NORTHEAST HARBOR — On Saturday, Oct. 9, more than 60 area gardening and landscape professionals were treated to a talk at Neighborhood House followed by a luncheon at the Hedgefield estate to honor the work they do to enhance and beautify this island.
The Beatrix Farrand Society hosted the event and hopes it will become an annual offering that brings together talented people to share professional expertise and promote community among career horticulturalists.
Patrick Cullina, an award-winning horticulturist and landscape designer, kicked off the event with a talk that shared observations from his work over the past 25-plus years on such projects as the High Line in New York and local private gardens on Mount Desert Island and in Winter Harbor.
“Horticulture is a real profession – one whose value is too often overlooked,” said Cullina. “What I hoped to achieve with the presentation was to consider the benefits of thoughtful, aspirational design and cultivation, to review the aesthetic and ecological benefits of dynamic landscapes, to explore the benefits of collaboration and to emphasize opportunities within the working community along with the benefits its members provide to Mount Desert Island at large.”
After the presentation, attendees drove or walked down to Hedgefield, the home of Chris and Binkie Orthwein, who sponsored the event. Erika Lindquist, Hedgefield’s head gardener, gave tours detailing the changes that have occurred on the property over the last few years and plans for what’s ahead.
Lindquist had partnered up with Christine Pelletreau, program committee chair at Beatrix Farrand Society, along with a small group of volunteers and staff, to plan the event over the past year. A professional horticulturist, Pelletreau had advocated for the event ever since she joined the society’s board of directors.
Horticulturalists tend to be hidden away on their properties, according to Lindquist, and are so busy during the season that it is a challenge to gather together. There isn’t much communication in the horticultural field, Lindquist explained, and there’s also a lack of educational opportunities, or opportunities to see where other horticulturalists work.
“We’re really hopeful that this will be a way to open communication in the community, allow gardeners to share their work and have more lectures geared towards the professional side of gardening,” said Lindquist. “I really hope we’ll have someone or maybe several people offer to sponsor events going forward.”
At the Hedgefield luncheon, catered by Red Sky, horticulturalists shared tables decorated with dahlias, ate boxed lunches and were served Pugnuts gelato and hand-painted flower cookies.
Beatrix Farrand Society Board President Scott Koniecko said, “BFS saw the seminar and lunch as an opportunity to connect and build on the amazing expertise represented by the Island’s professional gardeners, while expressing our appreciation for the extraordinary work that they do.”
For more information on the Beatrix Farrand Society and Garland Farm, visit www.beatrixfarrandsociety.org.