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!
This year, we’ve invited six architects to the Garden to give us their artistic interpretation of the Potting Shed. The exhibit will run from May 5th through Columbus day, with an opening reception and cocktail party to be held on May the 4th from 5 – 7. A great way to celebrate spring in the Berkshires and welcome the opening of our 2013 season at Garden.
This event is generously sponsored by:
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
Regional 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.”
“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.
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.
Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9 pm: January 6, 13, 20, 27, 2015.
This is a beginning course in plant anatomy and physiology that covers a wide range of topics. The relationship between structure and function of seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits will be addressed. An understanding of how plants grow and respond to their environment is fundamental to the successful planting and cultivation of this enormous class of organisms. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level I program, or as an individual class.
Instructor – Joyce Hemingson, Ph.D. earned her degree in Botany from the University of Connecticut on the pollination biology of Clethra alnifolia (Sweet Pepperbush). She worked for many years as Director of Publications for White Flower Farm, located in Litchfield, CT. She is an active gardener and a longtime member of the North American Rock Garden Society.
Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475
Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9pm: February 3, 10, 17, 24, 2015.
Learn about the maintenance considerations that should be integrated into the design process. Students’ horticultural knowledge will expand to factor sustainable maintenance concerns with cost effectiveness into plant selection. Learn procedures for perennials, woody plants and lawns including transplanting, staking, fertilizing, winterizing, mulching, plant pathology and pest control with an emphasis on deer control. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level I program, or as an individual class.
Instructor – Brad Roeller, B.S. is a private landscape garden supervisor for Altamont Estate in NY. He is the former Garden Manager for the New York Botanical Garden and has spent his entire career in horticulture with a focus on sustainable gardening. He lectures extensively and instructs at the New York Botanical Garden, Berkshire Botanical Garden and for New England Grows.
Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475
Classes meet on Mondays, 6-9 pm: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 2015.
Focus on the “big picture” and learn the principles of design, importance of drainage, and view slides of both successful and troubled landscapes. Site selection, design concepts and client presentations will be addressed and students will complete landscape design assignments. This class has 5 sessions.
Instructor – Craig Okerstrom Lang, ASLA is a landscape architect located in Berkshire County. His vast business experiences ranges from public to private projects. He teaches a variety of programs for the botanical garden including graphic, design and business practices.
Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475
Join us as we open our 2015 exhibit “Water in the Garden” featuring sculptures, fountains, water plants and more! This year’s artists include Anthony Archer-Wills, John Piasecki, Mark Mendel, Jenna O’Brien, Bill Cummings, Angus Matheson for Black Barn Farm and Pergola Home.
On Friday, May 29th, we will be having an opening reception for the exhibit featuring a “walk and talk” with the artists. There will be drinks with light hors d’oeuvres starting at 5pm. This is a free event with a suggested donation of $10.
Though this is a free event, we would love it if you could RSVP to Amy at 413.298.3926 or to email@example.com.
See you there!
Come and get inspired for spring with the Bulb Show at the Berkshire Botanical Garden. The show, which is housed in the restored Fitzpatrick Greenhouse, is free to the public and open daily (including Saturday and Sunday) from 9 am to 4 pm.
It is also an ideal opportunity to order bulbs as part of the Garden’s annual Bulb Sale for planting the following fall.
What better way to say hello to spring than with PLANTS AND ANSWERS, our 39th annual Plant Sale. We’ve hand picked and grown some of our favorite plant selections and new varieties this year – you won’t want to miss it! If you would like to volunteer for this event or are interested in becoming a vendor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413.298.3926 ext. 10.
For a complete list of volunteer positions, click HERE.
WE NEED DONATIONS! Donate your unwanted garden and patio items for the tag sale. Donated items must be in good condition and in working order, ready to resell. Drop off at the Garden Mon-Fri, through May 7. Donations are tax-deductible.
Saturday, May 7
9 am -5 pm: Open to the General Public
On the grounds of the Berkshire Botanical Garden
At the junction of Routes 183 and 102 in Stockbridge, MA
Admission and parking is free
2016 Plant Sale Vendors
Blueberry Hill Market
Broken Arrow Nursery
Cricket Creek Farm
Daffodils & More
Deer No No
Designs by Jas
Gray Raven Farm
JK Custom Furniture
Meadow Farm Market
Mountain Girl Farm & Caroline’s Shortbread
Scott Harrington Landscape
Steve’s Tile Factory
Wood’n Rush Crafts
Zyra Clay Studio
PLANT SALE: Fabulous Plants Galore by Habitat
For a complete list of plants, click here: Plant Sale 2016 Catalog
Gardeners get a jump-start on the season with this annual plant sale, which has become an iconic harbinger of spring in the Berkshires. We have thousands of plants to choose from, appropriate to northeastern gardens, organized into the habitats in which they thrive.
Silent Auction: Bid on specialty plants, wall gardens, as well as green services.