Elm Bank Horticulture Center
The Gardens at Elm Bank, home of Massachusetts Horticultural Society, occupies 36 acres (15 ha) of Elm Bank Reservation, a 175-acre (71 ha) recreational area of woodlands, fields, and former estate property on the Charles River managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The estate's entrance is located at 900 Washington Street (Route 16), Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States, with the major portion of the grounds located in the neighboring town of Dover. In 1987, the entire site was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Elm Bank.
Property records date back to 1732 when Thomas Fuller owned the tract on land then known as the Natick Plain. The property earned the sobriquet Elm Bank after Colonel John Jones acquired the land in 1740 and planted elm trees along the riverside. After being occupied by families named Loring, Broad, and Otis, the property was sold for $10,000 in 1874 to Benjamin Pierce Cheney, a founder of a delivery company that became American Express. At the time of Cheney's death in 1895, the property contained over 200 acres (80 hectares), and passed to his eldest daughter Alice in 1905. In 1907, Alice and her husband, Dr. William Hewson Baltzell, engaged the architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings to design a Neo-Georgian manor house. They also commissioned the Olmsted Brothers firm, the most prominent landscape designers of the era, for the estate's site planning and to design new gardens and improve existing ones. In the 1940s, the property became a seminary housing a group of Stigmatine Fathers, who constructed a school building and ran a summer camp in the 1960s and 70s. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the property in the mid 1970s. It then served as the home of the Quinobin Regional Technical School.
In 1996, 36 acres (15 ha) were leased to Massachusetts Horticultural Society for a term of 100 years. The society began to charge non-member visitors an entrance fee in 2010, and today charges non-members $10 per person over 12. The gardens' maintenance is supported through entrance fees, special events, and private usages such as garden weddings.
The distinct gardens featured at Elm Bank include:
- Weezie's Garden for Children
A series of small spiraling gardens, each giving visitors the opportunity to plant, water or interact in some way with the garden's elements. Children's classes are held throughout the spring, summer and fall in this special garden.
- Mass Hort Trial Garden
A cooperative effort between the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Flower Growers’ Association and Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Breeding companies from all over the world contribute Annuals for viewing by amateur and professional Gardeners. This garden also tests unreleased varieties competing for All-America Selections awards, displays previous winners, and grows hundreds of cultivars submitted for evaluation by commercial plant breeders.
- Italianate Garden
Restoration of the 1926 Italianate Garden was based on the original plans from the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, together with a numbered plant list - and even receipts - for the original trees and flowers planted in the garden.
- Display Gardens
The Noanett Garden Club, the New England Chapter of the Herb Society of America, and the American Rhododendron Society maintain collaborative demonstration and display gardens at Elm Bank. The Day Lily Society installed a garden in 2004.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elm Bank Reservation.|
- List of botanical gardens in the United States
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Norfolk County, Massachusetts
- Hunnewell Estates Historic District
- Arnold Arboretum
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- "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Elm Bank Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "The Manor House". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "History of Elm Bank". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
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- BBrown (June 3, 2010). "Mass Hort to charge $5 to view Elm Bank gardens". The Swellesley Report. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- "Weddings and Functions at the Gardens at Elm Bank". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
- "Gardens at Elm Bank". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- "Weezie's Garden for Children". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "New England Trial Garden". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Italianate Garden". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Other Display Gardens". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "New England Daylily Society". Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Retrieved August 25, 2015.