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There is something for everyone at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.  Below is a list of our scheduled events classes, and exhibits.  For details on any individual listing, just click on the event for more information.  If you still have questions, feel free to call the garden at 413.298.3926.  See you at the Garden!

May
22
Wed
New Approaches to Supporting Local Farmers @ Berkshire Botanical Garden Education Center
May 22 @ 11:00 pm – May 23 @ 1:00 am


copy-copy-financingourfoodshed-book1Berkshire Botanical Garden and Berkshire Grown are co-sponsoring this evening presentation and discussion. Join Carol Peppe Hewitt, author of Financing our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money, and Dorothy Suput, founder and executive director of The Carrot Project and Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund, to talk about new ideas to support local farmers. A reception featuring local food will follow.

May
25
Sat
Opening Reception for Rare Earth: Garden Pots as Sculpture @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
May 25 @ 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm


RareEarth1

Curated by Joyce Nereaux, who presented exhibitions of birdhouses in 2008 and benches in 2010, Rare Earth:  Garden Pots as Sculpture displays the work of Mark Hewitt in creating a wide variety of magnificent, huge containers.  Join us for the opening where there will be a cocktail party and guided tour – May 25th from 5-7.  All pots on display in this exhibit will be for sale.

For More information on Mark and his work, visit his website at:  www.hewittpottery.com

We also feature Mark and the exhibit, Rare Earth, in this past issue of “Cuttings.”  Below is the article written by Joyce Nereaux.  To view the full issue of “Cuttings”  click here.

Rare Earth:  Mark Hewitt’s Mighty Pots

Garth and more 024_2_1Regional pottery traditions are like wildflowers that grow only in special soils and microclimates. Seen in this context, Mark Hewitt’s massive pots on display at Berkshire Botanical Gardens are like extremely rare and astonishingly beautiful blooms. North Carolina, where Hewitt makes his majestic work, is home to the only extant Anglo folk pottery tradition in the US, and Hewitt is one of its greatest contemporary stars.

Think for a moment about the music that the American South has produced – the Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Country, even Elvis. This music is the foundation of contemporary American popular music. The cross pollination of cultures that produced these iconic musical forms also produced distinctive decorative arts – furniture, metalwork, and pottery. Yankee salt-glazing potters from Connecticut headed South in the early 19th century and met South Carolina potters who were in turn influenced by English journeymen and enslaved African-Americans. “It all came together in North Carolina, the place is a veritable melting pot, and has long been home to one of the world’s great ceramic traditions,” says Hewitt, “The potters produced utilitarian wares that rise above their functionality to become statements of design – classic forms skillfully made, fit for use, and fit for imaginative interpretation.”

Writing for the 2011 exhibition, “Mark Hewitt’s Big Hearted Pots,” at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans, Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, Christopher Benfey, plays with the musical connections in Hewitt’s work. “Crossroads: three young lads from Britain, Eric Clapton and his mates, listen to old records by Southern bluesmen from the 1930’s and came up with music utterly new and fresh, where you can feel the crossing in your bones of two traditions – rural and urban, African-American and alienated European, soft and very, very loud – in creative tension. Or a young lad named Mark Hewitt, from the Staffordshire “Potteries” in the English Midlands, listens to the music of Southern potters and comes up with his own distinctive kind of ceramic music, utterly new and fresh – and very, very big.”

North Carolina is to the pottery world what Broadway is to theater, and Hewitt has been a leading actor on its stage for the past thirty years. America’s preeminent folklorist, Henry Glassie, Professor Emeritus and the University of Indiana, writes, “At the center, with his colleagues from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, stands this tall, handsome man from England, Mark Hewitt – in place, at home – productively, inspirationally at work, a great American master.” How did he earn this accolade?

His background gives us some clues. Born into a family of industrial ceramists, where his father and grandfather were Directors of Spode, Hewitt was surrounded by pots from birth. But as a teenager he rebelled from this industrial aesthetic, finding beauty in Sung dynasty Chinese and old African pots instead. After university he apprenticed with legendary British studio potter, Michael Cardew, subject of Yale University Press’s recently published biography, “The Last Sane Man, Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and the Counterculture.” His three year stint with Cardew included hitchhiking across the Sahara desert to study West African pottery – perhaps the phrase should be rewritten, “mad dogs and English potters go out in the midday sun.”

In 1979 he finally drifted ashore in Connecticut, just a few miles down Route 7 from Stockbridge, to work at Cornwall Bridge Pottery, serving a second three year apprenticeship with another ex-Cardew apprentice, Todd Piker, and while there, he fell in love and married Carol Peppe, daughter of Canaan, CT veterinarian, Dr. Vincent Peppe, and together they left New England for the South in 1983.

Benfey writes tellingly about the way Hewitt has absorbed North Carolina’s folk pottery tradition, “The vision of North Carolina that Hewitt conveys in his writing and in his work is audacious and compelling. He talks the talk and walks the walk; in so doing he has bent inherited tradition into potent new shapes. His big-hearted pots are on a truly heroic scale – heroic in conception and execution. They place him in the company of the great folk potters who have preceded and inspired him.”pots

Rare Earth feels like a homecoming,” comments Hewitt, now 57, “I’m back where I first arrived in America, bringing fresh blooms – my best new work – to New England from North Carolina. This group of big pots is the product of thirty years refinement of technique, materials, and a singular but ever-evolving aesthetic.” His big pots instantly command attention, whether they’re classically shaped vases or jars, or his more recent abstract ‘Sentinels.’ They fit majestically into a landscape, or even in an elegant interior, drawing your eye to them, challenging and consoling in equal measure, and, like old friends, you are always glad to see them. Henry Glassie writes, “Other ceramic confections cower in closets or parade across shelves, but Mark’s pots stand outside, braving the wind and weather, becoming part of the landscape, like houses, like barns, like temples.”

He continues, “Robust and beautiful, Mark Hewitt’s pots disturb distinctions, disrupt dichotomies. Inside and outside, folk and fine, old and new, native and alien, art and craft, the utilitarian and the aesthetic – Mark’s pots mix and merge categories in centered courage. They stand in the midst of life, where academic antimonies fade away, and work is good and true and human.”

Be sure to see this magnificent collection of big pots at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens. “Rare Earth” runs from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

Jun
8
Sat
Tasting Terroir: A Story of Earth, Wine and Human Hope @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jun 8 @ 8:00 pm


TastingTerroir1Consider the role of terroir throughout the history of wine.While highlighting the essential role of earth in the terroir that many people believe characterizes fine wine, author Paul Lukacsand wine merchant Jim Nejaimewill present a lecture and tasting. Based on his new book, Inventing Wine: a New History of One of The World’s Most Ancient Pleasures, Paul will present the intriguing investigation of terroir: its facts and fictions. Wines featured will demonstrate the significance of terroir. Paul’s new book will be sold following the lecture, and showcased wines will be available for order.

Paul Lukacs is the author of American Vintage and The Great Wines of America. A James Beard, Cliquot and IACP award winner, he has been writing about wine and its cultural contexts for nearly 20 years. He is a professor of English at Loyola University of Maryland, where he directs the University’s Center for the Humanities. Jim Nejames, a wine merchant, owns Spirited, a retail wine store located in Lenox, MA. He finds and sells great wines from around the world and specializes in wine consulting, stocking wine cellars, wine classes and wine tastings.

Wine tasting, book signing and sale to follow the talk.

Aug
9
Fri
Family Fridays – Birds of Prey – Tom Ricardi, Wildlife Rehabillitator @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 9 @ 2:30 pm

Birdsofprey1

Our popular Family Fridays are back!

Meet the feathered, hairy and scaly creatures that live near and far.  Family Friday programs are for children and adults, open to all, and free with paid admission to the garden.  Designed to develop an appreciation of the natural world, these programs will inform and delight participants of all ages.  These popular programs meet in the Education Center at 10:30am.

Join wildlife rehabilitator Tom Ricardi for his ever popular presentation on birds of prey. This program is designed for families. Tom will share the natural history of these magnificent birds, demonstrate some of their unique behaviors and will inspire children of all ages to appreciate, respect and conserve these important members of our wild kingdom.

Tom Ricardi is a licensed rehabilitator and wildlife biologist. He runs Massachusetts Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center in Conway, MA, and is now retired after 40 years of service as a Massachusetts Environmental Conservation police officer.

Aug
10
Sat
Contained Exuberance: Walk About Tour @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 10 @ 3:00 pm

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Each year we bring together some of the region’s most talented designers and invite them to create individual container gardens that we display in an exhibit we like to call Contained Exuberance.  Tucked away in different spots throughout the Garden, one of the highlights of this exhibit will be on August 10th at our Designer Walkabout, where we learn the stories behind the designers’ visions.  It never fails to yield insight and ideas.

Aug
16
Fri
Family Fridays – Meet Atka, Ambassador Wolf @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 16 @ 2:30 pm

Atka

Our popular Family Fridays are back!

Meet the feathered, hairy and scaly creatures that live near and far.  Family Friday programs are for children and adults, open to all, and free with paid admission to the garden.  Designed to develop an appreciation of the natural world, these programs will inform and delight participants of all ages.  These popular programs meet in the Education Center at 10:30am.

Meet Atka, Ambassador Wolf

from the Wolf Conservation Center

Join Atka, a magnificent arctic gray wolf,  and Maggie Howell from the Wolf Conservation Center of South Salem, NY, for an awe-inspiring, up-close encounter with this important but misunderstood predator. Learn about the natural history of wolves in the United States, the importance of wolves in a healthy ecosystem and the efforts to save these magnificent creatures for future generations.

Maggie Howell is Director of the Wolf Conservation Center, the pre-eminent facility in the eastern United States for the captive breeding and re-release of endangered wolves. She earned a BS in Biology from Vassar College, with a focus on animal behavior. She has been working with large predators since 1998 and with WCC since 2005.

Aug
23
Fri
Family Fridays – Snakes and Frogs @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 23 @ 2:30 pm

Familyfrog1

Our popular Family Fridays are back!

Meet the feathered, hairy and scaly creatures that live near and far.  Family Friday programs are for children and adults, open to all, and free with paid admission to the garden.  Designed to develop an appreciation of the natural world, these programs will inform and delight participants of all ages.  These popular programs meet in the Education Center at 10:30am.

Snakes and Frogs

Tom Tyning, Reptile Expert

This program, designed for families, is an introduction to local amphibians and reptiles, animals that are both fascinating and elusive. More than 30 different frogs, salamanders, turtles and snakes inhabit Berkshire County, and we know little, if anything, about many of them. Professor Tom Tyning will encourage families to get to know these animals, from tadpoles and turtles to salamanders and snakes. A small collection of local live animals, including snakes, will be available for close examination.

Tom Tyning is Professor of Environmental Science at Berkshire Community College. He specializes in reptiles and amphibians in his research and actively researches local rattlesnake populations.

Sep
19
Thu
The High Line and Battery Park City @ Field trip - Bus will depart from Berkshire Botanical Garden promptly at 7:30
Sep 19 @ 11:30 am – 10:30 pm


This event is almost full.  To make a reservation, please call the Garden at 413.298.3926.
Join the staff of the Berkshire Botanical Garden for a late summer visit to Battery Park City, located at the tip of Manhattan. We will tour this extensive landscape—perhaps one of the most concentrated parklands in America—with the colorful David Dew Bruner, who will focus on design. We will visit areas of the park including Michael Van Valkenberg’s Teardrop Park, Oehme van Sweden’s Rockefeller Park, two gardens designed by Lynden Miller and landscapes by Olin Partnership and other exceptional designers. In addition to these amazing gardens, there is abundant public art to view, including the Irish Hunger Memorial designed by Brian Tolle, the magnificent “Ice Wall” by Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercii and sculptures by Jim Dine, Louise Bougeois and many more.Highline

From Battery City Park we will travel north to the cutting-edge gardens of the High Line, New York City’s newest park, built on an elevated 1930s freight rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side. Tour the newly completed section of the High Line with native-plant specialist Drew Monthie and learn about the imaginative plant combinations of this naturalistic planting. These extensive gardens echo the wild, self-seeded landscape that grew up on the structure after the trains stopped running.

Enjoy a stimulating day in the city with some gardening friends. A morning snack and late-afternoon refreshments will be provided, compliments of the staff of Berkshire Botanical Garden.

 

Oct
19
Sat
Sissinghurst: Portrait of a Garden @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 19 @ 2:00 pm


We are almost full for this event!  Please call the garden at 413.298.3926 to inquire about availability and purchase tickets .
Join former Sissinghurst head gardener Alexis Datta for a first-hand look at the gardening year at Britain’s fabled garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England.  Designed by writer Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband Harold Nicolson, this iconic landscape is one of the most renowned gardens in the world. Portrait of a Garden gives a short history of Sissinghurst Castle, the gardens, the creators, its philosophy and a visual tour that is sure to inspire.  The gardens at Sissinghurst have certainly evolved over the years since its inception in 1930 and, though being conserved, it is currently being gardened in a dynamic way.  Get the down and dirty on gardening from the woman behind the scenes at this classic English garden.Sissinghurst2

 Alexis Datta has been a professional gardener for over forty years and spent twenty-two of them as head gardener at Sissinghurst. She studied gardening at horticultural college in England, and has worked at several private and public gardens.  In 1983 she joined the National Trust, which cares for many of Britain’s leading gardens and arrived at Sissinghurst in 1991.Oct 19 Portrait of a Garden Alexis Datta(1)

Feb
12
Wed
Seed-A-Thon @ Berkshire Botanical Garden - Center House
Feb 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Please RSVP to this event by calling 413.298.3926.  There is no charge, we just want an idea of who’s coming!  This event will be held in the Center House on the grounds of the Berkshire Botanical Garden.  Bring your seed catalogs and any seeds you might have to swap.  Refreshments will be served!

seedathon

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