October Newsletter


Photo of the month

"Autumnal Splendor" - New England chapter president Ruth Riske basks in fallen leaves at the wetlands restoration site in Weston, MA which was visited as part of our chapter-sponsored, two-part informative series on dealing with wetlands protection regulations.  See our story below, and don't miss part 2 on Novmber 16th!.

Want to see your photo featured here? Please send it to us for inclusion in our next newsletter.

Successfully Navigating Projects through the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, Part 1

Part One of "Successfully Navigating Projects through the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act” was held last week.

Michele Grzenda, Town of Weston Conservation Commission Administrator, shared an extremely informative presentation.  The audience took away a clearer understanding of the meaning and intent of the regulations and of the way town bylaws can change or impose additional regulations.

Following her presentation, Michele led participants to a nearby restoration project site.  The project was designed by Catherine Weirsema and installed approximately four years ago.  On a fall day, the site can only be described as an an immersion into “Autumnal Splendor.”  It was a superb example of design and conservation principles applied with an educated and exceptionally beautiful result. 

Visit our booth!

APLD's New England chapter will be represented at booth number NM26, located within the 'Network Central' area along the eastern side of the exhibition hall floor.

Members in the News

Tom Wilhelm, APLD receiving his 2016 Designer of the Year Award from Danilo Maffei, APLD at the annual APLD International Design Conference in Santa Fe, NM in September.  Tom also received a 2016 Chapter Service Award.

Photo credit:  Jim Douthit

If you or any APLDNE member you know has achieved a milestone, been profiled in local media or recognized with an award, please send us a notice for inclusion in our next newsletter.

September Newsletter

Photo: Tom Wheaton

Photo: Tom Wheaton


Photo of the month

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Summer Nights’ (Zones 4-9; 3-4' H, 2-3' W)

Tom Wheaton:  "These tall but delicate beauties started blooming back in early July, and are still going strong despite our dire drought conditions here in Littleton, MA."

Want to see your photo featured here?  Please send it to us for inclusion in our next newsletter.

Fall APLDNE Sponsored Events - a Two-part Series


Successfully Navigating Landscape Designs through the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act

In this two-part series of presentations, APLD New England chapter designers will share their experiences and insights into the process of securing approval for projects subject to review by local Conservation Commissions.

Assisting clients through the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act can advance the professionalism and expertise of your practice.  Don't miss this!

Part 1: "How to get started with your local Conservation Commission: What you need to know from a Conservation Agent's perspective."  (Thursday, October 20, 2016)

Presenters will identify those aspects of a project which are critical to WPA compliance, and detail how to properly prepare for the local & state review process.

 Part 2: "Two Case Studies, a Member Presentation"  (Wednesday, November 16, 2016)

Certified members Ellin Hanlon, APLD and Joyce K. Williams, APLD will each present a case study of a landscape project they designed that melded their clients' needs and desires for outdoor living spaces with what was not only acceptable to their local Conservation Commissions, but that heralded praise as projects that vastly improved current conditions, creating a win-win situation for their clients and the local ecosystems.

Events will be held at the Weston Public Library, 87 School Street, Weston, MA from 3:30 - 5:00 pm.  Events at the library are free and open to the public.  See also our "Upcoming Events" section below.

We'd Like to Hear From You!
Have a favorite standout plant for the coming month?  Something with big, beautiful blooms, fantastic foliage or killer color?  Please send a suggestion, along with a photo and/or a brief paragraph describing the qualities of that plant that have endeared it to you, for inclusion in our next newsletter.


The five New England chapter members identified below have received some of APLD's highest distinctions:  Designer of the Year awards for 2016.  These awards were formally presented at APLD's International Design Conference in Santa Fe last week.  More information, including images of the award-winning designs, can be found in the Fall 2016 issue of The Designer, APLD's quarterly publication, as well as on the designers' own websites.

Matthew Cunningham
Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design, LLC

Cambridge Garden - Cambridge, MA

  • Residential Design over $100,000

Beacon Hill Courtyard - Boston, MA

  • Small Garden

Clamshell Alley - Lamoine, ME

  • Residential Design over $100,000

Katherine Field
Katherine Field and Associates

Bridge House - Jamestown, RI

  • Residential Design over $100,000

Hilarie Holdsworth
Walker Creek Garden Design

Sawyer Free Library - Gloucester, MA

  • Non-residential Design

Kimberly Mercurio
Kimberly Mercurio Landscape Architecture

Chatham Cottage - Chatham, MA

  • Residential Design over $100,000
  • Planting Design

Coastal Landscape - Orleans, MA

  • Residential Design over $100,000

Tom Wilhelm, APLD
a Blade of Grass

Woodland Retreat - Newton, MA

  • Residential Design over $100,000

If you or any APLDNE members you know have achieved a milestone, been profiled in local media or recognized with an award, please send us a notice for inclusion in our next newsletter.

April Newsletter


2017 Boston APLD Conference Updates

Dear Fellow Members:

Your Local Site Committee (LSC) for the 2017 Boston APLD Interational Landscape Design Conference has been hard at work behind the scenes on initial planning.  But we need your help to make the conference a success.

We are interested, specifically, in hearing your ideas for a conference theme, gardens to visit, and speakers.

Like great design, a great conference is one that is collaborative in nature.

With your input, Boston 2017 will not only be a great success, but will reflect the great wealth of design experience and talent possessed by the chapter's membership.

Here’s how you can help:

Share your ideas for a theme

Each international conference has had a tag line to express its focus. Here are some examples:

  • 2016  Santa Fe: Art of Adaptive Design
  • 2015  Washington, DC: A Monumental Conference
  • 2013  Detroit: Growing Green, Flowing Blue, Pushing Through
  • 2010  Dallas: Discovery, Dreams, Design

Much like great design, once you arrive at an over-arching “theme” to a project, many of the design decisions fall into place. We feel this is also true for our conference.  The LSC would like our theme to honor our great horticultural and design past (Olmsted, Farrand, Sargent, etc.) while looking to the future with our innovations in leading-edge design, green roof technologies and sustainable practices.  So as you travel from site to site with your work, please consider what makes New England landscape design uniquely ours.

Please send your theme ideas to Nancy Lattanzio, nancylattanzio@gmail.com.


Propose your "must-see" gardens

Conference attendees cite the exclusive opportunities to visit high quality gardens as among the most significant highlights of the event. The LSC is looking for high-quality gardens that provide a strong, compelling narrative.  What makes the garden unique?   What elements stand out that make it exceptional in some way?  Is it materials, plant choices, design or layout?  Is it historical, whimsical or educational?

Criteria are as follows:

  • Site must be able to accommodate 50-250 visitors in a day
  • On-site parking is not required; however, site must be accessible to buses
  • Ideally, site should be accessible to those with limited mobility (canes, walkers, scooters, wheelchairs)
  • Photography must be permitted (Exceptions may be made under certain circumstances)

Gardens should be appropriately maintained and prepped for the day of the tour

APLD International is currently revising the Garden Tour Submission Form so it can be filled out online and submitted electronically.  We will let you know as soon as this is complete.  In the meantime, Tom Wilhelm can provide any member with the form.  He can be reached at: twilhelm@abladeofgrass.com   Lastly, this is a juried process between the LSC and the National Conference Board.  Submissions that make the first cut will be asked to submit a few photos for consideration.  Only approximately 16 gardens will be toured over the two days of Garden Tours and these will be limited to the Greater Boston area and surrounding suburbs.  This is done to limit travel time between sites.  Another 8 gardens located in Newport RI and Cape Cod will be included in the Post-Conference Tours.


Suggest speakers and topics you'd like to hear

Our national conferences are designed to broaden your knowledge of our craft and provide lasting inspiration.  We want our speaker lineup to be the best of the best, to provide cutting edge information and to inspire and motivate.   We want to showcase the tremendous talent that is here in New England.   We are looking to our membership to tell us what you want to hear about--and who you want to hear!   You can nominate speakers you want to hear or who have inspired you in the past, or just tell us what subjects you want to explore.  Drop a note to Love Albrecht Howard, alovea@comcast.net, to start the dialogue.

This is a call to all landscape designers in New England!  Working together, we can make this one of the best APLD conferences ever!

Your Local Site Committee,


Love Albrecht Howard

Nancy Lattanzio

Tom Wilhelm, APLD

Ruth Riske (chapter president)


Bodnant in Autumn


story and photos by Thomas Wheaton

Tal-y-Cafn, Wales, October 21, 2015
   It was late on a cool, drizzly, Welsh morning when we arrived at Bodnant Estate after a mist-shrouded drive over rain and leaf-slicked roads through the vales of Snowdonia.
   We parked in the street, terraced car park outside of the wall, and after some fortifying scones and hot chocolate in the Pavillion Tearoom, followed the ramp down and through a pedestrian tunnel under the road and wall, emerging in front of the welcome center for the 80-acre gardens

Entrance and Winter Garden
   My partner and I were visiting on a recommendation from my former Garden Design Schoolmentor Robin Templar Williams, whom we'd caught up with two days prior during a stop in Bath. 
   Bodnant lived up to his description from the moment we stepped out the back door of the reception building.
   A broad, straight gravel path, lined on one side with a deep herbaceous border along a high wall, led toward a glasshouse at the corner of the hall itself. In the border, maroon and crimsonCotinus contrasted beautifully with tawny drifts of tall grasses puctuated by dwarf evergreens.
   Opposite, past a narrower border filled with exuberant sprays of scarlet dahlias and Verbena bonariensis lay a rectagular lawn featuring a small, formal quadrangle of box-fringed beds with a fountain in the center. On the far side of the lawn stands the recently-opened Winter Garden, with its gently curving paved paths connecting to another small formal garden, this one circular in shape.

The Terraces
   Crossing the wide lawn to the south of the Hall, we explored the Italiante terraces. These compromise five levels with massive, buttressed granite retaining walls supporting lawns, lily ponds and lush mixed borders.
   The uppermost terrace, adjacent to the Hall, features a multitude of roses and offers views of the Carneddau mountains to the west...Well, on a clear day, perhaps -- but not today.
   Paths and steps of stone and brick (and beautifully repurposed millstones) led us down to the wide arc of a rose pergola which overlooks a long, narrow reflecting pool on the lowest terrace (known as the Canal Terrace) facing the Pin Mill, an 18th- century structure which was dismantled, moved to Bodnant from Gloucestershire and re-erected in 1938. 

The Dell
   From the Pin Mill, we took a path which led behind it, and across a stream and wound its way down the Old Mill, situated at the lower end of the Dell
   The river Hiraethlyn wends its way amongst moss-covered boulders through this steep valley after cascading over a spillway from a small pond higher up.
   It was here, under the direction of then-owner Henry Davis Pochin beginning in the 1870's, that designer Edward Milner created a showcase for specimen broadleaf and needle evergreens collected from Asia and North American including a number of Sequoiadendron. Looking up from the floor of the profoundly calm, shady valley at the broad, tall trunks of the century-and-a-half-old trees, I was reminded of the Muir Woods in California (and perhaps this is why).
   An assortment of Hydrangeas line the stream bed and paths up to the Waterfall Bridge, where we ascended steep paths and steps up and out of the Dell. 

The Shrub Borders
   Extending from the Poem back toward the Hall, the Shrub Borders contain aa myriad of rhododendrons, magnolias, Viburnums and camellias as well as shade perennials like astilbes.
   Here and there among the taller shrubs, hydrangeas continued to peak (owing, perhaps to north Wales' cool summers?). One in paricular literally stopped me in my tracks, its profusion of cerulean blooms set against a backdrop of golden foliage.
   At the end of the shrub borders nearest the Hall sits an oval pool called the Deep Bath, flanked by high walls and steps up to the main lawn. Magenta and red spikes of Agastache and Perisicaria stood out in the planting beds atop the walls.
   Departing the Shrub Borders, we crossed the lawn again to exit the garden, stopping to look over the Old Park, where a crew of hooved and wooly experts were tending to a light trim of the grass.
   And, of course, just as we were ready to leave, the sun decided to make an appearance.
   Stopping once again to admire the border we'd seen as we arrived -- now glimmering gold and orange, bathed in mid-afternoon sunlight -- before bidding Bodnant goodbye...until our next visit.