One of the most exciting things I love to plan in the winter while the snow is still on the ground and I am in need of the outdoors is the planning of Garden visits. According to the calendar spring is less than three weeks away – March 20th. (although you wouldn’t know it by looking in my back yard – yup, still have four feet of snow and the temperature are still below normal). I seem to be constantly adding to my list of Must See” gardens both in New England, across the country, and around the world…. New England offers a wealth of private and public gardens, parks, historical sites, the natural settings of parks, preserves, and beaches, and of course, museaums.
If you are visiting the area take the time and research what you want to visit; especially if on a limited time schedule. It also depends on what time of year you are visiting that may help determine your selections. We hope our picks will help you ‘Think Spring’. We do love gardening here in New England and we hope our selections across the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont gives you a taste of the variety horticultural delights there is to offer….
Check my events page to find more events and gardens to visit and please feel free to contact me with any other questions about our New England Gardens.
Elizabeth Park in Hartford
This park is 102 acres and at it’s center is America’s oldest municipally-operated rose garden that covers 2 1/2 acres and boasts of over 800 varieties of roses, all types. The best time to visit the garden is from early to mid June. www.elizabethpark.org
Florence Griswold Museum
Visit the Gardens where the American impressionists painted a century ago and then step inside the museum to see their work. Located in Old Lyme. www.florencegriswoldmuseum.org
A museum is a stunning English estate with a lovely sunkin garden. See examples of French Impressionists inside the museum. Located in Farmingthon. www.hillstead.org
Boston Spring Flower Show
If you will be visiting Massachusetts in mid March be sure not to miss the show. This year the theme is ‘Romance in the Garden’ – March 12th – 16th. at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The area bounds with lots of new restaurants and the beautiful scenery of Bosotn Harbor.
Boston Public Garden
While in Boston, especially in the spring, be sure not to miss strolling thru the Public Garden surrounded by the rich architectural history of Boston. It is America’s first botanical garden (1837). Stroll along Boylston and Newbury Streets with all the quaint shops and restaurants with many displaying thier own little gardens at their entrances. Visit their site at www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org to check all upcoming events.
One of my favorite places to visit every year. It is the country’s oldest public collection of plants, dating back to 1872. The aboretum spans 265 acres and is the most beautiful living museum of living plants – over 15,000 trees, shrubs, and vines. Check their site to see upcoming spring events like the famous Lilac Festival around Mother’s Day and other events throughout the year. In Jamaica Plain. www.arboretum.harvard.edu
Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Founded in 1829, the MHS is the nation’s oldest based at Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley. There are 36 acres of several types of gardens, open daily with a small fee of $10.00 and garden tours are available from April 30th through October.
For those who are local, membership is available and offers a vast selection of benefits including tours, lectures, classes, etc.
Garden In The Woods
Located in Framingham - headquarters to the New England Wildflower Society .Founded in 1900 as the Society for the Protection of Native Plants, New England Wild Flower Society is the nation’s oldest plant conservation organization and a recognized leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education. It is a magical botanical garden of 45 acres filled with 1500 native plants entwined with meandering paths through trees, a bog, and a pond. A wonderful place to roam for adults and children and learn about the natural world. Open April 1 each spring through the following January 31st. They offer classes, tours, and there is a great spring plant sale. www.newfs.org
Tower Hill Botanical Garden
Located in Boylston just outside of Worcester – includes a variety of gardens, walking tarils, and two beautiful fruit-filled greenhouses. They have a wonderful resource library and a shop. Check out their site for their calendar of events including concerts, classes, flower shows, art exhibits, and more. www.towerhillbg.org
And then Some
There are many other places to visit throughout Massachusetts including Naumkeag in Stockbridge – www.thetrustees.org where they list many state reservations to visit, The Mount in Lenox famous for it’s gardens designed by the author, Edith Wharton – www.edithwharton.org , and The Heritage Museaums and Gardens in Sandwich famous for their Rhodendron display during the last two weeks of May and first two weeks of June – www.heritagemuseumsandgardens.org One of my favorite places to visit in July is Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehobeth in June for their fields of irises in bloom, and then again in July for their daylily display. It is a feast for the eyes – www.tranquil-lake.com
Cape Cod is filled with the wonders of nature and the all too beautiful endless miles of beaches that lures the locals and visitors alike. No matter how many times I visit I find secret coves, nature paths, beaches and beauty only found in New England.
In Providence visit the new Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park now the largest indoor garden in New England. For a calendar of tours and events visit www.providenceri.com/botanical-center Rhode Island is the home of the Newport Mansions all set in grand gardens, they also have a summer garden party and flower show of their own - www.newportmansions,org Portsmouth has the famous Green Animals that is American’s oldest topirary garden – Blithewold Arboretum and Garden in is famous for its spring daffodil display but there are events and their gardens offer beauty year round – www.blithewold.org If you have time visit the shore near Narraganset, Wakefield and the many other neighboring seashore communities. There is a beauty in these communities and a plethora of art, history, and nature that never ceases to take my breath away.
One of my favorite places to visit is the Asticou Azalea Garden at Mount Desert Island with paths and a stream,pond, and statures all modeled on classic Japanes designs. Nearby is the English-style Thuya Garden with it’s semi-formal English border beds situated in the granite hillside overlooking Northeast - www.gardenpreserve.org
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay filled with 250 acres of gardens, trails, wild garden spaces, and many more surprises throughout the year - www.mainegardens.org
The Fells Historic Estate and Gardens
I have not yet visited this site, but I recently read an article in my Design magazine that made me put on my bucket list of gardens to visit. It is an early 20th century summer estate set overlooking Lake Sunapee and the 83.5-acres include the original ‘Old Garden’, and the pictures included a 100-stone wall with a perennial border, rock garden, rose terrace, heather beds, Japanese water lily pool, and woodland trails. What a place! www.thefells.org
Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in Portsmouth is famous for their lilac festival each spring. Why not, it is the state flower of New Hampshire. www.seacoastnh.com There is the Cantebury Shaker Village in Canterbury where the vegetable gardens were planted in 1975 and have been cultivated ever since – www.shakers.org
The Rhododendron State Park
Located in Fitzwilliam is the site of the 16-acre grove of Rhodendron Maximum – the largest stand in norther New England and focal point of the park. The best time to observe and enjoy the fragrant clusters pf pink blossoms is in mid July when they are at their peak. Adjacent to the grove is a wildflower trail filled with wildflowers from early spring until the first frost and followed the forest’s brilliant foliage in the fall. www.nhstateparks.org
Another garden on my bucket list to visit. Located in Manchester this the former home of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert. The gardens include a cutting and kitchen garden, perennials gardens with roses, peonies, and lilies; and lots of walking trails. www.hildene.org
Let me know if there are any local gardens you have visited that I should add to my list… Have Fun!!!