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Endicott House gardeners branch out with flower show exhibit

In what might be considered a triumph of hope over reality (at least according to the calendar), the gardeners at Endicott House are already celebrating spring.

For the first time in the 43 years that the Dedham estate has belonged to MIT, the conference center will sponsor an exhibit at the New England Flower Show at Bayside Expo Center from March 7-15. The 440-square-foot exhibit, entitled "Spring's Grand Entrance," will compete for prizes at the show, the theme of which is "Gardening Lifestyles."

The Endicott House formal garden exhibit will consist of a yellow path of primroses and daffodils, pink tulips and azaleas, purple rhododendrons, a six-foot blue spruce tree and a statue known as "The Chestnut Lady." All the flowers and plants were nurtured at the Endicott House's greenhouse.

Leading into the garden will be an Old World foyer with French doors, Oriental carpeting, antiques and floral arrangements, recreating the elegant atmosphere of the estate.

The room will be set up for a champagne party, complete with a silver bucket and fine crystal. A top hat, walking cane and women's formal gloves will be used as props. A chandelier and wall sconces will provide subdued lighting.

"The lighting will simulate dusk," said Andy Turcotte, Endicott House's head groundskeeper, who designed the exhibit along with gardener Steve Wiswell. Both worked on New England Flower Show exhibits when they were on the staff of the Coolidge Estate, which was recently given to MIT.

Gardener Tom Willard and retirees John Resmini and Dick MacRelli also helped with the exhibit.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 4, 1998.

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