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MassHort Fact Sheet



MISSION STATEMENT: Founded 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.


Non-profit organization: 501 (c) (3) charitable organization

Campus and Location: Located within the Elm Bank Reservation, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482

Telephone: 617-933-4900


Social Media:





Incorporated: June 12, 1829

Acreage: 36 acres

The Gardens at Elm Bank:

  • Weezie's Garden for Children : A whimsical children's garden designed by Julie Moir Messervy, the garden is designed as a series of small spiraling gardens, each with its own theme and different ways of engaging the senses.
  • Bressingham Garden : Designed by Adrian Bloom of Norfolk, England this garden contains a mixture of perennials, trees, and shrubs with a specific focus for creating functional and beautiful residential landscapes for New England homes.
  • Italianate Garden: This restored 1926 Italianate Garden, using the original plans from the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, is a wonderful formal garden for inspiration.
  • New England Trial Gardens: The New England Trial Gardens (flowers and vegetables), was established at Elm Bank in 1996 as a cooperative effort between the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Flower Growers' Association and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Breeding companies from all over the world contribute the newest and best varieties of annuals to the New England Trial Garden for viewing by amateur and professional gardeners. This garden also tests new and unreleased varieties competing for All-America Selections awards, displays previous winners, and grows hundreds of cultivars submitted for evaluation by commercial plant breeders.
  • Jim Crockett Memorial Garden: This garden is dedicated to Jim Crockett, the famed first host of WGBH's The Victory Garden and author of myriad books, who fostered a true love of gardening with his "learn as you grow" approach. The garden features poppies from the Victory Garden's Oriental Poppy colony and UMASS-Amherst Professor Thomas Boyles' new cultivar variety Boltonia asteroides,' Jim Crockett'.
  • Other Display Gardens: The Noanett Garden Club, the New England Unit of the Herb Society of America and the American Rhododendron Society (ARS), and the Daylily Society maintain collaborative demonstration and display gardens at Elm Bank.

Facilities: Putnam Horticultural Hall and Greenhouse, Hunnewell Carriage House, MassHort Education Center


  • Visitors: over 75,000 to Elm Bank and Mass Hort
  • Members: 5,500 members, Mass Hort is a member supported organization (check website for member benefits)
  • Volunteers: 12,000 volunteer hours in 2010
  • Staff: Ten (10) full time, part time, and volunteer staff help maintain our gardens and operate Mass Hort
  • Donors: Mass Hort is supported by generous donors who provide funds, labor, and materials.


  • Mass Hort at the Flower Show: Boston Flower and Garden Show: March 12-16,2014: Amateur competitions: horticulture, floral design, and photography. Ikebana displays.
  • Gardeners’ Fair- May 18, 2014
  • Antique Show: June 14-15, 2014
  • Car Show- June 22, 2014
  • Gardeners Help Line: provided by Master Gardeners: all year
  • Education: Mass. Horticultural Society Education Center at Elm Bank: Thursday Night at the Hort- adult horticulture lecture series
  • Plantmobile: travelling horticultural and science program for schools and events
  • Library: 20,000 volumes, a Mass. Horticultural Society resources library, lending to Members. Also a collection of 4,000 Rare Books for research purposes.
  • Garden to Table program: organic vegetable gardening, local harvest, and garden to table cooking programs: spring, summer, fall
  • Newsletter: Leaflet (online), 12,000 readers

Fundraising Event: Festival of Trees- November-December

History: Founded in 1829 by Jacob Bigelow, Thaddeus Harris, and Henry Dearborn, who became the first president. Establishes a horticultural library. Buys 72-acre estate "Sweet Auburn" and separately incorporates Mount Auburn Cemetery, the first garden cemetery in America. In 1853 the Concord Grape is introduced by Ephraim Bull and exhibited at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. The society opens horticultural halls on 25 Tremont Street, School Street, and Huntington Avenue in Boston. In 1871 the New England Flower Show is institutionalized as an annual event. In 2001 the Society moves to Elm Bank.

Executive Director:

Katherine K. Macdonald


Board of Trustees:

Jeanne Leszczynski, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Gretel Anspach

Mark Ahronian

Alicia Cleary

Daniel W. Daly

David Epstein

Keith Greenfield

Lisa Haddad

Katherine K. Macdonald, President, ex officio

Betsy Ridge Madsen

Wayne Mezitt

Julia O’Brien

Holly Perry

Betty Sanders

Bob Smith

Leslie Will

Board of Overseers: 16 members


Hours of Operation: open to the public, gardens and park, dawn to dusk, open year-round

Special Events: Mass Hort offers events space for social functions, weddings, corporate outings, and meetings


Elm Bank reservation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for many elements: Historic person: Benjamin P. Cheney (founder of American Express), Architecture of Classic Revival Style mansion: Carrere & Hastings (architects of the New York Public Library), and estate landscaping, garden designs by Percival Gallagher from the firm of Frederick Olmstead, Jr.


Owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and operated by DCR, Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The 182 acres of woodlands, fields, and old estate property is surrounded on three sides by the Charles River.


Follow Route 16 West from Rt. 128 (Rt. 95) 4.9 miles to Wellesley Center (5-way intersection with stop light); stay left at the intersection to remain on Route 16 West (Washington Street) for another 1.6 miles to the entrance of Elm Bank (look for a small green sign on the left).

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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