Massachusetts gardens, arboretums, display plant life among beautiful paths
Discover a world of gardens at historic estates and living museums, in towns and cities, at wildlife sanctuaries and conservation areas. Stroll arboretums and greenhouses, along shoreline and in open fields and meadows, wooded areas and
. You’ll find native, rare and exotic plants, flowers, shrubs and trees plus sweeping lawns, stunning color schemes, ornamental structures, and footpaths. There are secret gardens, tropical gardens, orchards and cottage gardens, vegetable and wildlife gardens, stone and hillside gardens and Japanese style gardens in stunning settings. The largest landscaped collection of native plants in the northeastern United States is here as is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the country. End your perambulations at a cozy bed-and-breakfast inn
1191 Orleans Road
Chatham, MA, 02633
Chatham inn boasts gardens that are a delight to see – and to walk through
The lovingly tended gardens at Pleasant Bay Village, a resort in the quaint seaside town of Chatham, are more than beautifully landscaped: They are made to be walked through. Inn guests can stroll down paths through flowering trees and shrubs, intricate rock gardens and past colorful blooms, whimsical statuary – even waterfalls. A pleasant pond features waterlilies and colorful koi. Many of the resort’s rooms overlook a serene Asian-themed garden, which Frommer’s New England called “a playful Zen paradise.” The gardens, which can be viewed from many of the resort’s rooms and suites, are filled with places for wanderers to sit and contemplate, read a book or have a quiet conversation.
Tower Hill Botanic Gardens
11 French Drive
This year-round botanic garden has one of the finest collections of woody and herbaceous plants, both native and exotic, hardy and non-hardy. Gardens on the property include Pliny's Allée, and apple orchard, a cottage garden, a field of daffodils, the lawn garden, the Limonaia (Lemon House), The Moss Steps, the Secret Garden, the vegetable garden, the wildlife garden, and he winter garden. The many special events hosted in the gardens include an art show, plant sales, a fall festival, concerts, and flower shows. Meals are served at Twigs Café and there is a sumptuous gift show.
Hours: Open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed on major holidays
185 Lyman Street
Waltham, MA, 02452
The Lyman Estate Greenhouses is complex of four greenhouses consists of an 1804 grape house, 1820 camellia house, 1840 orchid house, and a 1930 sales greenhouse where visitors can purchase plants to take home. Rare orchids covered with exotic flowers bloom throughout the year. The expert horticultural staff offers advice and assistance with plant selection and culture. The greenhouse specializes in orchids, exotic house plants, citrus fruits, camellias, and herbs. Five large specialty plant sales are held during the year.
Hours: December 15-July 15, Wednesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; July 16-December 14, Wednesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130
This 265-acre site is part of the emerald necklace of Boston parks designed in the late 1800s by Frederick Law Olmsted. The arboretum is a major center for plant research, with about 14,000 woody plants representing nearly 5,000 botanical classifications. The Visitor Center has maps and self-guided tour brochures; exhibits about the Arboretum and plants, and seasonal art exhibitions; a shop featuring books and educational items for children and adults; activities for children; and restrooms.
Hours: Grounds open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Visitor Center open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays; and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Closed holidays.
Dike Road, Chappaquiddick Island
Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 02568
You'll want to stay forever in this Japanese-style garden set within an open pine forest. The flora includes mixed plantings of native and exotic trees and shrubs, some rare. The garden’s signature feature is a small pond with an island that is reached by walking over an arched bridge. Winding footpaths take visitors through a birch walk, camellia dell, stone garden, and hillside garden. A rustic meditation shelter offers broad views of the garden and landscape.
Hours: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. No charge.
56 Highfield Drive
Highfield Hall & Gardens is the magnificently restored 1878 estate of the Beebe family and is one of the few remaining examples of Stick-style Queen Anne architecture in the Northeast. From 2011 to 2013, the property’s two magnificent gardens underwent restoration. The mansion and gardens are open to the public for visiting daily from April 15 to October 31. Estate walks are offered on the first and third Sundays of the month from April through October, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., weather permitting. Pre-scheduled docent led tours of Highfield Hall & Gardens are available year-round for group tours of 5 people or more for a fee of $10 per person. Admission is $5.
572 Essex Street
Beverly, MA, 01915
From 1916 to 1979, Long Hill was the summer home of author Ellery Sedgwick and his first wife, Mabel Cabot Sedgwick, an accomplished horticulturist and gardener. Five acres of cultivated grounds are laid out in a series of separate garden rooms and accented by garden ornaments, structures, and statuary. There is a pleasant but not long (1.2-mile loop trail) in the nearby woodlands, filled with spring pools and imposing boulders.
Hours: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. No charge.
19 Main St.
Stockbridge, MA, 01262
Stroll this historic home's courtyards and explore brick path Colonial gardens and a kitchen garden with over 100 medicinal and cooking plants. See full description
of Mission House
Botanic Garden of Smith College
15 College Lane
Northampton, MA, 01063
Get your oxygen here! Thousands of plants adorn these gardens, which include ancient and modern species and give off the fresh smell of nature. Check out separate greenhouses and specialty gardens on Smith College's scenic campus. Discover information about gardening and conservation of the environment. Major events include the two-week Spring Bulb Show and Fall Chrysanthemum Show.
Hours: Daily year-round.
Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary
Off Nathan Ellis Hwy.
East Falmouth, MA, 02536
Ashumet’s most spectacular feature is Grassy Pond, a globally rare ecosystem characterized by the species of rare wildflowers that bloom along its sandy shores during low water in late summer and early fall; the pink Plymouth gentian is particularly beautiful. As its name suggests, Ashumet Holly is well known for its 65 varieties of holly trees planted throughout the sanctuary. Self-guided trails take visitors through the sanctuary.
Admission: Adults, $3; children age 2-12, $2
Curzon Mill Road
Magnificent gardens of mountain laurel and, in May and June, rhododendron and azalea.
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of Maudslay State Park.
Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum
396 County Street
New Bedford, MA, 02740
This whaling merchant's mansion is surrounded by a beautiful property. The grounds encompass a full city block of gardens including a Wildflower Walk, a formal boxwood rose parterre garden, a cutting garden, a boxwood specimen garden and an historic wood lattice pergola.
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or Rotch-Jones-Duff House.
Sodem and Main Roads
Tyringham, MA, 01238
Traditional and modern floral and landscape design meets creative perfection at Ashintully Gardens, the product of a composer. These gardens are alive with sights, smells, and sounds of blooming nature, from fountains to trellises to ponds on paths and back! A short trail will lead you to the ruins of the Marble Palace.
Hours: Mid-June to mid-September, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, 1-5 p.m.
Garden in the Woods
180 Hemenway Road
Framingham, MA, 01701
The New England Wild Flower Society maintains this garden, the largest landscaped collection of native plants in the northeastern United States. New England’s premier wildflower garden has more than 1,000 native plant species, with many rare specimens, as well as the unique New England Rare Plant Garden.
Hours: April 14–October 31; Tuesdays through Sundays; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. After October, trails close for the season. Museum Shop remains open with winter hours. Guided walks offered free with admission Tuesdays through Fridays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Admission: Adults over age 18, $10; seniors over age 65, $7; youths age 3-17, $5
900 Washington Street
The Gardens at Elm Bank are located on Massachusetts Horticultural Society's 36 acres on the Elm Bank Reservation. The site includes open fields and meadows, streams and pools, wooded areas and formal gardens. The Charles River nearby surrounds the property. The grounds and gardens of Elm Bank are handicap-accessible. The several different gardens include a Children’s Garden,
Vegetable Garden, The Italianate Garden, and gardens of day lilies, rhododendrons, herbs, and daffodils.
Hours: Open daily except Mondays, May 1 through October 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $8.
Prospect Hill Road
Stockbridge, MA, 01262
Three decades of dedicated planting and landscaping gave New England this stunning cottage garden. Climb heavy fountain steps among white birch trees, and check out all the special gardens here, from Roses to Evergreens. See full description
South Sandwich Road
Mashpee & Sandwich, MA, 02563
Extensive walking trails among holly and rhododendron gardens; two ponds stocked with fish
Groves of holly and some rhododendron on a lovely peninsula with two freshwater ponds and picnic areas with soothing views of the water.
Boylston, Arlington, Beacon and Charles Streets
The Boston Public Garden, located in the heart of Boston, is adjacent to the Boston Commons. Together, these two parks are the northern end of the Emerald Necklace, a long string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Public Garden is bounded on the south by Boylston Street, on the west by Arlington Street, on the north by Beacon Street, and on the east by Charles Street, which divides the Public Garden from the Boston Common.
The Public Garden contains formal plantings and a four-acre lake where the Swan Boats, a famous Boston tourist attraction, operate. People can sit in the ornamental swan-shaped boats, which are pedaled around the lake by a guide. A famous feature of the Boston Public Gardens is a set of bronze statues based on the main characters from the children's story Make Way for Ducklings.
Heritage Museums & Gardens
67 Grove Street
Sandwich, MA, 02563
Historic families and noble enterprises meet in the Garden
Here are 100 spectacular acres of trees, shrubs, beautiful flowers and sweeping lawns. This extraordinary environment offers unmatched horticulture, garden design, outdoor discovery, the exhibition of great collections and a year-round blaze of vibrant color. The region’s moderate temperatures and rainfall mean happy plants totaling more than 500 cultivars spread over Heritage in the Labyrinth, the Hart Family Garden Maze, Hidden Hollow, Flume Fountain, the Parade Field, the Wicked Plants Garden, and the Windmill Garden where some of the most spectacular blooms can be found. Enjoy garden-related workshops, lectures, and activities throughout the year. Three gallery buildings house special and permanent exhibitions. Plan a special event or group tour and be sure to visit the Shop at Heritage.
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA, 02481
The Wellesley College Botanic Gardens include thousands of plants from more than 150 plant families. The greenhouses accommodate plants from a variety of habitats around the world. The outdoor spaces of the gardens are open daily, dawn to dusk. The Ferguson Greenhouses are open daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except during the summer. The greenhouses are closed on Saturday and Sunday from mid-June to late August. To arrange a guided tour or bring a large group to the greenhouses, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781- 283-3094.
Hours: Year-round, daily, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Information: Information: www.wellesley.edu/wcbg
Routes 102 and 183
Stockbridge, MA, 01262
Both functional and ornamental, the Berkshire Botanical Garden is among the oldest in the United States. The collections emphasize plants that are indigenous to or thrive in the Berkshires; more than 3,000 species and varieties are represented. Classes, workshops, lectures and special events are offered year-round.
Major annual events include the Plant Sale, the Flower Show, the Fete des Fleurs Garden Party, the Harvest Festival and the Holiday Fair. The Harvest Festival was first held in 1934 as the Garden’s first fundraising event and has since become the Berkshires’ best-known community gathering.
Hours: May to October, daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $12; seniors and students, $10; children under age 12, free.
6 Discovery Hill Road
East Sandwich, MA
This center conserves the work of children’s author Thornton Burgess. Adjacent to Green Briar is the 57-acre Briar Patch Conservation Area, home of Peter Rabbit and many of the other Thornton Burgess animal characters. There is a spectacular wild flower garden
to explore. See full description
of the Green Briar Nature Center along with a full calendar of nature activities.
795 State Rd
West tisbury, MA
The Polly Hill Arboretum is a unique Martha's Vineyard landscape. Crisscrossed by old stonewalls surrounding open meadows, this living museum is home to a collection of more than 1600 woody plants that Polly Hill began planting from seed in 1958. At any season the Arboretum offers beauty, tranquility and abounds with horticultural and botanical rarities!
Admission: $5 suggested donation; free to children under age 12
Hours: Grounds open every day from sunrise to sunset. Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, daily, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.