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Friends of Fairsted & Arnold Arboretum Present a Lecture on The Blue Garden


Renewal of the Blue Garden in Newport, Rhode Island

The Friends of Fairsted are pleased to partner with the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University on a special program on the recent restoration of the Blue Garden in Newport, Rhode Island.

This event is free but registration is required:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
7:00pm Lecture, Reception to follow
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Hunnewell Building
125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
Please register here or call 617-384-5277.
On left under Adult Education click May and scroll to Blue Garden Lecture, May 30.

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., with the Olmsted Brothers firm, designed the Blue Garden from 1912–1918 for the Newport, Rhode Island estate of Arthur Curtiss James and his wife, Harriet. The garden room, enclosed in an evergreen screen, featured a unique planting palette of blues and purples “with some whites” and shades of green foliage, The garden, opened to friends in August 1913 with a celebration called “The Blue Masque,” was heralded in numerous magazine articles and photographs that depicted its architectural and horticultural riches. By 2012 the garden was almost forgotten, subsumed under a thick covering of weeds and invasive trees. This lecture will present the story of the people who originally created the Blue Garden and how the restoration team used original plans, drawings, and photographs from the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Archives to reinterpret the design and rebuild the garden in all its glory, while meeting contemporary sustainable standards.

Spring Garden Tour

Massachusetts Horticultural Society and Historic New England present a guided garden tour of three historic estates on May 30, 2018.

The tour includes the 1804 greenhouses at Lyman Estate in Waltham, the gardens at the Eustis Estate in Milton and the Cheney Estate at Elm Bank, home of the Society in Wellesley. Lunch on the porch of the Eustis Estate and explore the first floor of the mansion before heading to Wellesley.

Wednesday, May 30, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

(Rain date: Thursday, May 31)

    • Meet at the Lyman Estate, 185 Lyman Street, Waltham, Mass., 185 Lyman St. Waltham, Mass.
    • Continue to the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass., 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass.
    • Conclude at The Gardens at Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, Mass.

Tickets are available through Historic New England, $40 for members, $55 for general admission. Lunch included. You provide your transport.

Please call 617-994-5959 or buy online. Mass Hort members must call to receive discount.

Arm Chair Traveling at Mass Hort This Winter

history_symosiumOn January 30, 2018, spend a winter’s day touring iconic gardens from across the world. Join us for an afternoon symposium that will lead you on virtual tours through a variety of historical gardens. Our award-winning presenters include Patrick Chassé lecturing on Asian Gardens; Patrice Todisco reviewing trends of New England Gardens; and Marion Pressley discussing Italian Gardens. With stories and images, they will highlight design features that you can apply in your own landscapes. January 30, 1-5 p.m. at The Gardens at Elm Bank. Register Today!



What is a Park For?

Olmsted, Obama, and the Meanings of Urban Landscape

Carlo Rotella, Director of the American Studies Program, Boston College

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
6:00pm Reception | 7:00pm Lecture
Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
43 Hawes Street, corner of Hawes and Monmouth Streets, Brookline, MA
Registration is strongly encouraged and seating is limited. Register here.

In 2017 Barack Obama announced that he would build his presidential library in Chicago’s Jackson Park, one of most important big-city parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Despite widespread admiration for the Obamas and hopes that the library will give the area a much-needed economic boost, this plan has raised concerns about drastically transforming such a vital piece of the nation's system of urban public green spaces. The resulting debate takes up fundamental questions about the meaning of urban landscape: How do we balance a park's various purposes? What is the relationship between the park and the surrounding neighborhoods? What—and who—is a park for? Finding answers requires digging not only into the archives that hold records of the South Side’s spatial and social histories but also into the imaginations of South Siders whose identities have been shaped by the enormous green fact of Jackson Park.

Lecture, Reception & Book Signing by Robin Karson
A reception, lecture and book signing in celebration of Robin Karson's new book Warren H. Manning, Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner will be held at the Arnold Arboretum's Weld Hill Research Building on Thursday June 15, 2017 beginning at 6 p.m. Karson is the Executive Director of the Library of American Landscape History.
This event is free but registration is requested. Seating is limited. Register at or call 617-384-5277.  Sponsored by Friends of Fairsted and the Arnold Arboretum.
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