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This year, exhibitors at the Boston Flower & Garden Show at the Seaport World Trade Center were charged with creating designs around the theme “Seeds of Change.” Installations feature local stone and hardscape, native plants to greater and lesser degrees, and some innovative solutions for rain water, small spaces, and modern homesteading. Chickens and vegetable beds mix with clipped boxwoods and colorful forced plantings.

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If you’re planning on purchasing a Christmas tree this year, you might be wondering about its environmental impact.  Betsy Franz’ recent blog post addresses some of the benefits of live, and particularly locally grown trees.  Here are some Boston-area cut-your-own tree farms, courtesy of PickYourOwn.org.  Call first to check hours & availability!

  • D.J. Hussey Farm – Choose and cut Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Roping, Christmas shop.
    20 Burgess Road, Townsend, MA 01469. Email: djhussey@comcast.net. Open: 12/25 to 12/24: weekends 9 am to 5 pm; weekdays, 3 to 6pm.
    Christmas tree varieties: Blue Spruce, White Spruce, Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir, White Pine.
  • Durkee Tree Farm – Christmas trees-you choose and you cut, Christmas trees- you choose and we cut,
    260 Foster Street, Littleton, MA 01460. Phone: 978-486-4580. Open: from 11/27-12/13, Monday to Friday from 12 pm to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Payment: Cash, Check.
    Christmas tree varieties: Canaan Fir, Fraser Fir, White Fir (Concolor Fir).
  • Greenwood Tree Farm – Christmas trees- you choose and we cut, Precut Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths, Christmas boughs, garlands, mistletoe, Christmas decorations, trees tied, trees baled, free tree trimmings, saws provided, Honey from hives on the farm, gift shop, snacks and refreshment stand, restrooms
    96 Dudley Road, Billerica, MA 01821. Phone: 978-667-5380. Fax: 978-663-4712. Email: Cardbee@aol.com. Open: 11/27-12/23, Thursday and Friday 12 pm to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 4 pm. Click here for current open hours, days and dates. Payment: Cash, Check.
    Christmas tree varieties:
    You Choose and We cut varieties: Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir.
    PreCut varieties: Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, Grand Fir, White Fir (Concolor Fir).
  • Hazen Tree FarmMinimizes chemical and pesticide use, Christmas trees-you choose and you cut, Christmas trees- you choose and we cut, trees tied, trees baled, saws provided, restrooms
    166 Lake Drive, East Hampton, MA 06424. Phone: (860) 267-4159. Email: Hazentreefarm@hotmail.com. Open: 11/27-12/24 (call for days & hours).
    Christmas tree varieties:  Blue Spruce, White Fir (Concolor Fir), Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, White Fir (Concolor Fir).
  • Hopestill FarmCertified organic. Christmas trees-you choose and you cut, saws provided,
    117 Mill Street, Sherborn, MA 01770. Phone: (508) 653-5421. Email: farm@hopestill.com. Open: 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays after Thanksgiving, or weekdays by appointment. Click here for current open hours, days and dates. Payment: Cash, only.
    Christmas tree varieties: White Spruce.
  • Houdes Tree Farm – Christmas trees-you choose and you cut, Christmas trees- you choose and we cut, Precut Christmas trees, Living Christmas trees (to plant later), Christmas wreaths, Christmas boughs, garlands, trees bagged, trees tied, trees baled, free tree trimmings, saws provided, Santa & carolers.
    169 Berlin Rd, Marlboro, MA 01752. Phone: 508-485-1609. Email: info@houdetreefarm.com. Open:  Hours,  special events, & coupons.  Payment: Cash, Check.
    Christmas tree varieties: Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, Canaan Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, White Fir (Concolor Fir), Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine, White Pine.
    Living, rooted tree varieties: Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir.
  • The Tree Farm Minimizes chemical and pesticide use, Christmas trees-you choose and you cut, Precut Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths, Christmas boughs, trees baled, saws provided,
    421 Bolton Street (Route 85), Marlborough, MA 01752. Phone: 508-485-0683. Email: JillsTreeFarm@gmail.com. Open: 11/27-12/24, Friday-Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. Payment: Cash, Check.
    Christmas tree varieties: Balsam Fir, Canaan Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, White Fir (Concolor Fir).
    PreCut varieties: White Fir (Concolor Fir), Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir.

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Maple Syrup Brunch!

Groundworks Somerville is hosting their second annual Maple Syrup Project Brunch Fundraiser this Saturday, Dec. 4th at the Independent in Union Square, Somerville. They say it better than I can:

Brunch will be served from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 20% of proceeds will be donated to the Somerville Maple Syrup Project! The seasonal menu will feature maple-inspired offerings such as Maple sausage Belgian waffle, Maple pancake breakfast wrap with scrambled eggs and bacon, French toast with honey crisp apple compote, and much more.  Seating is limited so reservations are highly recommended! Call 617-628-9988 and identify yourself as a supporter of Groundwork Somerville and The Maple Syrup Project.

To learn more about the Maple Syrup Project, please click here.

To view a flier for this fundraiser event, please click MSP Brunch Flyer 2011.  Thank you in advance for helping to spread the word!

To RSVP and invite friends, please visit the facebook event here.

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Join us for Benefit Dinner on November 1, 2010 – at The Elephant Walk in Waltham – in support the Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design.  Gather for hors d’oeuvres & drinks at 6:00, followed by a prix fixe dinner at 6:30.   Includes award-winning Cambodian-French vegetarian, gluten-free, and meat options.  The Elephant Walk is donating 50% of the meal price and bar tab to COG.

Advance registration is required — register online through Elephant Walk’s online store.
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The Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (COGdesign) strengthens under-served communities by creating and improving neighborhood green spaces. They work in partnership with local organizations to provide pro bono landscape design services.

COGdesign has completed over 80 community-initiated landscape design projects in Massachusetts. More than 90 designers have participated in these projects. By revitalizing community sites, they make it possible for everyone to benefit from the restorative power of green spaces. COGdesign connects neighborhood organizations with designers and resources for successful landscape development.

COGdesign partners with a range of community-based organizations such as affordable housing groups, community gardens, schools, houses of worship, historic sites, park and neighborhood associations, and other non-profit and municipal entities.

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Last weekend, I attended Russells’ Winter Fair to educate guests about organic landcare and NOFA.  I shared a table with Natick Community Organic Farm, which is hosting a maple sugaring festival this Saturday, March 6, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m..  They’ll start out with a pancake breakfast, then demonstrate Native American and Colonial sugaring techniques, as well as offering tours of their modern maple sugaring operation.

This year, even city-dwellers seem to be taking note of maple sugaring season.  Urban community farms and gardening programs have increased awareness by soliciting help from homeowners, one tree at a time.  Natick Community Organic Farm reached out to homeowners and local municipalities to reach their goal of tapping 100 trees to supply the syrup for next weekend’s pancake breakfast.  In Somerville, the town with the highest population density in  New England, elementary school students learn to tap trees in neighbors’ yards with  Groundworks Somerville.

It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.  In a city like Somerville that has approx. 2.5 times more people than trees, it really does “take a village” to make syrup.

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As the landscaping season winds down, there are many opportunities to start dreaming and planning for next year.  Imagine a space that will nourish the body and soul, while reducing utility bills!

Healing Spaces:  The Science of Place and Well-Being – Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. Trinity Church (Copley Square), Boston.  Ester M. Sternberg, M.D., National Institutes of Health, will explore how surroundings—a theme park, concert hall, cathedral, labyrinth or garden—can trigger or reduce stress, induce anxiety or instill peace.

“NOFA Nourishes Massachusetts” – Saturday, Nov, 14, 6:00 pm, The Bull Run Restaurant (215 Great Road/Rt. 2A, Shirley MA) to raise funds for The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). Local organic meal, silent auction, and more.  More details here.

Pollinator-Friendly Landscaping – Nov. 17 10 am – noon, Tower Hill Botanic Garden.  As New England’s landscape becomes increasingly developed, backyards are becoming a “final frontier” in providing essential habitat for at-risk pollinator species that play an integral role in the health of our environment. Garden Coach and Habitat Naturalist Ellen Sousa will explain how to help sustain and restore pollinator populations in your own back yard, regardless of its size or location. Learn to choose the best plants to help feed and shelter pollinators, and some best practices for encouraging biodiversity in your backyard.

Charles River Watershed Association: Frontiers in Sustainable Design – Friday Nov. 20th, 6:00 pm, Boston Architectural College, (320 Newbury Street, Boston) Cascieri Hall.  Sponsored by the BAC & Boston Society of Landscape Architects.  “Going beyond green cities to blue cities: How can architecture, landscape architecture and urban design effect water quality and quantity?”

Designing an Ecological Home and Landscape – Wednesday, Dec. 2,4:00-6:00 pm, Nordic Hall of the Scandinavian Living Center, 206 Waltham Street, West Newton, MA.  Join Marie Stella and Aran Byrnes for this Ecological Roundtable to explore the process of creating an ecological and sustainable home and landscape that features environmental awareness, reduced energy consumption, sustainability, and innovative uses of plant material.

NOFA/MASS Winter Conference: Food From Farms For Families – Jan 16th, 2010, 9am-5.30pm, Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, MA.  Over 40 workshops on organic farming, gardening, landscaping, and sustainable living!  Includes children’s programming, expo of organic products/services, and local, organic lunch.

Join Carolyn Edsell-Vetter of A Yard & A Half for her course on Gardening in Small Spaces:

Living densely has many benefits, but may come at the price of growing our own food or relaxing outdoors.  Yet, we can nourish our bodies and souls using space afforded by a roof deck, patio, or small yard.  Learn about small space design, edibles for containers, and vertical gardening, plus small-scale bioshelters, composting, and rainwater harvesting.

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The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) hosts its first annual fundraising dinner, “NOFA Nourishes Massachusetts” on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at The Bull Run Restaurant (215 Great Road/Rt. 2A, Shirley MA)  Purchase tickets now: $100 member/$125 non-member.

Evening program includes:

6:00pm: Silent Auction and cocktails
7:15pm: A multi-course gourmet dinner prepared by Bull Run Chef, consisting of local and organic ingredients from Massachusetts farmers and producers.
8:15: Speakers and Live Auction. Keynote by David Barber, co-founder of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant.

NOFA/Mass is a community including farmers, gardeners, landscapers and consumers working to educate members and the general public about the benefits of local organic systems based on complete cycles, natural materials, and minimal waste for the health of individual beings, communities and the living planet.

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