In 1793, a Boston merchant named Theodore Lyman began developing his country estate in Waltham, Massachusettes. He hired an English gardener by the name of William Bell to lay out the property in the English picturesque style. Fascinated with agriculture and horticulture, Lyman’s property included large specimen trees, open fields, a pond system, a kitchen garden, and a greenhouse complex which is still in use today. It is among the oldest greenhouses in the country.
The greenhouses were used to grow a variety of hard-to-obtain fruits such as pineapples, figs, lemons, limes, and bananas. During the 1870s one of the greenhouses was transformed into a grapery. Three-and-a-half-foot-high ground beds were constructed of brick to hold soil for the root systems. Visit the Lyman greenhouses in June to taste the Black Hamburg grapes, still growing today. Cuttings were obtained from the royal greenhouses at Hampton Court, the former palace of King Henry VIII in England!
Wafts of fragrant herbs flourish here in the greenhouses. Sample the different varieties of the scented geranium.
If you visit from January to March, you will be dazzled by the luscious camellia blooms which burst forth in a profusion of color: reds, whites, pinks, and variegated. Originally built to grow peach trees, the camellia house at the Lyman Estate has one of the few collections still in existence today. Camellias were first introduced to America in the late eighteenth century by a French botanist, Andre Michaux. He brought them to Middleton Place, an estate in South Carolina. Boston soon became a center for camellia culture.
Exotic houseplants, orchids, pottery, and gifts are available for purchase. Take home a piece of living history and some excellent photos!
Today we brought some holiday color and cheer to the corner of Winthrop and JFK in Harvard Square. We love this job because it’s located at a prime location which gives us the opportunity to create some beauty and share some whimsy with the community. We are so happy to lend our designs and support to the Harvard Square Business Association, Upstairs on the Square and The Red House!
For more holiday decorating services, please visit our page.
This morning marked the beginning of our Seasonal Container designs 2012. At the market today, Spring pansies are not available quite yet. So today we went with Pussy Willow, little Tete-a-Tete daffodils, grape muscari and hyacynth. These babies were potted up in the nursery in November and held in a cold house. With the exception of Paperwhites and Amaryllis, all Spring flowering bulbs require at least 6 weeks of a cold phase to store enough energy to bloom. Then you can plant them in the ground or your favorite outdoor container. Pussy Willow branches last all season long and sometimes they even root if you leave them in long enough! “How fun!” says the Lead Designer at JBL
It’s the time of year to start thinking about building a raised veggie/flower bed. Aside from the rewarding feeling you get when you eat your very own, home-grown salads, there are just SO many great benefits to the raised bed:
-you control the type of soil that you use
-soil warms up faster in the spring which can give you an earlier harvest
-soil is less compacted
-no back-breaking bending to tend to your crops
-can be a better use of space in your garden
-gives your garden a clean and tidy look
-enhances your garden by adding structure
-can be of any height to suit your needs
-easy to trellis
There hasn’t been too much snow in this New England winter so you won’t have to search very hard. You’ll find them blossoming quite naturally and heartily right through the soft snow. The flower is so hearty in fact, that the petals remain on the flower for months! Yes, it is needless-to-say, hellebore are highly valued by gardeners for their winter and early spring flowering period; the plants are surprisingly frost-resistant. Many species of hellebore are ever-green or have a chartreuse or greenish-purple flowers.
While they are commonly mistaken for wild roses, the hellebore is in the Ranunculacae family and has five petals. Some species are poisonous and several legends surround the flower. During the Siege of Kirrha in 585 BC, the flower was reportedly used by the Greek besiegers to poison the city’s water supply. The defenders were subsequently so weakened by diarrhea that they were unable to defend the city from assault. Who’d have thought such a sweet and lovely specimen could cause such damage!?
Did you know that you can create practically any shape out of boxwood?! This year, Jean was inspired by this fact to add a merriment and whimsy to our holiday designs. Here, boring ole’ boxwood is morphed into a little holiday magic!
Check out these Arabesque, pointed-gumdrop-shaped arrangement we created for the Central Square Theatre in celebration of their new show, “Arabian Nights”. Remind you of anything….?
The gift box themed boxwood design was made for the busy intersection of JFK and Winthrop Street in the center of Harvard Square. Look out for them as you do your holiday shopping!