Massachusetts Statewide Garden Tours 6/24 & 8/12
- From paths, to ponds, to pocket gardens – from borders, to backyards, to botanical gardens, native plant gardens are a growing trend! Join the Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) as we Celebrate Native Plants at designer-guided, homeowner-guided, or self-guided tours of private and public gardens that celebrate the beauty and ecosystem value of native plants and ecological practices. These two ELA Eco-tour dates will feature gardens designed entirely or primarily with native plants to educate attendees about the increasing options and applications for native plants. Garden hosts will share insights into native plant combinations and gardening techniques and the wide variety of garden settings will demonstrate that native plant gardens can be beautiful as well as functional. The tours are free, but pre-registration to each garden is required. Some gardens have limited access, so register early. View details and register.
- ELA Summer Workshop: Alternatives to Traditional Lawns
July 25 1:00 – 5:00pm
Traditionally managed lawns are resource-heavy, requiring irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides to thrive in our climate. Despite the “costs” lawns and turf are a predominant feature of the landscape and are valued for recreation as well aesthetics. With growing environmental awareness along with new regulations, it is imperative that responsible homeowners as well as lawn and turf professionals manage lawns and turf in the most ecological manner.
Following emerging best practices, it’s possible to create healthy lawns and turf that are functional and aesthetic and are managed in a way that eliminates negative impacts on human health and the environment, meets regulatory guidelines, and is cost effective. And when considering ecological lawns, one solution that is gaining momentum is to reduce or remove lawns in favor of more biodiverse alternatives.
1:30-2:00 Mary Owen
How Are New Regulations Affecting Landscape Professionals and Homeowners?
2:00-2:30 Dan Bensonoff
Neonicotinoid Regulations: Benefits and Practical Implications
2:45-3:15 Mark Richardson
3:15-4:45 Panel Discussion –Dan Jaffe, Moderator and Afternoon Speakers
This moderated discussion will follow up on speaker presentations and provide an opportunity for Q&A that encourages audience participation.
- On March 8 & 9, the ELA Conference & Eco-Marketplace presented new ideas, practical solutions, and inspiration. Hundreds of landscape professionals, property managers, conservationists, horticulturists, authors, academics, and more gathered for the 23rd annual ELA Conference. View the highlights from 2017. Save the dates for next year’s conference when we head back to UMass Amherst on March 7 & 8, 2018.
- Webinar Season 4: A Focus on Sustainability
In collaboration with the Cheasapeake Conservation Landscaping Council, EcoLandscape California, and the Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance, ELA is pleased to announce the webinar offerings for this year. ELA webinars (both current season and all archived webinars) are free to ELA Members. Webinars are available for $10 to non-members. View the upcoming schedule.
ELA members recently voted in a slate of officers for a three-year term. The new officers are Theresa Sprague, President; Toby Wolf, Vice-president; Michael Opton, Treasurer; and Maureen Sundberg, Secretary.
As Trevor Smith, ELA’s outgoing president, wraps up his term, he offers comments on his two years as ELA’s president. Read Trevor’s letter. And Theresa previews the next two years. Read Theresa’s letter.
At this time we must also bid farewell to three ELA board members. The ELA Board and Officers want to express appreciation for several years of service to retiring board members Jon Ford, Jeanne Lukenda, and David Queeley.
And we would like to welcome four new board members who were accepted for a three-year term with ELA’s Board of Directors. ELA’s new board members are Tabitha Harkin, Mark Highland, Marie Macchiarolo, and Angela Tanner. Learn more about ELA’s new board members.
THIS GROWING SEASON,
Create Ecological Landscapes
through a process of designing, building, and maintaining landscapes that consider the ecology of a site and create gardens that enhance the surrounding environment for the benefit of humans and all other life in the ecosystem. Each month the ELA Newsletter informs and inspires you to create ecological landscapes and the newsletter archives contain more than 15 years of valuable information. Sign up for the free ELA Newsletter today!
Rain Garden Installation – Community Building and Youth Training
ELA’s President, Trevor Smith of Land Escapes Design, recently collaborated with the Massachusetts Workforce Alliance, Groundwork Somerville, New England Wild Flower Society, and the City of Somerville to install two raingardens on the campus of Somerville’s Mystic River Housing Development. This project demonstrated the job, business, and industry creation potential in green infrastructure stormwater management techniques. Volunteers were trained in installation techniques, received hands-on experience, and learned about jobs in the industry. Click to view the video.
Highlighting the 2016 ELA Conference, microbiologist, professional mycologist, and author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Tradd Cotter, gave an inspiring keynote address. The audience was encouraged by the research that is taking place resulting in great excitement about the soil-healing potential of mycoremediation.
ELA educational events offer a wide variety of talks, demonstrations, panel discussions, and tours that provide valuable ecological education and networking opportunities. Join us at an ELA event soon for some inspiration of your own!
ELA’s Virtual Eco-Marketplace
Resource for Ecological Products & Services
The Conway School is an independent, private graduate program in sustainable landscape planning and design. Students spend ten months working on real projects that address the most pressing issues of our time. Graduates leave with a whole systems design approach, a professional portfolio, and a Master of Science in Ecological Design. Fix what's broken. Save what works. Design the future.
The mission of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Landscapes at George Washington University is to provide an innovative and relevant curriculum that reflects changing social attitudes towards the conservation and sustainability of our living environments.
Founded in 1991, Air-Spade is the market leader in pneumatic tools used by arborists and utilities for soil excavation.
Improving turf through proper topdressing has always been a key goal for Earth & Turf Products, LLC. Since 1997, Earth &Turf has been providing lawn care professionals, sports turf managers, golf course superintendents, and parks & recreation departments with quality-built topdressers that won't break the budget.
Amherst Nurseries is a Massachusetts based grower of nursery stock for landscaping, restoration and conservation. We offer a large selection of plants grown B&B, in containers, and in grow bags.
Fourth Generation is a family owned and run business, providing you with a complete source for all your Water Garden needs and an interesting selection of quality plant material to accent the landscape around the water garden. Our goal is to supply all your WATER FEATURE needs, encouraging the intelligent and sustainable use of water in the landscape, incorporating everything from aeration to ultra-violet, from pond liner to water storage systems, low-pressure irrigation options to porous paving, waterlilies and lotus for your pond to native plants for rain gardens. Who we are: We are your Supply Partner - a traditional stocking distributor old fashioned service and support to service & quality oriented “brick & mortar” dealers like Garden Centers, Nurseries, Pet stores and pond/landscape instalIers as you compete in the age of the computer and smart phone. Water in the landscape is our focus - Providing the products and knowledge to enable you to sell Ponds, waterfalls, streams, fountains, as well as pond & lake management, water harvesting & storage, responsible irrigation and storm water management solutions to new 21st century "Green" consumer. Fourth Generation Nursery, Inc 52 Bates St Mendon, MA 01756 Ph: 508-634-1914 Fax: 508-634-9030 e-mail: email@example.com www.fgnsales.com
New England Wild Flower Society is the nation’s oldest plant conservation organization and a recognized leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education. The Society’s headquarters, Garden in the Woods, as well as our native plant nursery at Nasami Farm offer a wide variety of neonicotinoid-free, New England native plants for any landscaping needs.
New Moon Nursery is a wholesale growers of eastern native perennial plant material for landscape professionals, container production, storm water management, and restoration. New Moon grows all plant material in deep plugs, suitable for planting directly in the landscape.
As the innovator of the Landscape Plug™, North Creek’s mission is to propagate and market plants that develop the relationship between people and sustainable outdoor environments. We specialize in growing Landscape Plugs™ of perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns and vines with an emphasis on Eastern US native plants.
We are a full-service wholesale nursery in Fairfield and Litchfield counties providing a complete line of ornamental plant material to the trade. With field and container production on separate farms in Connecticut, we sell a complete line of nursery stock including an extensive selection of landscape quality native plants at exceptional prices.
Specialty growers of quality native trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials of local provenance. Offering container grown and B&B to trade professionals. Contract growing available. Family owned and operated since 1935.
Since 1963, Bay State Forestry Service has provided the New England forest landowner with responsible, viable forest stewardship through comprehensive land management consulting: forest resource management planning, timber sale administration, invasive plant management, cost-share program assistance, property boundary maintenance and GIS/GPS mapping services.
Compostwerks is your source for organic products and equipment designed for the organic land care practitioner. Compostwerks provides a comprehensive range of tea brewers and sprayers and brewing supplies, tools, top dressing equipment, natural soil amendments and organic fertilizers.
Filtrexx International uses natural, bio-based materials for storm water filtration, soil erosion, storm water reduction, vegetation establishment and sustainability applications.
Providing innovative, environmentally sound, erosion control solutions since 1998. The first company in New England to pioneer and extensively use compost products for erosion control and stormwater management. These innovative techniques and materials are adaptable to a wide variety of sites including golf course and road projects, landfills, truck spills and residential developments.
Herbanatur offers exclusive patented Weed Control Solution in order to selectively control noxious and invasive weeds Wherever, Whenever!
Horticultural Solutions provides design and installations services, garden maintenance, and all other landscape services. We also provide consulting services and business seminars.
Native Habitat Restoration, LLC provides all aspects of habitat restoration services to private landowners, conservation organizations, and town, state, and federal agencies to help them manage invasive plant species and create healthier natural environments, great and small.
When considering your impact on the environment, consider Pavers by Ideal. If you are environmentally conscientious, or perhaps facing zoning restrictions on surfaces or areas that are limiting what you can build on your property, our eco-friendly permeable interlocking concrete pavers could be the right choice for you. A 4th generation family-owned business.
SumCo Eco-Contracting, LLC provides full-service ecological contracting – from excavation and custom soils to revegetation and invasive species control. SumCo's scientists and project engineers team with owners, consultants and general contractors to ensure that the ecosystems we build provide the functions and values of natural systems.
Distributors Of The Highest Quality Microorganisms, Biostimulants, Natural Fertilizers, And More.
Organic fertilizer made from fresh caught North Atlantic fish, cold processed.
Organic Plant Magic is an all purpose organic fertilizer alive with beneficial microorganisms.
Read Custom Soils supplies nearly any specialty soil specification - with the knowledge, experience and expertise needed to blend soil components to achieve the desired design characteristics.
There is synergy in the gathering of colleagues and peers. You asked for more opportunities to gather and talk with other ELA members about projects and strategies, and ELA listened. In June, ELA introduced ELA Members’ Receptions.
2015 ELA Members’ Reception
ELA South Shore Members Meet to Socialize
ELA members on the South Shore met for an evening of socializing and swapping landscape stories at the second ELA Members’ Reception. Members were welcomed by Southeastern Pine Barrens Alliance, an ELA collaborator, who hosted the April event at their new Community Center.
According to Theresa Sprague, ELA Vice-President and South Shore member, “This intimate and informal gathering gave members an opportunity to share stories and plans as we were all getting ready to jump into the upcoming season.
We enjoyed meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and lots of laughs throughout the evening.”
Would you like to schedule a Members’ Event in your area? Email ELA to get started.
2014 ELA Members’ Reception
The inaugural event took place in northeastern Massachusetts at the Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. This property, owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations, features kitchen and cut-flower gardens, potager garden, rose garden, and orchard on 91 acres. The evening began with a walking tour of the gardens with our TTOR host. Attendees enjoyed an interesting venue, a bite to eat, and time to talk to other ELA members about their exciting projects as well as landscape challenges.
Sue Storer, ELA founding member and current Treasurer, noted that she’s “excited to see ever more opportunities to connect with others in the field. The new Members’ Reception events actually bring ELA full circle to where we began – in small informal gatherings of practitioners eager for opportunities to compare notes, share information and resources, and often collaborate on projects.”
Additional Members’ Receptions are being planned: for September along the Massachusetts south shore; and October in the Boston area (details coming soon). We hope you’ll join us at one of these casual gatherings, but if you live outside of New England, perhaps you would like to host your own ELA Members’ Reception. Contact Penny Lewis, ELA’s Executive Director to to discuss options for regional events throughout the US.
Inspiration comes from many sources but it is especially appreciated when it comes in the middle of a long, cold winter. Meet recent winners of the ELA Environmental Vision Award at the Boston Flower & Garden Show.
An Environmental Vision – 2015
For the second year running, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit at the Boston Flower & Garden Show received the Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award. This year’s exhibit, “An Enchanted New England Woodland Walk” featured the border where planned landscape meets woods from a child’s perspective. One goal of the exhibit, according to John Forti, the organization’s Director of Horticulture and Education, was to encourage people, both young and old, to “find magic in the landscape” and to go out and explore their own yards.
The exhibit included a large hollow log, enticing garden gate, pint-sized chairs and table set for tea, and an array of visually appealing plant material that all worked together to draw a visitor into the landscape on both sides of the garden gate. But, according to Tricia Diggins, one of three ELA judges, “the wonderful complexity of the exhibit demonstrated how a child-friendly landscape goes much further than just not using chemicals on the lawn.”
Tricia along with Mark Richardson and Theresa Sprague, all members of ELA’s Board of Directors, judged the exhibits against a list of criteria that included conservation of resources, use of recycled materials, and a design guided by knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems. According to Mark, an ecological highlight of An Enchanted New England Woodland Walk “was the abundant use of native plants, many of which were sited with other plants as you would normally see them in natural plant communities.” He also noted the use of natural materials, like pine needle mulch, and the emphasis on habitat, including a vernal pool.
Theresa noted that “while the majority of the plant material was native, the exhibit also included a mix of non-native species that were appropriate to the ‘site conditions,’ particularly in areas where there would be more human activity such as by the seating area.” Though the exhibit incorporated many native plants, some carefully chosen non-native “traditional” plants, such as primrose, hellebores, and a variety of heather, she felt added “some human-habitat, creating a nice balance with the wildlife habitat and illustrating that the two are not mutually exclusive.”
The winner of the ELA Environmental Vision Award receives a $150 donation to the environmental non-profit of his choice.
An Environmental Vision – 2014
The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit “Eden on the Charles” at this year’s Boston Flower & Garden Show (March 12-16, 2014) received the Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award. “Eden on the Charles” illustrated the show theme, “Romance in the Garden,” with a design that highlighted two love stories that took place at Mass Hort’s Elm Bank Estate in Dover, MA.
Exhibits were judged against a list of criteria that included conservation of resources, use of recycled materials, and a design guided by knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems. Eden on the Charles featured moving water, a central player in the courtship of Ray and Betty Frost who canoed the Charles River at Elm Bank and stopped to picnic along the shore, but also an important component in habitat creation. Native plants used for focal points and “water wise” layering of plants added to the ecological qualities of the design. Kerry O’Kelly, ELA Board Member and judge, commented that the winning design provided a “hopeful reminder that stewardship of the landscape provides much more than clean water – it helps create landscapes people want to enjoy.” The exhibit’s waterside path and bridge draw one into the landscape where they can enjoy activity, such as canoeing, or a leisurely picnic lunch.
The Mass Hort design team led by Landscape Institute/BAC designers Suzanne Higham included Heather Heimarck (Landscape Institute Executive Director); Julia Esteves (owner of Juliagarden Landscape Design of Osterville); Piera Sassaroli (owner of Piera’s Landscape Design of Boston); Jeff Dube (University of Michigan graduate student in Landscape Architecture); Suzanne Higham (owner of Frog Hollow of Georgetown, MA); Bill Cuddy (owner of WJC Services of Rowley, MA); and Mass Hort staff David Fiske, Charlie Harris, and Clark Bryan. Together they created an exhibit designed to engage the public in the beauty of plants, gardens, and landscape design and to highlight the talents of landscape designers and green industry professionals in the practice and love of horticulture.
The winner of the ELA Environmental Vision Award receives a $150 donation to the environmental non-profit of his choice. This year MA Hort chose to donate to .
An Environmental Vision – 2013
The creator of the winning design, Crystal Brinson, Horticulturist from Fairhaven, MA, envisioned a garden design that took what appeared to be a naturally occurring spring, created a grotto that flowed into a dry stream bed, and gently inserted a cultivated area that “let the gardener enjoy nature up close.”
Exhibits were judged against a list of criteria that included conservation of resources, use of recycled materials, and a design guided by knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems. Brinson’s design showed a mastery of ecological design. And she extended her ecological ethos to all aspects of the display, using only organic fish and seaweed fertilizers and predatory insects to control fungus gnats and aphids. In addition to more decorative native plantings, she also included dandelions in the design “to remind everyone of their importance for feeding the bees in the spring.” Lettuce was grown in troughs to reduce fertilizer runoff.
Crystal was responsible for the concept and design for this year’s theme. She also oversaw installment after selecting and growing all the plant material. Her partner, Kenneth Jardin, designed the bluestone and reclaimed-granite bench, as well as the bluestone troughs. Phil Cook of Quintessential Gardens designed and installed the grotto and granite sculpture. Jessica Cook, also of Quintessential Gardens, contributed selected plant material and along with daughter, Dehlia Jane, was inspiration for the sculpture.
According to Trevor Smith, ELA Vice-President and one of the judges, Crystal’s “design incorporated numerous sustainable aspects, native plants, habitat, edibles, but the aspect that put it over the top for me was that the display was sustainably forced and maintained prior to the show. That is true environmental vision.”
The winner of the ELA Environmental Vision Award receives a $150 donation to the environmental non-profit of his choice. This year Brinson and the Cooks donated to the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA).