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On this page you can find digitized historic resources pertaining to New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill and Worcester County Horticultural Society. New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is a nonprofit organization located at 11 French Drive in Boylston, Massachusetts. We are operated on 171 acres by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, one of the oldest of its kind in the country, and are open to the public for garden viewing, trail walking, activities, private events, classes, weddings, exhibitions, and more. To learn more visit our website.
Transactions of the WCHS
Transactions of the Worcester County Horticultural Society are annual reports dating back to the organization of the Society in 1840, however, they go well beyond what one normally finds in an annual report. The volumes provide a unique record of the horticultural history of the county, who was involved, what was being grown and exhibited in popular, well-attended exhibitions, and how the Society was growing and changing with the county. Digitized version are also available in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Grow with Us Newsletter
Grow with Us began in 1964 as the member newsletter of the Worcester County Horticultural Society. It started as a quarterly update of news and information, classes and lectures. In 1981 it became bi-monthly and by 1986 when New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill was established in Boylston, MA it took on a new design and offered more photographs. Since the 1980's and continuing through 2015 it went through various changes in frequency, content, format and style. It did not appear in 2016 and reappeared as a single, online only issue in the summer of 2017. Here we have digitized historic issues from 1964 to 1979. Issues from 2014 onwards can be found on our website.
Several historic exhibits have been preserved to share resources and interpretations that illustrate our history and collections.
Digitized Special Collections
NEBG is fortunate to have a couple of collections created by John Coulson who was the head gardener on Stephen Salisbury III's estate in Worcester. This volume documents the different cultivars in the Salisbury collection.
Impressions of Plants
This collection illustrates the range of John Coulson's interests and botanical expertise, and provides a useful record of flowering times of plants in and around Worcester circa 1890. It is thought to be the "one of the earliest set(s) of floristic records for the county."
Maurice E. Cook, son of Shrewsbury florist Herbert Cook, was a freshmen at the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1894 when students were expected to produce a herbarium.
A historic collection of nursery and seed catalogs.
Local Garden History Projects
Lost Gardens of Worcester County Community Garden History Project
Lost Gardens of Worcester County was a research project on the history of community gardens and other community-based gardening projects in Worcester. The aim of this project was to connect with local communities to the history of the landscape. The project focused on estate and other well-designed or well-known gardens of central Massachusetts, this project collected information on a wide range of gardens and their people. Below is the research that was collected as part of this effort.
Below are some of project resources:
- Ceccacci, Susan McDaniel (2015). Living at the City's Green Edge: Bancroft Heights; a Planned Community in Worcester, Masachusetts. Cambridge: TidePool Press.
- Earle, Alice Morse (1901). Old Time Gardens, Newly Set Forth. N.Y.: Macmillan.
- Erskine, Margaret A. (1981). Heart of the Commonwealth, Worcester: an Illustrated History. Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor Publications.
- Favretti, Rudy (1966). Early New England Gardens,1620-1840. Sturbridge, MA: Old Sturbridge Village.
- Fletcher Steele Archive. NY: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
- Forty Immortals of Worcester and its County (1920). Worcester: Worcester Bank and Trust.
- Kingsley, Elbridge (1895). Picturesque Worcester. Springfield, Mass.: W.F. Adams. (3 vol.)
- Nutt, Charles (1919). History of Worcester and its People. N.Y.: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. (4 vol.)
- Rice, Franklin P. (1899). The Worcester of 1898. Worcester: F.S. Blanchard.
- Some Historic Houses of Worcester (1919). Worcester: Worcester Bank and Trust.
- Transactions of the Worcester County Horticultural Society. Worcester: The Society, 1840-2006.
- https://archive.org/details/towerhill (October 6, 2015)