• Endicott House horticulturist Steve Wiswell (left) and Grounds Department head Andy Turcotte stand in the garden exhibit they created at the New England Spring Flower Show to exemplify the original rock garden from early 19th-century Endicott House. The exhibit won six awards and a gold medal.

    Photo / Donna Coveney

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Endicott House puts on a show


Horticulturist Steve Wiswell and Grounds Department head Andy Turcotte are savoring the six awards and one gold medal won by the MIT Endicott House exhibit at the New England Spring Flower Show.

The celebration ends on April 23.

On that evening, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MHS) will announce the theme for the 2002 show at its awards banquet. That's when next year begins for the Endicott House team.

"You talk about it for a week, and then you put it to bed for a month, said Mr. Wiswell. "By June, the ideas coagulate. Then you start working on it." Plant materials are collected in September and construction begins in November.

The 2001 awards were presented on March 16, the day before the nine-day show opened to the public at the Bayside Expo Center. The theme The Inspired Garden was a perfect match for Endicott House.

Mr. Wiswell and Mr. Turcotte and their team developed an exhibit that exemplified the spirit of the estate's original rock garden, including rhododendrons, hosta and leopard's bane. "We dug up plants from the estate to recreate the flavor of the historic garden," Mr. Wiswell said.

The exhibit included a pond and a brook on one side and an azalea garden on the other. Photographs of Rockweld, the original rock garden, taken in the 1916 were included in the exhibit, courtesy of the MIT Museum. They named the exhibit Rockweld Paradise, a Garden From the Past.

Rockweld Paradise won the MHS Chairman's Award as the most meritorious exhibit in the show. It also won the MHS education award, the Emily Seabar Parcher Exhibitors Award for excellence in landscape design, the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association award for distinctive use of hardy plant material, the New England Nursery Association Award for distinctive use of deciduous plants, and the Superlative Award for rural garden or landscape excellence that reflects the character of rural America's gardens and landscape.

This was the fourth New England Spring Flower Show in which Endicott House participated. In previous years, it won bronze, silver and gold medals.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 4, 2001.


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