|The earliest mention of the floral exhibitions were in the student newspaper, Smith College Weekly, which was published from 1911 to 1947. Calendar listings for the Mum Show and Bulb Show in 1911 and 1912, respectively, announced exhibitions of chrysanthemums and of spring flowering bulbs and shrubs "by the students of the Class in Horticulture." How quickly are traditions established that they require|
|no explanation or further notation of "Tenth Annual" or "Twelfth Annual"!
My initial focus on the Horticulture curriculum was to find a change from passive teaching to active involvement. Instead my search revealed a dynamic equilibrium. The course description for Horticulture
|for 2000-01 is not dissimilar to that of 1900-01. I now believe that the stylized drawings from Emily Rankin Watkinson's Horticulture notebook of 1910-11, which appeared to be the result of passive copying, were actually preprinted, perhaps with the assignment to find, to identify, and to research the plants depicted.
In 1909, the phrase "and elements of
landscape gardening" was added to the description of Horticulture, and in 1912 a
separate course in Advanced Horticulture and Landscape Architecture was offered. The landscape architecture branch of the Long Green
|Line, bolstered by the merger of the Cambridge School of Design with Smith in 1938, later suffered drastic pruning. What caused the number of Landscape Architecture majors to drop to zero by 1949-50? The retirement of Kate Ries Koch, the instructor!
As I celebrate one hundred years of Horticulture
at Smith College, I keep coming back to the image of
the Long Green Line. I envision the Long Green Line growing and spreading well beyond Northampton to become an immense green web. I imagine all the life-forms that have been touched by the works and ways of the Long Green Line. There is no doubt that students love Horticulture. The instructors enjoy the course. Even parents are appreciative. In a 1950 letter to College Horticulturist W.I.P. Campbell, Virginia Arnold wrote, "If all the parents get as much out of your class in Horticulture as we did out of Edith (Arnold's) course, you should be grateful. I have learned so much through her and we have had tremendous pleasure from her many plants."
Let us hope that the next hundred years of Horticulture bring many more pleasures--and challenges. Indeed, how much we all love Lyman Conservatory may be put to the test with the upcoming renovations to that jewel at the center of the Immense Green Web.
Send any recollections of your experience with the Long Green Line and subsequent work in horticulture to Connie Parks, Lyman Conservatory, for use in the sequel-The Immense Green Web.
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