Tower Hill: The First Twenty-Five Years (Hardcover)
No type of building—pyramid, skyscraper, palace—presents so many challenges as the design, construction and sustenance of a botanic garden. John Trexler's Tower Hill: The First Twenty-five Years traces the metamorphosis of a venerable urban horticultural institution, the Worcester County Horticultural Society founded in 1842, into the ever-evolving Tower Hill Botanic Garden, which opened in 1986. Located on a hill in Boylston, Massachusetts, with a majestic view of Mt. Wachusett, Tower Hill was a radical departure from its horticultural antecedent, situated as it had been for nearly 150 years in downtown Worcester, historically a formidable manufacturing center with distant roots in colonial agriculture.
As the new Executive Director of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, John Trexler arrived in 1984 to find a board looking at strategic options but unsure of the best path forward. Their youthful "benign dictator" championed for moving to the countryside and led an ambitious planning process with a fifty-year horizon. John collaborated with an inspired staff, a committed board and generous backers to create thirty acres of gardens and construct 50,000 square feet of new buildings while raising the $30 million needed to transform the site.
In an era when operational time horizons have become problematically short, John Trexler's memoir is a persuasive reminder that focus, patience, artistry and a long view can produce enduring results. There are lessons here for all ambitious social entrepreneurs, not just horticulturists. John writes with grace, wryness and a compelling sense of purpose that will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.
About the Author
John Wheaton Trexler held a degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Delaware Valley University, Doylestown, PA. He developed his extraordinary knowledge of plants and garden design from his seven years experience at Skylands Farm in Ringwood, NJ, the former estate of Clarence McKenzie Lewis, where he worked on the restoration of several gardens. Additionally, John spent six years at the Morris County Park Commission, Morristown, NJ, restoring Bamboo Brook, the residential garden of landscape architect, Martha Brookes Hutcheson. John's twenty-five years developing Tower Hill Botanic Garden are a distinct reflection of these remarkable gardens. John was named Founding Director of Tower Hill Botanic Garden and held the title of Executive Director Emeritus of the Worcester County Horticultural Society.
“Tower Hill: The First Twenty-five Years is a delightful guide to growing a successful career in public horticulture. The birth and growth of Tower Hill Botanic Garden is, in large measure, a testimonial to the vision, energy, and professionalism of John Trexler. It was John who built on the dedicated core membership of the Worcester County Horticultural Society and provided insight, persistence and vigor to a dream. With the help of the good people of Worcester who provided talent and treasure, the dream became reality.” —Paul Rogers, student of horticulture, columnist, radio talk show host, lecturer
“A richly detailed account of the author's first interest in trees as a toddler, to his working tirelessly for twenty-five years creating "... gardens at Tower Hill designed to delight but also to educate visitors and inspire them to nourish and sustain the natural world." With vision, determination and passion, John achieved this goal and here the story of the creation unrolls.” —Marco Polo Stufano, Horticulture Director Emeritus, Wave Hill