More New England gardens to enjoy today–in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.
Blithewold (pictured above). Bristol, Rhode Island is the home of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum. The former estate of the Van Wickle family, Blithewold— “happy woodland” in old English—is a historic public garden overlooking Narragansett Bay.
Managed by the Save Blithewold, Inc., Blithewold’s mission focuses on public education and historic preservation. Besides the 45-room mansion, the 33-acre estate includes a formal perennial garden, a rose garden, rock and water gardens, and a working vegetable and cutting garden.
A distinctive feature of Blithewold’s grounds is its many species of trees, including magnolias, lindens, ginkgos, various oaks, and many more. One of its most notable trees is a giant sequoia that is believed to be the largest on the east coast. Planted in 1911, the sequoia is now about 100 feet tall.
Learn more about Blithewold here at , or call (401) 253-2707.
Green Animals Topiary Gardens (pictured at below left). Green Animals Topiary Gardens in Portsmouth, RI features 80 animal topiaries, sculpted from California privet, yew and English boxwood. Overlooking the Narragansett Bay, the garden is a favorite experience for young children.
The oldest topiary garden in the U.S., Green Animals was created at the estate of Thomas E. Brayton by his daughter, Alice Brayton, and her gardeners. Green Animals is now maintained by The Preservation Society of Newport County. More information is available online; or call (401) 847-1000.
Elizbeth Park (picture below right). Elizabeth Park in Hartford, Conn. is a must for rose lovers. More than a century old, Elizabeth Park is the oldest municipally-operated rose garden in the country. The 102 acre park features a two and a half acre rose garden with around 800 varieties of roses.
The rose garden is one of the country’s 22 public All America Test Gardens, evaluating new roses before they are introduced to the general public. The main rose garden is home to modern varieties, while the Heritage Rose Garden features historical roses. A variety of park tours are available; more information can be found online here or by calling (860) 231-9443.
Urban Forestry Center (pictured below left). If you’re more interested in trees than roses, head north to the Urban Forestry Center, on the outskirts of Portsmouth, N.H. The 182 acres of field, forest and saltmarsh is used by the state of New Hampshire as a tree farm. Its public education mission is to demonstrate proper forest planning and management and provide information about ecology, gardening and landscaping, tree and plant identification, and wildlife stewardship. It also serves as a bird and wildlife sanctuary.
The Center offers home gardeners and landscapers a variety of ideas for developing perennial borders, woodland gardens, groundcover areas, herb and vegetable gardens, and wildlife gardens. Throughout the year, the Center presents special public educational events, seminars and demonstrations. For more information, call (603) 431-6774, or visit their home page.