BOYLSTON, MA, June 27, 2023 — New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, owned and operated by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, recently recognized influential horticulturist Wayne Mezitt with one of the organization’s top honors for excellence, the Cary Award.
Mezitt, of Hopkinton, MA, is a nationally renowned plantsman, known for his leadership of Weston Nurseries, a fourth-generation, family-owned nursery celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Mezitt is also an author and owner of the personalized horticultural advisory service, Hort-Sense. Throughout his career, he has lent his expertise to the boards of distinguished organizations including the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group, AmericanHort, Horticultural Research Institute, the Worcester County Horticultural Society, and more. He has been invited to contribute articles to the Boston Globe, Fine Gardening, and Yankee Magazine, and, with his wife Beth, recently released a new book, For the Love of Gardening. Mezitt accepted the Cary Award during the Worcester County Horticultural Society’s 182nd annual meeting on June 15.
“The Cary Award honors individuals who’ve dedicated their careers to advancing the field of horticulture—people whose work deepens our knowledge of plants, values sustainability, and makes horticultural knowledge accessible so more and more people discover an interest in gardening,” says Mark Richardson, Director of Horticulture at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. “There’s no better person to spotlight with this special honor,” he adds.
Wayne Mezitt, a Cornell University graduate of the class of 1964, grew up in the nursery industry. Weston Nurseries was founded in 1923 by his grandparents, Peter J. and Anna Olga Mezitt. Over the decades, the Mezitt family built a reputation for developing superior landscape plants customers could count on. Among the most notable is the PJM rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘PJM’), named for Wayne’s grandfather. Introduced by his father in the 1940’s, the PJM rhododendron is now known worldwide as one of the most reliable and resilient rhododendrons in the industry.
Wayne Mezitt led Weston Nurseries as President from 1986 to 2002, and currently serves as treasurer and board chair. Today, Weston Nurseries boasts three retail garden center locations in Massachusetts and provides plants wholesale to landscapers and other horticultural professionals. They offer classes and workshops to home gardeners and have long prioritized ecologically beneficial garden solutions. They sell a selection of native herbaceous and woody plants appropriate for the New England region and supportive of local biodiversity.
“The contributions Wayne has made to the horticulture community are endless and invaluable,” says Andrew Brand, Director of Horticulture at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and member of the Cary Award Selection Committee. “He has always been eager to share not only his knowledge but also plant material with others. He has always been a great leader in the industry, acting as a mentor and inspiring so many over his incredible career.”
Mezitt, Brand explains, epitomizes what the Cary Award is all about. The award itself honors the legacy of Ed Cary of Shrewsbury, MA. Owner of Cary Bros Nursery, Ed Cary was a horticulturist well-known for his enthusiasm for sharing plant knowledge. Cary passed away in 1987, leaving a gift to the WCHS that enabled the establishment of the Cary Award program.
“It’s an honor to be selected for the Cary Award,” Mezitt says. “Like the Cary Award and WCHS, we’ve always valued being a resource to gardeners. It’s extremely gratifying to see how much our industry has grown over the years and how much enthusiasm people have right now for learning about plants.”
The Cary Award will be presented every other year. Selection for the next awardee will begin in 2024, with nominations solicited from the professional horticultural community. To learn more about the Cary Award or New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill visit nebg.org or contact Public Relations Manager Liz Nye at email@example.com or 508-869-6111 ext. 143.