Edith Noyes Knight Meyer—known affectionately as “Nod”—passed away at her home in Rhode Island on December 7 at age 90. A friend and advocate of the Arnold Arboretum for three decades, Nod served as an essential and leading volunteer, particularly in support of propagation activities at the Dana Greenhouses. She will be remembered as a trusted advisor to three Arboretum directors, and a champion of the Arboretum’s work in public horticulture and environmental education.
A skilled and passionate horticulturist and gardener her entire life, Nod first became involved with the Arboretum in the 1970s as a student in the Radcliffe Seminars in Landscape Design. She soon began taking classes at the Arboretum, and volunteering her time to help propagators at the Dana Greenhouses. For the next 25 years, Nod assisted Arboretum staff by planting seeds, rooting cuttings, and potting and repotting young saplings destined for the institution’s world-renowned living collections. A seasoned world traveler, Nod often used her trips abroad to observe and learn about plants in their natural habitats, and even collected plant material on occasion for the Arboretum. Her growing expertise in plants and horticultural care initiated her involvement with the Arboretum’s plant information hotline, which provides horticultural outreach to the public.
As an enthusiastic advocate for the Arboretum, Nod served on a number of leadership committees at the Arboretum including the Associates, a friends group started by Director Peter Ashton to raise funds for the Arboretum and organize its annual plant sale at the Case Estates in Weston. Nod continued to help organize the Arboretum’s plant sales in the 1990s and early 2000s as chair of the Plant Sale Committee and captain of the Silent Auction.
Under the Directorship of Robert Cook, Nod was appointed as a member of the Arnold Arboretum Visiting Committee (1995 to 2001), a group selected to study and report on Arboretum activities for the Harvard University Board of Overseers. In 1994, Nod and her husband Henry established the Nature Study Fund for City Children, reflecting their shared interest in children’s environmental education. Since that time, the Meyers’ participation and generosity have enabled the Arboretum each year to host field studies for students from urban schools in Boston and Chelsea—as well as facilitate in-class science instruction at the Arboretum’s neighborhood partner school, the Boston Teachers Union School.
Outside of the Arboretum, Nod’s commitment to horticulture included serving as president of the New England unit of the Herb Society of America and as president of the Belmont Garden Club. As a member of the South County unit of the Garden Clubs of America, she was honored in 2003 as recipient of the Zone II Horticulture Award.
A memorial service will be held at St. Peters-by-the-Sea, 72 Central Street, Narragansett, RI, on December 12 at 11:00am [map]. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Arnold Arboretum to benefit horticulture and plant propagation.