Mass Hort 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. Incorporated: June 12, 1829, 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
Acerage: 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 by Marion Pressley Associates, 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 a new cultivar variety Boltonia asteroides,' Jim Crockett'.
  • Chef's Garden and Food Pantry Garden:Beyond the Manor House, this vegetable garden is part of Mass Hort’s new Garden to Table initiative to help people learn about growing, cooking, and preserving local healthy food. Produced one ton of produce for food pantries in 2011.
  • Welcome Garden:Designed and donated by Paul Miskovsky Landscaping, this garden welcomes visitors to Elm Bank. Located adjacent to the main entrance, it is a four-seasons garden combining unusual and striking trees and shrubs amid rolling terrain accentuated by sitting stones with a bluestone walk to the information kiosk.
  • Other Display Gardens: The Noanett Garden Club, the New England Unit of the Herb Society of America and the American Rhododendron Society (ARS), the Daylily Society maintain collaborative demonstration and display gardens at Elm Bank.

Facilities: Putnam Horticultural Hall and Greenhouse, Hunnewell Building, Mass Hort Education Center: Dearborn Room, Parkman Room, and Cheney Room: meetings, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, company outings, and social events. From 10-300 people. Call Kayleigh Tosches, Functions & Events Manager at 617-933-4921.


  • Visitors: over 75,000 to Elm Bank and Mass Hort
  • Members: 5,000 members, Mass Hort is a member supported organization (check website for member benefits)
  • Volunteers: 4,000 volunteer hours in 2014
  • 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: 67,000 attendees, competition in amateur horticulture exhibits and lectures: March 11-15,2015
  • Children’s programming: Plantmobile - Traveling Education for Schools, Caterpillar Club - Tuesday and Weezies Story Hour - Fridays (summer)
  • The Gardener’s Fair/Society Row Plant Sale: Sunday, May 16, 2015: members’ hours 8-9am
  • Garden to Table Program: to help people of all ages and all levels of gardening experience learn to grow, cook, preserve, and enjoy healthy local food.
  • Hosts Master Gardeners’ training courses: Spring and Fall
  • Gardeners Help Line: provided by Master Gardeners all year
  • Education: Thursday Night at the Hort; lectures, workshops
  • Library: 24,000 volumes, a Mass. Horticultural Society resources library, lending to Members. Also a collection of 1,000 Rare Books for research purposes.
  • Green: sustainable gardening, organic 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.


President/Executive Director: Katherine K. Macdonald, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone: 617-933-4955
Board of Trustees:

Chair: Wayne Mezitt
Gretel Anspach
Mark Ahronian
Lisa Abeles
Daniel W. Daly
Alicia Cleary
Helen Glotzer
Keith Greenfield
Lisa Haddad
David Epstein
Holly Perry
Julia O’Brien

Leslie Will
Robert Smith
Betty Sanders

Board of Overseers: 16


May-October, Hours of Operation: gardens: 10am-4pm, Park open year round from dawn to dusk. Drop in tours: Tuesdays, 10am, May-October)

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).