2022 Shirley Meneice Horticultural Conference

More than 200 participants passionate about plants, flowers, native plants, seeds, botanic gardens, conservation, you name it…all things horticulture, gathered in Boston mid-September. It was truly an honor for Ann Ellis and me to be part of this esteemed conference. 


Compelling speakers included the Director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard, which is a 150 year old museum of trees and much more, as well as the Director of Horticulture for the Native Plant Trust, the leading conservators of native plants dedicated solely to protecting and restoring rare plant species across the world.

Our fascinating field trips took us to Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA, a Native Plant Trust property, which is a 45-acre botanic garden with loads of diverse and rare native New England plants, a kettle pond and a bog. It was formed from retreating glaciers into eskers; thus it has steep-sided valleys so you feel transported once inside.

Then back on the buses to Elm Bank Reservation, a 36-acre property along the Charles River where the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is based. Elm Bank Reservation has several gardens of significant social and historical value, including an Italianate garden, a historic daffodil garden, and a native plant garden meticulously maintained by the Noanett Garden Club. The club has added QR codes to each plant for identification purposes. 

Day 2 was at the Arnold Arboretum, and began with a docent-led tour of the property and ended with two workshops. The Arnold Arboretum collections are considered among the best documented in the world, especially with regard to wild provenance. Highlights include a significant herbarium, incredible bonsai collection, research library and archives of every tree/plant on the premises.

We feel so grateful that GCD gave us this opportunity to participate in the amazing curriculum of SMHC.

Check out the comprehensive websites for all the sites we visited and download the Arnold Arboretum’s comprehensive app called Expeditions to learn more.




Lavalle Cork Tree, Phellidendron amurense var., at the Arnold Arboretum. Photo by Suzanne MacKenzie
Italianate Garden at the Elm Bank Reservation designed by Percivial Gallagher of the Olmsted Firm. Photo by Suzanne MacKenzie