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
Route 28 on Pleasant Bay
Chatham, MA, 02633
Luxurious Gardens frame this renown Cape Cod resort
The luxury Cape Cod hotel, known for its unmatchable service and amenities, also features world-class gardens unlike anything else on Cape Cod. A collaborative creation, Wequassett outsources design, landscaping and maintenance to firms with projects at Boston University, the Prudential Center, and Battery Wharf. The resort’s 27 acres of gardens include 12,000 tulips planted in spring along with an endless array of annuals, secret gardens, tropical gardens, gardens with vistas, gardens that are vistas, pocket gardens and a conservation area on the Pleasant Bay. The color scheme is highlighted by coral, yellow, blue and white to zones of red and white and pink and white with complementary backdrops of hydrangeas, roses and grasses. Window boxes and containers spill over with flowers and plants, reminiscent of a European villa.
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. Visitors from around the world come also to see three gallery buildings housing special and permanent exhibitions. Plan a special event or group tour and be sure to visit the Shop at Heritage.
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com or call 781- 283-3094.
Hours: Year-round, daily, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Information: Information: www.wellesley.edu/wcbg
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.
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.
Curzon Mill Road
Magnificent gardens of mountain laurel and, in May and June, rhododendron and azalea.
See full description
of Maudslay State Park.
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.
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.
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.
See full description
or Rotch-Jones-Duff House.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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. This ever-changing living museum—New England’s premier wildflower garden—has more than 1,000 native plant species, with many rare and endangered native specimens throughout the gardens, 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.