“Festive Plants of the Past” with Matt Mattus…
Matt will discuss heirloom and old fashioned holiday plants & displays

Berry Bowl by Matt Mattus

from hellebores, to winter chrysanthemums in conservatories, to long lost arts like berry bowls,

Sustainable Woodland Berry Bowl

the first forcing bulbs, the history of the winter mandarin orange and its significance to Christmas time, to why white anemones and camellias were once more popular then poinsettia.


If you lived in New England in, let’s say, 1800, you most likely could not afford houseplants, unless you had a wealthy friend with a conservatory on an estate. Rare hothouse plants were bound to fail in a wood-heated, chilly New England cottage or farmhouse. A craft thus developed that lasted well into the mid-20th century, that of making berry bowls with “found” woodland plants, many of which had bright red berries or colorful green-and-white leaves, which, along with tiny woodland ferns and many types of mosses, made a terrarium that could live throughout the winter indoors and lift people’s spirits during a long, cold winter.



Lachenalia, the Cape Hyacinth

Lachenalia — Cape Hyacinth — “Romaud”

Veltheimia bracteata, the Forest Lily

Veltheimia bracteata — Forest Lily — “Rose Alba”



Tecophilaea cyanocrocus, The Blue Chilean Crocus

Tecophilaea cyanocrocus — Blue Chilean Crocus


Matt Mattus is the Worcester based horticultural expert behind the blog Growing with Plants, www.growingwithplants.com, where he describes the joys and trials of his greenhouse, vegetable garden, extensive sweet pea bed, annuals, perennials, and the many projects he tries his hand at. A lifelong interest in horticulture has led him to be involved in numerous horticultural societies. He has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, House and Garden and Better Homes and Garden.  Matt lives and gardens on a two acre plot in Worcester, Massachusetts that has been in his family for over 100 years. An avid plantsman, Matt’s curiosity seems tireless. A frequent speaker at botanic gardens, and plant societies, Matt happens to also be a designer for a large corporation – so visual design is paramount which is apparent to anyone who has checked out his blog growingwithplants.com. Join him as he shares his knowledge and expertise on many aspects of horticulture from raising hard-to-grow vegetables, to unusual annuals, perennials and bulbs.

HPS asks for a $10 donation towards speaker costs from guests.