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Bressingham Garden Symposium 2017: Inspiration in Your Landscape
Tuesday 25 July 2017, 12:00pm - 05:00pm



Join us to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of this beautiful garden at Elm Bank! We have arranged a day led by the experts, presenting on how you can create a unique four-season landscape that is truly inspirational. Garden designer and creator, Adrian Bloom, plantsman of the Bressingham and Foggy Bottom Gardens in England, will talk about the garden’s design intent and year-long appeal. The symposium will also feature Michael Dirr, America’s top expert on woody plants; Kerry Ann Mendez, garden design, speaker and author; and Mal Condon, hydrangea expert.

And, you'll want to stay for the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Bressingham Garden at Elm Bank- wine and  hors d’ oeuvres in the garden.

Plant Sale: 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Suzanne Thatcher, Russell’s Garden Center

Offering you an opportunity to take home the plants that inspire you today. A portion of today's proceeds will go to support Mass Hort and future projects in the Bressingham Garden.

Day Symposium: 12 - 5 p.m. $99 per person (includes box lunch)

Add Reception: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. $20 per person ($25 per person if not attending symposium)

Full Symposium and Reception: $119*

*Early Bird: book prior to May 1, 2017 and receive $10 off symposium rate

Additional information, please call: 617-933-4973

Proceeds raised from this event will support the Bressingham Garden and future projects.

Register Now! 

Symposium Schedule:

11:30 a.m. Registration (individual garden walks and plant sale) 

12 - 12:10 Welcome/Opening Remarks


12:10 - 1 p.m. Adrian Bloom “The Bressingham Gardens Story” 

From England to New England in 50 years— what took so long?

Adrian will tell the story of how the Bressingham Garden at Elm Bank came about. He will outline his experience in creating his own 6-acre Foggy Bottom garden, one of the 6 gardens that make The Bressingham Gardens in England one of the most famous in the world, and why he feels that inspirational gardens with year-round interest can be a catalyst for enthusing more gardeners to create  and enjoy success in much smaller gardens.

Adrian Bloom

Gardener, author, nurseryman and photographer. Developed his own renowned Foggy Bottom garden over 50 years ago. Widely travelled, he has designed gardens in North America and Germany, authored several books, and has presented for BBC Gardener’s World and WGBH Victory Garden. Bloom has been awarded VMH (Victoria Medal of Honour) by RHS and Roland White Medal by Mass Hort.

1 - 2 p.m. Box lunch (in garden tent), garden tours



2 - 3 p.m.  Kerry Ann Mendez “Powerhouse Perennials”

Discover spectacular perennials for sun and shade that brighten your landscape spring through fall. Many of these superhero perennials are in the Bressingham Gardens.  As one perennial stops blooming, it 'passes the baton' to the next 'winner.' Pollinator friendly, drought tolerant and low deer browse are a must! Helpful garden care tips and shortcuts to maximize color and reduce maintenance will also be covered. Book signing follows lecture.

Kerry Ann Mendez

As an award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer, Kerry Ann Mendez focuses on time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plants and sustainable practices.  She has been on HGTV and in numerous magazines including Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate and Better Homes & Gardens.  Kerry Ann was awarded the 2014 Gold Medal from Massachusetts Horticultural Society for her horticultural accomplishments.  She has published three popular gardening books - her most recent, The Right-Size Flower Garden focuses on exceptional plants and design solutions for busy and aging gardeners. In 2016 Kerry Ann introduced a National Gardening Webinar Series that is attended by hundreds across the country. For more about Kerry Ann visit

3 - 3:15 p.m. Break, walks in gardens


3:15 - 4 p.m
. Mike Dirr “Advances in Ornamental Plant Breeding Enrich Our Gardens with Plants Never Thought Possible”

Remarkable advances in traditional plant breeding and molecular genetics have resulted in new flowering shrubs and trees offering unique flower, foliage, habit and pest resistances. Ten years past, there were 10 redbud cultivars. Today there are 35 and counting. Double flowers, sterility, increased cold hardiness, and myriad foliage colors and habits are available. Within Cercis canadensis, all these traits were hidden in the DNA. Persistent plant breeders probed the DNA and unlocked these traits. Our gardens are richer.

The lecture will discuss the current plethora of new introductions that are adapted to New England.

Mike Dirr

Author, Lecturer, teacher, and humble gardener, Micheal and his wife Bonnie tend 3.5 acres in Bogart, GA where they nurture all manner of ornaments, fruits and vegetables.

An expert on woody plants, Michael’s classic work, The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, now in its 6th edition, is the most widely used reference and text book in the United States on the subject. Michael was awarded the George Robert White Medal of Honor for his illustrious career in horticulture by Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2014.

Michael received his BS and MS in horticulture from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1972. He retired in 2007 as professor at the University of Georgia. 

4 - 4:15 p.m. Break, garden tours

4:15 - 5 p.m
Mal Condon Hydrangeas at Heritage’

Hydrangeas continue to be a very popular woody ornamental plant genus with many new introductions reaching the market annually. They are particularly well-planted in landscapes on Cape Cod and the Islands. Given the region’s generally favorable weather, these in-ground plantings create something special in so many local gardens.

Owing to Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts being home to Charles Dexter during his most active rhododendron hybridizing career, rhodies remain the major planted genus. Hydrangea plantings began sparingly in the late 1990s and have increased significantly in the last 10 years.

Mal Condon

A lifelong gardener, Mal has been collecting, propagating, and growing hydrangeas for 40 years. He is an engineer educationally and brings a strong technical and investigative nature to the continuing development of the genus - always searching for new and better plants, evaluating their landscape performance, and finding superior ways to produce them.

He owned and operated Hydrangea Farm Nursery on Nantucket Island for many years. In February 2014, Mal relocated to Yarmouth Port on Cape Cod and remains active as Curator of Hydrangeas at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich and is the current President of The Cape Cod Hydrangea Society. Long a noted speaker in his former business career, Mal regularly shares the many virtues of his favorite genus with garden clubs, horticultural associations, and plant societies in the US and other hydrangea-centric locations worldwide.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reception: 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Bressingham Garden

Hort Panel of Champions: Join Mass Hort for our evening program of good fellowship, humor, and horticultural jostling: truth is stranger than fiction so no softball questions allowed at this horticultural press briefing. Bring your most incisive and probing plant questions to test 300+ years of combined expertise of Adrian Bloom, Mal Condon, Michael Dirr, Wayne Mezitt, and Kerry Ann Mendez!

Open Mic: volunteers from installation day 2007.

Wine, Beer, Hors d’oeuvres


About the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Mass Hort logo newFounded 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.

2018 Calendar & Courses

2018 Masshort Courses

Mass Hort Shop

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Mass Hort Classes & Events

Tue May 22 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Improve Your Watercolor Skills - Morning Course
Tue May 22 @12:30PM - 03:30PM
Improve Your Watercolor Skills - Afternoon Course
Tue May 22 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM
CANCELLED - Landscaping for Watershed Health
Thu May 24 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Greenhouse Growing
Wed May 30 @ 9:00AM - 03:00PM
Spring Landscape Tour
Wed Jun 06 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Hands-On Floral Design
Thu Jun 07 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Bio-control of Lily Leaf Beetles
Tue Jun 12 @ 1:00PM - 04:30PM
Eco Printing: Fiber art workshop
Tue Jun 26 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
Explore the Teaching Herb Garden
Wed Jul 11 @10:00AM - 02:00PM
The Art of Planting Design
Wed Jul 18 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Summer Stroll: Garden tour
Sun Jul 22 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
What's Buggin' Me?
Sat Aug 04 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
Fall Planting Workshop
Thu Aug 09 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
A Summer Stroll: Garden Tour
Sun Aug 12 @10:00AM - 04:00PM
Meditations in Ink with Bruce Iverson