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Education & Classes


In effort to serve Mass Hort’s mission to develop the public’s understanding of plants and the environment, we host classes throughout the year for all interest levels.

We offer hands-on workshops as well as lectures, classes for vegetable growers, potted ornamental enthusiasts, and home-owners looking to boost their curb appeal. We have everything from botanical art workshops and book signings to floral design courses and composting classes.

Herbal Medicine & Magic: Sorting Fact from Fancy
Thursday 03 March 2016, 07:00pm - 08:30pm

Parkman Room of the Education Building 
900 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482

Plants offered the first effective cures for disease, and the history of herbal medicine is defined by lore and science—in equal measures. The European herbal tradition is reflected in the medicinal plants carried by early settlers to the New World; many of these species escaped dooryard gardens and naturalized in our local flora, which now includes many plants with legitimate or presumed curative properties.

Historic lore and the doctrine of signatures documents herbs in fanciful ways that reflect human dependence on these essential plants. Antibiotic properties abound in herbs, and during World War II, herbs replaced unavailable pharmaceutical medicines. Even today 40 % of all pharmaceutical drugs still contain at least one botanical compound. Retaining practical knowledge of medicinal herbs is essential, especially as antibiotics wane in efficacy. Join us for this intriguing overview of medicinal plants—from  ancient traditions to military history and modern medicine.

Presenter, Judith Sumner, specializes in ethnobotany, flowering plants, plant adaptations and garden history. She is a graduate of Vassar College and completed her graduate studies in botany at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and at the British Museum, and did extensive field work in the Pacific region on the genus Pittosporum.

In addition to writing, her projects include field studies in the Great Smoky Mountains and work with the United Nations developing petroleum-rich plants in the Caribbean. She served as a visiting scientist for several summers in the LEAP (Learning about Plants) program at Harvard for Boston school teachers and has volunteered as a National Public Radio Science mentor. Her column “The Gardener’s Kitchen” (under the pseudonym Laura Craig) appeared in Horticulture magazine and is currently being republished by the Herbal Academy of New England. Judith is currently at work on a botanical history of World War II, aimed at an understanding of the essential roles played by plants both on the home front and in the military. 

Learn more about Judith at her website,

Member Cost: $12
Non-Member Cost $20

trial garden 

Botanical Print from the Mass Hort Collection:  

Aloe succotrina, Title (alt.): Aloe, Fynbos
Artist: Bouchard, Magdalena, d. 1793

Source: Hortus Romanus Volumes I-VII (Bonelli,Georgio).
Handpainted Engraving.
Date: ca. 1772–1796


Adult Education: We offer lectures, hands-on workshops, and art and design classes. Programs are offered to novice levels through professional. Look here for a listing of upcoming classes!

Thursday Night at the Hort: Our weekly lecture series brings a horticultural expert to our site nearly every Thursday night. We feature topics from growing your own food and boosting your home’s curb appeal to growing in small places and using ecologically-sound growing methods.

Seed to Table: Start with a seed, end with a meal. The Seed to Table program provides education and hands-on experience growing and using food and beverage plants.

Programs for Kids: Mass Hort welcomes gardeners of all ages! Visit our Programs for Kids page to learn more about our award-winning Children’s Garden and our youth programs such as a daily summer children’s hour!

Programs for Schools: Mass Hort is excited to come to your community and bring plant science workshops to your school. We also host field trips for students and offer teacher workshops through our School Garden Initiative. Learn about all of these efforts on our Programs for Schools page.

Library: Mass Hort is home to one of the largest and oldest horticultural libraries in the country. Our 20,000-volume library is located at our headquarters in Wellesley. Click here to find more information and library hours.

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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The Perfect Gift
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Mass Hort Classes & Events

Thu Mar 29 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Vegetable Gardening: Planning, Preparing and Maintaining Your Victory Garden
Tue Apr 03 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Improve Your Watercolor Skills - Morning Course
Tue Apr 03 @12:30PM - 03:30PM
Improve Your Watercolor Skills - Afternoon Course
Thu Apr 05 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Landscaping and Planting Design
Thu Apr 05 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Tips for a Great Jump Start on Your Lawn
Sat Apr 21 @10:00AM - 02:00PM
Grafting Fruit Trees
Thu May 03 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Sun May 06 @10:30AM - 12:00PM
Early Season Gardening Workshop
Thu May 17 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Greenhouse Growing
Tue May 22 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM
Landscaping for Watershed Health
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