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Bressingham Garden Symposium 2017: Inspiration in Your Landscape

When: Tuesday 25 July 2017, 12:00pm - 05:00pm

Where: The Gardens at Elm Bank

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!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

Evening at Elm Bank: Third Annual Arts on the Green


2016  crowd

When: Thursday, July 27, 5:30 pm - 8:00pm

Where: The Gardens at Elm Bank

Cost: FREE to All

Join us for our summer music and arts series, sponsored by Wellesley Bank Charitable Foundation.  This evening will feature an Art Walk of artists showcasing their work throughout the gardens. It is a chance for the community to buy original art from the artists who make it and enjoy the gardens in their summer splendor. This year will feature the opening of the New England Sculptors Association exhibition (July-October) at Elm Bank.

Stroll the gardens and enjoy live music. Bring a picnic, and chair or blanket.  We will also have family activities, face painting and garden tours. Beer and wine will be sold.

LiveWire Quartet Photo

Music by: LiveWire Boston (Jazz, Blues and Bossa)

Livewire Logo 2015 2


LIVEWIRE BOSTON plays an eclectic mix of the music that people love:  jazz, blues, R&B, soul, classic rock, and bossa, with a smattering of contemporary tunes that are destined to be classics.  At Elm Bank the group will be playing as a quartet featuring Catherine Jonash, vocals; Doug McPherson, drums and vocals; Michael Ball, double bass; and Tom Keiser, guitar.

This year will also feature the opening of the New England Sculptors Association’s exhibition at Elm Bank. Nestled among the gorgeous flowers and tall grasses will be “Gifts from the Garden,” sculptures created by New England Sculptors Association members. The exhibit opens on July 27 in conjunction with the popular Arts on the Green event and runs through October 9, 2017. Visitors will be able to listen to the sculptors describe their art and creative process through a special audio tour on their cell phones. The exhibit features 37 sculptures from 21 artists.  

This event is FREE to all!

2017 Participating Artists

  • Jodie Apeseche
  • Terri Ackerman
  • Maria Babb – Creations by Maria
  • Cynthia Chapman
  • Paula Childs
  • Leah Davies
  • Mathilde Duffy
  • Allison Durak and
  • Tina Gagnon
  • Joseph Gray
  • Maureen Harrington - Morning Glory Designs and TwoHandsClayStudio
  • Ellen Hoverkamp
  • Dottie Laughlin
  • John Maciejowski
  • Sue Menanunt
  • Judith Morton
  • John Murphree
  • Aidah Perry
  • Nancy Present - Van Broekhoven
  • Kira Seamon
  • Amy Robinson Steinmetz
  • Bobbie Suratt
  • Janice Corkin Rudolf
  • Irina Tolmach
  • Abigail Wolf

  • If you have any questions about the event, please email Amy Rodrigues at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    This event is sponsored by Wellesley Bank Charitable Foundation

    WEllesley Bank sponsor image 

    *** Please note that the date for this event has been changed from the date originally advertised in our Course Catalog. The correct date is July 27, 2017.

    For more information

    For more information about events, courses and programs at Mass Hort please contact Katie Folts, Education Coordinator, 617-933-4973, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    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.

    2017 Calendar & Courses

    2017 Calendar and Courses

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    Mass Hort Classes & Events

    Tue Jul 25 @12:00PM - 05:00PM
    Bressingham Garden Symposium 2017: Inspiration in Your Landscape
    Wed Jul 26 @10:00AM - 02:00PM
    Color Gardens: Learn to Create Three-Season Flower Gardens with Winter Appeal
    Thu Jul 27 @ 5:30PM - 08:00PM
    Evening at Elm Bank: Third Annual Arts on the Green
    Sun Jul 30 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
    What's Buggin' Me?
    Tue Aug 01 @10:30AM - 01:00PM
    Horticulture Experience at Plimoth Plantation Museum
    Thu Aug 10 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
    Organically Treating for Garden Pests: Integrated Pest Management
    Sun Aug 20 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
    Back to School Gardens!
    Sat Aug 26 @10:00AM - 04:00PM
    Hops, Ales and Brewing, Oh My!
    Fri Sep 08 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
    Northeast Region Perennial Plant Symposium
    Sun Sep 10 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
    Baby, It's Cold Outside
    Thu Sep 14 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
    Landscaping and Planting Design
    Thu Sep 14 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
    Cold Frame Gardening
    Tue Sep 19 @10:00AM - 12:00PM
    Tour: The Arnold Arboretum
    Thu Sep 21 @ 7:00AM - 08:30PM
    Art & Spirit in the Garden: Incorporating Sculpture into Your Outdoor Landscape
    Sun Sep 24 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
    Composting at Home and in School Gardens
    Thu Sep 28 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
    Putting the Garden to Bed