 36-acre Cheney estate in the Elm Bank Reservation, the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The estate includes twelve display gardens, some highlights include the Italianate Garden designed by the Olmsted Brothers, The Bressingham Garden, a magnificent four-season perennial garden displaying a mixture of perennials, trees, and shrubs, the magical Weezies' Children's garden with butterfly garden, and our Garden to Table display vegetable garden. Yet to be restored is an Asian Garden with old boat house and bridge designed by the Olmsted Brothers in an area called the canal. The 36-acres is adjacent to the Elm Bank Reservation's woodland trails that follow along the Charles River.

Check out Mass Hort's web site ( for membership information and educational activities and events offered at the gardens. There is something for everyone! A June 2nd Garden to Table program offers an open-air cooking demonstration by area chef, John Lawrence, of Peppers Fine Food Catering where you will learn how to prepare delicious meals using the freshest fruits, herbs and vegetables—and enjoy them too.

Join us on June 7, July 23, and August 13 for a picnic and music in the gardens, sponsored by Wellesley Bank Charitable Foundation.


Founded in 1829, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society's mission is to develop the public's enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of plants, gardens, design, and the environment. Mass Hort is a 501 (c) (3) educational nonprofit and is supported by membership, sponsorships, and donations.

The historic and contemporary gardens at The Gardens at Elm Bank demonstrate how plants and design are an integral part of everyday life for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Gardens connect people to plants and to the environment through sustainable design, interpretation, cultural practices, and pure enjoyment. Mass Hort offers educational programming to engage both adults and children so they may learn about plants and gardening, and contemporary issues such as health, sustainability, and stewardship of our natural world.

Come, learn, and grow at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society as we celebrate our 186th year. Please join us in the garden, the exhibit hall or the classroom to enjoy and explore the wonderful world of plants and gardens.

John Forti Named Director of Horticulture and Education at Massachusetts Horticultural Society

August 22, 2014, WELLESLEY, MA.  The Massachusetts Horticultural Society is excited to announce that John Forti has been named the Director of Horticulture and Education, a major step in the implementation of our 10-year strategic plan.

John FortiJohn will be an exceptional addition to our dedicated staff, instrumental in realizing goals for our historic landscapes, teaching gardens, the garden-to-table initiative, education programs, and the development of tourism on our property. A nationally recognized lecturer, garden historian, ethnobotanist and garden writer, Forti comes to us from the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, where he created numerous award-winning gardens and educational programs in the role of the Curator of Historic Landscapes. He previously served as the Director of Horticulture at Plimoth Plantation Museum, where he created a gardens and seed program that brought international attention to the preservation of Pilgrim and Wampanoag heirloom crops.
John founded and serves as the board chair for Slow Food Seacoast. He serves on the bio-diversity committee for Slow Food USA and recently represented the group as an international delegate among the 150 nations at the Terra Madre or "Farmers United Nations" in Italy. He is chair of the board for the Herb Society of America’s New England Unit, and won the 2014 Award for Excellence in Horticulture from the national office.
"I met John soon after I joined Mass Hort, and was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and passion for horticulture and this legacy institution," said Katherine K. Macdonald, President and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. "John has a wonderful way of engaging with the public, and a clear commitment to helping people of all ages understand the natural world through our relationships with plants."

"For the last 185 years the Massachusetts Horticultural Society has influenced our communities, and fostered a love of horticulture that has touched all of us," John noted. "Since I was a child growing up on the North River in Norwell, MA, our regional landscapes and a passion for gardening (in large part fostered by Mass Hort) helped to shape the course and quality of my life."

Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s legacy continues in the 21st century: improving horticulture for the public good, inspiring gardeners and horticulturalist, and providing a setting, whether in the classroom, the garden, or the exhibit hall, for the public to learn and appreciate horticulture.

"New generations of young farmers, market gardeners and artisanal producers are hungry for mentors.  Young children face even greater challenges in an age when studies show that kids know fewer than 10 animals and plants in their own backyards, but recognize over 1,000 corporate logos.  But there are solutions, and I am excited to help create landscapes and programs that re-engage the generations and help them to learn from one another in the garden.  I look forward to working with garden clubs, master gardeners, school administrators, and our region’s horticultural & environmental groups to build resilient communities around our horticultural heritage and our cultural inheritance of heirloom and native plants," John commented.

Founded in 1829, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is dedicated to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and to developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment. Located on 36 acres in the historic Elm Bank Reservation, Wellesley/Dover, MA,  The Gardens at Elm Bank provide a place where people of all backgrounds can come together for inspiration and education. Our public gardens are a place of beauty, discovery, quiet reflection, and appreciation of garden design. Massachusetts Horticultural Society is a 501 ( c) (3) not-for-profit organization.

Mass Hort Exhibit - Eden on the Charles- wins four awards at the Boston Flower & Garden Show!

WELLESLEY, MA. March 22, 2014  The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit “Eden on the Charles” at this year’s Boston Flower & Garden Show (March 12-16, 2014), received the Allen C. Haskell Award, The Landscape Design Council of Massachusetts Emily Seaber  Parcher Award, the Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award, and the New England Nursery Association Award, and the Massachusetts Agriculture Ribbon.

Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit, Eden on the Charles, highlighted two love stories that took place at Mass Hort’s Elm Bank Estate in Dover, MA,  illustrating the show them of “Romance in the Garden”. The exhibit’s design depicts the courtship of Ray and Betty Frost canoeing down the Charles River at Elm Bank and stopping for a picnic along the shore. Descendants and family of Mr. & Mrs. Frost attended the show on Saturday, March 15 to see the exhibit that honored the Frosts.


 Flower Show 2014 Bridge Mass Hort Flower Show CanoeFlower Show 2014 Fringe Tree

Mass Hort design team, led by Landscape Institute/BAC designers Suzanne Higham and including Heather Heimarck (Landscape Institute Executive Director), Julia Esteves, Piera Sassaroli, with Jeff Dube and Bill Cuddy and Mass Hort staff David Fiske, Charlie Harris, and Clark Bryan did a superb job demonstrating landscape design and horticultural concepts.

Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit was designed to engage the public in the beauty of plants, gardens, and landscape design and to highlight the talents of landscape designers and green industry professionals in the practice and love of horticulture.

Awards Included:

  • Allen C. Haskell Award: Presented to a professional garden exhibit that shows distinction in landscape design with a heavy emphasis on color  using rare and unusual plant material, mainly new species and cultivars that have been introduced but not readily available to the trade. Presented by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
  • Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award: Presented to the exhibit that best demonstrates the design and execution of ecological concepts and ecological principles.
  • The Landscape Design Council of Massachusetts Emily Seaber Parcher Award: The Landscape Design Council of Massachusetts’s Emily Seaber Parcher Award for excellence in landscape design of a naturalistic garden of less than 1,000 square feet. "Garden on the Charles," the winning exhibit by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, was inspired by two love stories that took place on the organization's property, Elm Bank. The exhibit featured a winding stream with naturalistic plantings, complete with wooden canoe, foot bridge, and artist's retreat.
  • New England Nurserymen’s Award

Mass Hort’s Exhibit - A Collaboration with Designers and Organizations

Several skilled designers contributed to Mass Hort’s exhibit: Julia Esteves is a Massachusetts Certified Landscape Professional (MCLP) and owner of Juliagarden Landscape Design, a landscape design, build and maintain business in Osterville, MA;  Heather Heimarck, Landscape Institute, Piera Sassaroli, owner of Piera’s Landscape Design of Boston, is a designer based out of both Boston and Milan, Italy; Jeff Dube will be returning to The University of Michigan in the fall to complete his Masters of Landscape Architecture;  Suzanne Higham is owner of Frog Hollow, a landscape design, installation and maintenance company based in Georgetown, MA; and Bill Cuddy is owner of WJC Services, a full service design, building, and maintenance landscape company in Rowley, MA.

Donations of materials and assistance were provided by Boston Architectural College, the Landscape Institute, Ball Seed, Northeast Nurseries, Inc., Weston Nurseries, Bartlett Tree Experts, Northwoods Canoe Company, Szczechowicz Landscape Services, and Stonewood Products, Inc. Painting by Julia Blake.

Founded in 1829, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society mission is to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and to developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment. Massachusetts Horticultural Society, a 501(c ) (3)educational organization,  is located at 900 Washington Street, Wellesley on 36-acres in the historic Elm Bank Reservation, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  For more information please visit:


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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.

Perennial Plant Symposium

Perennial Plant Association and Mass Hort Logos
September 10, 2015
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2015 Calendar & Courses

Mass Hort Calendar Courses 2015

Latest Mass Hort Events

Wed Oct 14 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Beginning Floral Design at Mass Hort 2015
Thu Oct 15 @ 6:30PM - 09:00PM
Honorary Medals Awards Dinner
Thu Oct 22 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Herbal Gifts with Steph Zabel
Thu Oct 29 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Craft Beer Brewing Basics
Thu Nov 05 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Concocting Cordials with Steph Zabel
Tue Nov 17 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Heirloom and Native Plants: A Living History
Wed Nov 18 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Cooking from the Garden with Alana Chernila
Fri Nov 27 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees

Friends of Mass Hort Events