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Arnold Arboretum

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Mary May Binney Wakefield Charitable Trust logo

The Mary May Binney Wakefield Charitable Trust

An educational initiative dedicated to preserving the historic Wakefield Estate and Arboretum.

Wakefield Charitable Trust carries on the legacy of Mary May Binney “Polly” Wakefield and her vision for a citizenry engaged and knowledgeable about the surrounding environment.

Polly was an advocate and leader on many environmental issues of her day. She was a trained horticulturist and landscape designer who loved to design gardens and experiment with shrubs and trees, most notably Kousa Dogwoods. Two of the most highly praised dogwood cultivars today, “Greensleeves” and “Fanfare,” were actually propagated and patented by Polly.

She was also a longtime supporter of the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library — retired Horticultural Research Archivist Sheila Connor traded her own watercolor of Polly’s dogwoods for one of her paintings. Sheila then had Polly’s watercolor framed and matted to include Polly’s signature and an inscription. Polly approved this gesture and stated that she felt touched by our commemoration. This watercolor is displayed just outside the Library Reading Room.

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