The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Highgrove Florilegium exhibit is in full flower in the Hunnewell Carriage House at Elm Bank Reservation, 800 Washington St. The exhibition of 124 facsimile botanical watercolors of plants from Prince Charles’ extensive gardens at his estate in Gloucestershire, England is too divine and so very British. Darling, you simply must leave winter behind for a few moments and take a turn round the Hunnewell Carriage House. If you squint, and let your imagination go a bit, you could imagine that you’re in the Downton Abbey library, about to enjoy a cuppa tea, surrounded by lovely art.
I attended the opening reception, with its strawberries and brie and prosciutto nibbles, the approximately 120 guests milling about, wine glasses in hand, as they socialized and admired the watercolors of aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine), rhododendron basilicum (pink rhododendron), alyogyne huegelii (blue hibiscus) and others. The exhibition is free and open to the public through March 12 (click here for days and times).
The visual arts weren’t the only medium represented at the opening. On hand to set the mood were The Mavericks, an indie string quartet made up of Wellesley High School students (but not affiliated with WHS). Of course, they played all your basic Vivaldi, Bach, and Mozart, but it was their memorable rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Alleluia that really knocked my socks off. Absolutely beautiful, as were all the selections that members Alexander Izikson, Maeve Kelley, Kate Luo, and Elissa Moy set their bows to.
Indeed, the watercolors and The Mavericks served as artistic juxtaposition to some destructive hooligans who we hear recently spun through Elm Bank, tearing up one of the non-paved parking lots by doing donuts in their vehicle. Mass Hort Executive Director Kathy Macdonald might have gone full-blown apoplectic if not for the stalwart dog walkers of Elm Bank who just happened to have leashes in one hand and camera phones in the other. They snapped and shared photos of the antics, complete with license plate numbers. The police tracked down the perps, whose fate is unknown for now, however, we hear there’s some work to be done around Mass Hort (something about a ripped-up parking lot that could use some attention), as well as financial reparations to be made. Nothing like a bit of hard work to combat what could be the symptoms of a nasty case of affluenza.
Other ways to get in the springtime mood in Wellesley:
After you take in the Highgrove Florilegium exhibit, enjoy the Mass Hort grounds. I especially love the Bressingham Garden. Even winter can’t subdue a beauty with good bones.
Visit the Wellesley College Greenhouses.
Make plans to visit the Boston Flower Show. It runs March 16 -20 at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston.