Events in Norfolk and Across New England

The 350 Greater Franklin Node
Dates:  First and Third Thursday of every month, 2020
Time:   7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place:  First Universalist Society in Franklin, 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA

Evenings with Experts: 2020
Sponsored by Grow Native Massachusetts
Dates:  First Wednesdays February through May 2020
Time:   7:00-8:30 pm
Place:   Harvard University Science Center Hall 8, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Climate Change, Conservation, and the Role of Native Plant Horticulture presented by Jesse Bellemare
Date:  Wed March 4, 2020
Place: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA
As our world warms, the distributions of many native plant species are shifting with the climate. But not all species will keep pace with modern climate change, and some could face extinction. This poses a dilemma— what role should we take in helping native plant populations migrate? How do we balance our instinct for preservation with the risk of a relocated plant species disrupting the ecology of its new region? Jesse Bellemare will explore these questions in the context of the constant evolution of plant ranges over time, and the current insights we can gain from native plant horticulture.

Jesse Bellemare’s research focuses on the ecology and biogeography of forest plants in the eastern United States. He has authored numerous scientific articles about the impacts of climate change, invasive insects, and land-use history on plant populations. In addition to his research and teaching at Smith College, he is currently the president of the New England Botanical Club.

Deigning with Plant Communities presented by Dan Jaffee
Date:  Wed April 1, 2020
Place: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

All too often, during the design process, we think of plants on an individual or species basis. Yet in the landscape, plants are constantly interacting with one another in intricate ways. What happens if we create planting plans focused on complete systems rather than collections of individuals? Join us to learn how to create healthy, resilient plant communities that are beautiful and ecologically vibrant. Dan Jaffe will discuss how to select and combine the right species for specific site conditions, and how this community-oriented approach can be applied to plantings of all sizes.

Dan Jaffe is passionate about ecological horticulture, and enhancing the wildlife value of every landscape. Prior to joining Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary, he was the senior plant propagator at Garden in the Woods. He is the co-author of Native Plants for New England Gardens, which features his captivating photographs.

Native Bees: Our Pollination Powerhouses presented by Heather Holm
Date:  Wed May 6, 2020
Place: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA
Native bees are the most important and effective pollinators for our flowering plants. Although they play a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity, they are poorly understood and under threat from human activity. Heather Holm will teach us how to recognize common bee genera, and enlighten us about their fascinating life cycles, nesting habitat, and foraging needs. Come learn more about the mutualistic relationships that they have with native plants— a powerful reminder that the salvation of one is inextricably linked to the proper stewardship of the other.

Heather Holm is an expert on pollinators whose first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, brought her national attention. She is a sought-after speaker who is passionate about educating audiences. Her recent book, Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide, won the 2018 American Horticultural Society Book Award.

“Companion Planting and Design” with Kate Donovan of Blackstone Valley Vegetable Gardens
Sponsored by the Pepperell Garden Club
Date: Wed Feb 12, 2020
Time: 6:45 PM
Place: Pepperell Senior Center, 37 Nashua Road, Pepperell, MA

“Healthy Lawns and Lawn Alternatives” with Betty Sanders
Sponsored by the Medfield Garden Club
Date: Wed Feb 12, 2020
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Place: United Church of Christ, 496 Main Street, Medfield MA

Valentines Floral Design
Sponsored by Mass Horticultural Society
Date:  Wed Feb 12, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Place: Mass Hort, Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA
Price: $50 with membership card

Using flower and foliage that you might find in your own yard and garden, learn the basic techniques of floral design in this workshop led by Barbara Rietscha, owner of Field & Vase. Flowers and supplies will be provided.

Field and Vase by Stow Greenhouses is a floral design studio specializing in fresh, locally grown, seasonal arrangements using flowers cut from our own family-owned farm which is located 30 miles west of Boston in Stow, MA. Our flowers go from the field to the vase within a day of being cut, meaning they smell sweeter and last longer in the vase. We cut the best of what is blooming each day and bring the flower field to you at your home, business or wedding.

Stow Greenhouses has grown from the wholesale cut lily farm that it was to the expanded floral design studio and cut flower farm that is today’s Field and Vase. In addition to the floral design studio and farm, we operate a retail location at the Boston Public Market, attend seasonal farmers’ markets and supply flowers to local floral designers and businesses. We grow over 90 varieties of flowers including sweet peas, peonies, dahlias, sunflowers and many other old-fashioned favorites. Register for Mass Hort Classes at

Barbara Rietscha runs the day-to-day operations of the business and oversees everything from first seeding to final arrangement. Born in PA, Barbara had a circuitous route to flower farming. After graduating from college with a chemistry degree, she moved to Central Africa to teach farmers how to raise fish. When she returned home, Barb learned how to program computers and then moved to the business side of things and got her M.B.A. After the birth of her 2nd son, she took some time off to raise her 3 sons until she and Dave bought the farm in 2010.           

Barbara has studied with Erin Benzakein of Floret and completed the program at Rittner’s School of Floral Design in Boston. She uses flowers and herbs grown on her farm as well as things foraged from the property. Her style is organic and natural and she likes to bring the garden to the vase whether it is for a bride, home or office. Barbara is motivated to educate her customers about the local flower movement as well as support local farms and businesses. She enjoys being outdoors and skiing and her retirement plan is traveling across the country in an Air Stream.

Help Save Norfolk’s Kingsbury Pond
Date: Thurs Feb 13, 2020
Time: 6:00-9:00 PM
Place: Norfolk Town Hall, 1 Liberty Lane, Norfolk, MA
Did you know that Norfolk’s Kingsbury Pond is slowly drying due to Franklin’s Town Well #4? What was once a thriving 28 acre great pond is now a third of its original
size. Please attend this public hearing with Shawn Dooley and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to discuss Franklin’s water usage, their upcoming pumping permit renewals, and what can be done to save Kingsbury Pond.

Monthly Meeting of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Massachusetts
Dates: Saturdays Feb 15, March 21, April 25, May 16, 2020
Time:  1:00-4:00 pm
Place:  Norfolk Public Library Community Room, 2 Liberty Lane, Norfolk MA
New members are always welcome.

Humans and their use of Plants – Gretel Anspach
Sponsored by Mass Horticulture Society
Date:   Tues Feb 18, 2020
Time:  6:30 pm -8:00 pm
Place: Mass Hort, Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA
Price:  $40 with membership card

In this Tuesday evening class Gretel Anspach will cover how agriculture influenced civilization and how changes in the last century have impacted our food and environment. We will look ahead and discuss how the choices we make as consumers influence the future of food. Register for Mass Hort Classes at

Gretel Anspach is a Lifetime Master Gardener with the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, a Trustee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and a recently-retired systems engineer for Raytheon. Gretel helped to establish and maintain two food production gardens that have provided fresh produce to the Marlboro Food Pantry for the last eight years.

Understanding and Controlling Invasive Plants
Sponsored by Mass Horticultural Society
Date:   Thurs Feb 20, 2020
Time:  7:00 pm -8:30 pm
Place: Mass Hort, Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA
Price:  $15 with membership card

This talk will be an introduction to common invasive plants found the Northeast. Horticulturist and Ecological Landscaping Alliance Board member, Bruce Wenning, will discuss why these new pests of the landscape are dangerous to the ecology and sustainability of unmanaged landscapes, and what you can do to manage these plants at home. Register for Mass Hort Classes at

Bruce Wenning has been involved with exotic invasive plant management for 20 years organizing and working with conservation nonprofit volunteers and volunteer groups. In addition he has given field workshops about invasive plant identification and control methods for the Ecological Landscaping Alliance (ELA). He is on the ELA Board of Directors

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Beneficials presented by John Root, Naturalist and Landscaper
Sponsored by the Norfolk Grange and the Norfolk Cultural Council
Date:  Wed March 25, 2020
Time:  7:00 pm
Place:  Norfolk Grange, 28 Rockwood Road, Norfolk, MA
Learn how to welcome songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial organisms to your yards and neighborhood through this warn and engaging 90 minute interactive presentation.

Open to the public at no charge; perennials for edible landscaping and attracting birds, butterflies, and other beneficial wildlife will be offered for sale.