New England gardens, part 1

by Caroline Brown

Fall is approaching, but it’s not too late to be a “garden tourist.” New England has a variety of public gardens that are well-worth visiting. Before summer winds down, you might want to take the opportunity to visit one of New England’s many gardens. You’ll find plenty of inspiration and ideas for your own garden.

The first part of this article describes three notable gardens in Massachusetts. In my next post, you’ll get to virtually visit gardens in the rest of the region.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden (pictured above). In Boylston, Mass., Tower Hill Botanic Garden boasts 132 acres of gardens, meadows and woodland trails. Managed by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, Tower Hill’s gardens feature 95,000 flowering bulbs, 350 varieties of trees and shrubs, a cottage garden, and the Harrington Orchard, which has 119 varieties of heirloom apples.

Visitors can pack a picnic lunch or have a light meal at Tower Hill’s café, watch birds and animals in the Wildlife Garden, and visit the library or gift shop. Tower Hill is home to the New England School of Gardening, which offers an extensive variety of college-level horticultural classes.

More information about Tower Hill Botanic Gardens can be found here or by calling (508) 869-6111.

Garden in the Woods (pictured at right). No “garden tourist” traveling New England will want to miss Garden in the Woods, the headquarters and botanic garden of the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS), located in Framingham, Mass.

Garden in the Woods helps promote the NEWFS mission of conserving North American native plants. Billed as a “living museum,” the 45 acre Garden in the Woods features New England wildflowers, emphasizing rare and endangered native species.

Also at Garden in the Woods are a museum shop and bookstore, and a nursery that features native perennials, trees and shrubs. This summer, visitors can expect to see a variety of blooming wildflowers, as well as “ROCK ON! Celebrating Stone in the Garden,” an art event showcasing 35 stone sculptures by New England artists. For more information visit NEWFS’ website or call (508) 877-7630.

Arnold Arboretum (pictured at left). Founded in 1872, Harvard University’s venerable Arnold Arboretum is the nation’s oldest arboretum. Part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parks designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the Arboretum occupies more than 265 acres in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

Interesting features include a bonsai garden, a variety of unique conifers, more than 400 lilac plants, a three-acre rose garden, and a four-acre shrub and vine garden. The Arboretum grounds contain more than 7,000 trees, of which 700 are at least 100 years old.

Free guided tours are available. For more information, click here or call (617) 524-1718.

Photos of Tower Hill Botanic Garden and Garden in the Woods courtesy of the respective gardens. Photo of Arnold Arboretum courtesy of Wikipedia.

Parts of this article were previously published in the Kent County Daily Times


4 Comments to “New England gardens, part 1”

  1. All good choices for a visit! Also, Roger Williams Park plus the zoo. I always love the natural plantings there. Blithwold has beautiful gardens also!

  2. Oh, I forgot the URI gardens. They are in the process of becoming a botanical garden!

  3. Hi Ginger, good additions all. Blithewold is profiled in my next post!

  4. The ROCK FEST at the ROCK ON! Exhibit at Garden in the Woods on September 16-17 will also have a barbecue benefit for plant conservation.

    Right now the closed gentian blooming by the lily pond at Garden in the Woods is absolutely awe inspiring!

    See you there,


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