Get Your Hands Dirty!

Greenhouses at the Lyman Estate

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.

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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!

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Wafts of fragrant herbs flourish here in the greenhouses. Sample the different varieties of the scented geranium.

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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.

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Exotic houseplants, orchids, pottery, and gifts are available for purchase. Take home a piece of living history and some excellent photos!

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The Winter Garden

You may think gardens are sound asleep this season, but here are some examples of how the winter garden can be layered with intrigue and vitality throughout the colder months… We choose evergreens but we also consider the bark and branching structure of trees and shrubs. The seed heads of many perennials are as beautiful as their past flowers. Colors are heightened by a glaze of ice. Ornamental grasses bleached blond and dusted with snow are lovely. The winter garden is quiet and contemplative…a peaceful space.

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Deck the Halls in Harvard Square!

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.

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Spring on the Banks of the River Charles

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold one of the first signs of Spring: The daffodil!

For those of us taking cues from nature (not gauging our seasons by the calender), March is full of promise. Early buds blooming, birdsong and butterflies. With daylight savings only ten days away, the promise of extra sunlight is already upon us.

Look for the pussy willow, tiny little pops of lavender and yellow crocus.

A favorite of mine (a la my grandma), “When willows bloom, Spring looms!”

So be patient, fellow New Englanders. Spring is upon us.

 

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More Flowers in January

HELLEBORE!

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!?

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