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Cecil Roy Boutard, 94, horticultural director


NEW LEBANON—Cecil Roy Boutard died Thursday afternoon, July 1 at his home in New Lebanon. He was 94 years old, and had spent a pleasant afternoon planting flowerpots on his deck. Mr. Boutard was the horticultural director of the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge from 1955 until his retirement in 1985. During his tenure, he guided the expansion of the physical gardens and extended the educational mission of the organization. He wrote a regular gardening column for The Berkshire Eagle, and had a Saturday morning gardening spot on WBEC radio.
Mr. Boutard’s keen sense of design won the Berkshire Garden Center, as it was known then, numerous awards for exhibits at New York and Boston flower shows. Above all, he was a gardener—happiest splitting a perennial with a fork, pruning back the roses or tending his salad greens.
Born in Västerås, Sweden in 1916, Mr. Boutard spent his childhood in Odense, Denmark. In 1939, he received his diploma in horticulture from the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens in Wisley, England. At Wisley, he met his future wife, Sherry. After graduation, he and Sherry grew vegetables on their truck farm south of London for nine years. Though Mr. Boutard continued to maintain a vegetable garden until his death, his love of ornamentals and houseplants drew him back to the nursery business. During this time he wrote Plants Indoors, a book about houseplants, which was published in England and the United States.
In 1954, the Boutards emigrated to Canada, where he worked at the Montreal Botanic Gardens, and then to the United States. After a brief stint working at a carnation nursery in Westborough, Mass., he was offered the position of horticultural director at the Berkshire Garden Center. He was recommended for the position by Thomas H. Everett, the chief horticulturist at the New York Botanic Garden, who had read Mr. Boutard’s book, and was impressed with his horticultural knowledge and humor.
Mr. Boutard was called upon as a judge at local flower shows and fairs, as well as at the large regional flower shows in New York, Philadelphia and Boston. His training caught local fruit and vegetable exhibitors off-guard as he always followed the English custom of slicing off a piece to taste it.
After retirement he volunteered at the Center for the Disabled in Albany, in a program organized by the Men’s Garden Club.
Mr. Boutard is survived by his wife, Sherry; his daughter, Jenifer Nina Burghardt; his sons, Anthony and John Roger; five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
A celebration of Mr. Boutard’s life will be held at the Berkshire Botanical Garden July 24 at 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Arrangements are under the direction of Hall & Higgins Funeral Home of Stephentown.

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