Wellesley - The Hunnewell Family Arboretum became the first garden in the United States to receive a plaque from the prestigious International Dendrology Society last Sunday.
"This is the only private estate garden I know of in the country that has been in the same family for four generations," said Peter del Tredici of the Arnold Arboreum Sunday as he led a tour of some its oldest and rarest trees.
H.H. Hunnewell started planting the trees in 1852. He named the estate Wellesley after his wife Isabella Welles. (The town and adjacent college both later appropriated the name.)
The IDS Plaque recognizes an exceptional tree collection and emphasizes the importance of its preservation,said Charlotte Feldman of Philadelphia, an IDS vice president. "This may be the most important collection of old conifers in the U.S.," she added.
Arabella Killander of Cambridge, England, presented the plaque (and a young dawn redwood tree) to Willard Hunnewell and Luisa Hunnewell, widow of the late Walter Hunnewell, representing the family members of three generations in attendance.
Luisa Hunnewell hosted a luncheon for the family and for horticulturalists including Prof. John Palmer, Gary Koller, Stephen A. Spongberg of the Polly Hill Arboretum, del Tredici, and David P. Barnett of Mt. Auburn Cemetery.