Recently donated magazines with articles from the late 1930s and early 1940s mention New England Wild Flower Society, Will C. Curtis, and Garden in the Woods. They will become part of our historic archives.
Historic magazines tell a tale
by Bonnie Drexler, Education Director
Speaking recently to the Springfield Garden Club, the Society’s Dan Jaffe was approached by Larry Lirot of East Longmeadow, MA. Larry, who has collecting Horticulture magazine since 1928, had a few special issues to donate to our archives.
A letter from Garden in the Woods’ founder Will Curtis appears in the December 1, 1938 issue thanking people for their concern about the 1938 hurricane’s impact. Other issues contain news of New England Wild Flower Preservation Society, the name of our organization until 1969.
Horticulture, April 1, 1938
Wild Flower Society Notes
“The New England Wild Flower Preservation Society’s exhibit at the Boston Flower Show was developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts State College and was a nature trail with an information book at the end of the trail. Someone was always on hand to give information on the various subjects of conservation, and bulletins of the society were distributed and books, games and postcards were on sale.”
A description of the Boston Flower Show includes this paragraph:
“Beyond was one of the four exhibits set up by Mr. Will C. Curtis of South Sudbury, whose rare skill was shown to particular advantage in a miniature rock garden on the second floor – a garden containing only native American plants. Another unusual exhibit set up by Mr. Curtis, this one in the basement, demonstrated the most advanced method of propagating wild flowers.”
Horticulture, December 1, 1938
Dear Editor – Since the hurricane, almost every mail brings letters expressing the hope that “Garden in the Woods” did not suffer severe damage, along with sympathy for losses. It is most gratifying to hear from so many who have enjoyed the plant collections. The plantings suffered no considerable loss, although nearly 300 trees, many the largest and best and some in key positions, were uprooted or broken off. While there is still much left to be done, by the time Spring comes the place will be in shape again.
- Will C. Curtis
Horticulture, March 15, 1940
New England Wild Flower Preservation Society Notes
“At this time in March we long for Spring-like days when we can go out into the open and wander afield to see our first flowering things; namely, skunk cabbages, cut-leaf maples and pussy willows. After this, hepatics, arbutus and other Spring flowers will come along in rapid succession. .. This year as never before, let us resolve to teach people flower conservation, remembering that one of the greatest mistakes in life is to pick our rare wild flowers because we think that if we do not, someone else will.”
Describing the Boston Flower Show…
“Nature lovers who visited the show also spent much of their time in the nature trail, which was the exhibit of the New England Wild Flower Preservation Society, with headquarters at Horticultural Hall, and Mr. Will C. Curtis of South Sudbury, Mass. This exhibit was so well done that it was awarded the bronze medal of the Garden Club of America because of its educational and horticultural merit. Mr. Curtis also set up an interesting exhibit of insectivorous plants, which received particular attention from the public because of the fact that Lowell Thomas spoke about it in a national broadcast, as containing the ‘plants which eat hamburg.’”
Horticulture, October 14, 1942
Will C. Curtis was honored with a gold medal for his exhibit at the Victory Harvest Show in Boston, with the theme “Grow Food to Win the War”
“Will C. Curtis of ‘Garden in the Woods,’ South Sudbury, MA, set up a scene depicting harvest time in a backyard of 100 years ago. Heaped about the cellar doorway of an old house were products of garden and orchard awaiting sorting and storage. A gold medal was awarded for this exhibit.”