This list was prepared by Karen McDonald. All information is believed to be accurate at the date of publication but please check with the organization’s website or call them to verify before making a trip to a garden.
MASSACHUSETTS GARDENS (East to West)
CAPE AND ISLANDS
Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary
Off Nathan Ellis Hwy. East Falmouth, MA, 02536 Phone: 508-362-7475
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
Highfield Hall and Gardens
56 Highfield Drive Falmouth, MA Phone: 508-495-1878
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.
South Sandwich Road, Mashpee & Sandwich, MA, 02563 Phone: 508-636-4693
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.
Green Briar Nature Center and Thornton W. Burgess Society
6 Discovery Hill Road, East Sandwich, MA Phone: 508-888-6870
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.
Heritage Museums & Gardens
67 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA, 02563 Phone: 508-888-3300
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.
The Polly Hill Arboretum
795 State Rd West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard, MA Phone: 508-693-9426
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.
Dike Road, Chappaquiddick Island, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 02568 Phone: 508-627-7689
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.
Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill
Each year in May, Beacon Hill Garden Club members open a dozen of their hidden gardens to the public. (Check the Boston Event Calendar for May for exact dates.) The self-guided Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill allows you to explore behind wrought-iron fences and high brick walls to spaces normally hidden from public view.
Fenway Victory Gardens
Tour Stretched across a corner of the Fens, one of Boston’s 6 famous parks designed during the 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted as part of the “Emerald Necklace” surrounding the city, the 7-acre Fenway Victory Gardens include more than 500 room-sized plots, each a miniature paradise. A series of Boston Victory Garden Tours from June through September give you a chance to explore these private worlds located almost in the shadows of Fenway Park and the Prudential Tower. Find exact tour dates from June – September on the Boston Event Calendar for June
South End Garden Tour
The Victorian architecture, English-style parks, exquisitely restored brownstones, and former factories transformed into high-end lofts form the perfect setting for the South End Garden Tour, held each year in June. (Find exact dates on the Boston Event Calendar for June.)
Secret Gardens of Cambridge Tour
The June tour takes place only on alternate years – those ending with an even number, such as 2020, 2022, 2024. The tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library, with all proceeds going to support the library. Just across the Charles River from Boston is the city of Cambridge, home to world-renowned universities, literary landmarks, stunning buildings by famous architects, and charming neighborhoods filled with 19th century homes. The Secret Gardens of Cambridge Tour self-guided tour takes you to all of these areas as you discover interesting gardens.
Lyman Estate and Greenhouses
185 Lyman Street, Waltham, MA, 02452 Phone: 781-891-1985
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.
Wellesley College Botanic Garden
106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA, 02481 Phone: 781-283-3049
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.
The Gardens at Elm Bank of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society
900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA
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.
125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130 Phone: 617-524-1718
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.
Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum
396 County Street, New Bedford, MA, 02740 Phone: 508-997-1401
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.
NORTH SHORE MASSACHUSETTS
Maudslay State Park
Curzon Mill Road, Newburyport, MA Phone: 978-465-7223
Magnificent gardens of mountain laurel and, in May and June, rhododendron and azalea. See full description of Maudslay State Park.
572 Essex Street, Beverly, MA, 01915 Phone: 978-921-1944
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.
Rockport in Bloom
Annual Garden Tour 2019 July 26, 2019 10:00 am by The Rockport Garden Club, Rockport, MA
Concord Museum 30th Annual Garden Tour
Friday, May 31 & Saturday, June 1 (9:00 am- 4:00 pm) organized by the Concord Museum’s Guild of Volunteers to benefit the Museum’s educational initiatives. There are seven beautiful private Concord gardens on the list for this year and we look forward to sharing their elegant designs and inspiration with you!
Early-bird tickets through May 26, 2019: Members $30; Non-Members $40 …. On May 27, 2019 ticket pricing will increase to Members $35 and Non-Members $45
Tower Hill Botanic Gardens
11 French Drive, Boylston, MA Phone: 508-869-6111
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
Botanic Garden of Smith College
15 College Lane, Northampton, MA, 01063 Phone: 413-585-2740
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.
Prospect Hill Road Stockbridge, MA, 01262 Phone: 413-298-3239
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.
19 Main St. Stockbridge, MA, 01262 Phone: 413-298-3239
Stroll this historic home’s courtyards and explore brick path Colonial gardens and a kitchen garden with over 100 medicinal and cooking plants.
Chesterwood, Summer Estate of Sculpture Daniel Chester French
3 Williamsville Rd, Stockbridge, MA 01262
French designed a formal garden in 1898 to complement his Studio. French structured the garden as a series of outdoor rooms with natural features integrated into the scheme, using adjacent woods to provide both contrast and a border for the garden on the west and north. French selected a variety of flowers for the colorful beds throughout the formal garden area, including auratum lilies, delphinium, hollyhocks, phlox, and campanula. The dramatic Straight Path, or allée, lined with standard hydrangeas, peonies, and annuals, is joined to the Woodland Walk at the edge of the woods and is adjacent to the lawn. On the south side of the Studio, set in a hemlock hedge, is a pergola covered with grape vines and Virginia creeper that provides a view of the Berkshire Hills. Contrasting with the charming order of the garden, the woodland trails were the sculptor’s celebration of the estate’s wild beauty. Spaces such as the Circle, the Glade and the Overlook were linked by footpaths which themselves were embellished with “vistas,” as French called them, trees and underbrush cut to expose unique outcroppings. The recently restored Ledges Trail offers a vigorous uphill climb over rocky ledges and past pines, oaks, and mountain laurel, to a commanding view of the Berkshires at about 1200 feet above sea level. There are also small caves that were once a play area for his daughter, Margaret and a small pasture for the family’s three cows. French took advantage of an especially picturesque view at this point east of the pasture to establish a resting point called the Overlook, with commanding views of the distant hills of Stockbridge, Lenox, and Lee.
Berkshire Botanical Garden
Routes 102 and 183, Stockbridge, MA, 01262 Phone: 413-298-3926
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.
Sodem and Main Roads, Tyringham, MA, 01238 Phone: 413-298-3239
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.
2019 Spring Garden Tours , Newport, RI
A self-guided walking tour of private gardens in historic Newport, Rhode Island
10:00 am – 5:00 pm each day, Friday – June 14, 2019 , Saturday – June 15, 2019 and Sunday – June 16, 2019 For June tours: On the day you arrive, turn it in under the tent in Storer Park at 32 Washington Street in Newport and you will be given a program with a map and directions to each of the gardens. Check in at the ticket office desk at 32 Washington Street (June Tour only). You will be given a program with a map and directions to each of the gardens. Your ticket will be honored for the purchaser on any or all days of the tour, allowing for inclement weather, schedule conflicts, or just a late start.
10:00 – 5:00 pm each day Friday – September 6, 2019, Saturday – September 7, 2019, Sunday – September 8, 2019 For September tours: On the day you arrive, turn it in at Kingscote Mansion at 253 Bellevue Avenue and you will be given a program with a map and directions to each of the gardens. Check in at the ticket office desk at Kingscote Mansion at 253 Bellevue Avenue (September Tour only). You will be given a program with a map and directions to each of the gardens. Your ticket will be honored for the purchaser on any or all days of the tour, allowing for inclement weather, schedule conflicts, or just a late start.
Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum
101 Ferry Road / Route 114 Bristol, RI, 02809 Phone: 401-253-2707
A variety of lovely gardens surround the Great Lawn and flow around the mansion and down toward Narragansett Bay on the property of this English country-style mansion.
The gardens include a rose bed, display and perennial gardens, a summer house, and Giant Sequoia, and much more. Gardening classes and demos are held here. An exceptional collection of rare and unusual plants, specimen trees, an accessible greenhouse, and whimsical stonework project a character that is romantic, fresh, and inspiring – and unique to Blithewold. We will have a tour of the gardens and home.
500 Hope St. / Route 114, Bristol, RI, 02809 Phone: 401-253-0390
This 1810 home built for a Rhode Island seafarer has a fascinating story, beautiful grounds, and background roles in the movie “The Great Gatsby.” Lots of interesting seasonal events, especially at July 4 and Christmas. Tours offered. Visitors are welcome to stroll the sculpture-filled gardens where they will find Greek bronzes and an 18th Century gazebo.
Roger Williams Park Botanical Center
1000 Elmwood Avenue, Cranston, RI, 02907 Phone: 401-785-9450
Roger Williams Park is a 430-acre Victorian park with a zoo, museum of natural history and planetarium, carousel, casino, and historic buildings. The Roger Williams Park Botanical Gardens is an indoor garden space and a multi-level glass and steel conservatory, rising from a complex of visitor facilities. During a visit to the Botanical Center, visitors can relax by a waterfall, enjoy the fragrance of flowers from around the world, take a child on a scavenger hunt, or bring a camera or sketch pad.
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Last ticket will be sold at 3:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $3; children age 6-12, $1. Group rates can be booked for 10 or more people.
Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI Phone: 401-847-1000
A National Historic Landmark, The Elms is a French-style chateau built in 1901 by architect Horace Trumbauer as a summer house for millionaire entrepreneur Edward Julius Berwind. It contains every technological marvel of its time, and was one of the first Newport houses to be fully electrified. The estate includes a 10-acrre park and elaborate sunken garden. Consult mansion website for public hours, which may change seasonally.
Samuel Whitehorne House
416 Thames Street, Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-849-7300
This imposing Federal style home of the 18th century has a beautiful garden lush with roses, fruit trees and bushes, perennials and annuals. It is both refined and rustic. It illustrates the tastes of an affluent, city family of that time. See full description of Samuel Whitehorne House.
The Blue Garden
The Blue Garden, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. from 1910-1915 for Arthur Curtiss and Harriet Parsons James, for their Newport estate. The garden features an unusual horticultural palette requested by Mrs. James, “a monochromatic concentration of purples and blues.” After the death of the owners, the garden was neglected and overgrown and portions of the property were sold. The restoration process for the Blue Garden began in 2012 when digital copies of original plans and photographs were retrieved from the archives at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Blue Garden was opened in 2014.
The Blue Garden is private and open by appointment on most Thursdays from June 13 – October 10, 2019 at 11:00am and 2:00pm. Prior reservations and a payment of $15 per person are required in advance of your visit and to confirm your reservations.
Green Animals Topiary Gardens
380 Cory’s Lane off Route 114, Portsmouth, RI, 02871 Phone: 401-847-1000
This small country estate in Portsmouth is decorated with more than 80 pieces of topiary throughout the gardens, including animals and birds, geometric figures and ornamental designs, sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood. Green Animals is the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States. It hosts many seasonal and special events.
Hours: Open mid-May to early October; daily hours vary through the season. Call for schedule.
71 High Street, Westerly, RI, 02891
Lovely in-town Victorian Park; strolling; summer outdoor performances. Lots of wonderful trees, plants, and flower beds are in bloom in the warm seasons at this charming Victorian park in the middle of this picturesque town. Beds of dwarf conifers, day lilies, perennials, and much more. See full description of Wilcox Park.
10 Willow Avenue, North Hampton, NH, 03862 Phone: 603-964-5414
Flowers bloom from May to September at this Colonial-style garden. See full description of Fuller Gardens
Fells Historic Estate and Gardens
Route 103A / P.O. Box 276, Newbury, NH, 03255 Phone: 603-763-4789
This historic home overlooking Lake Sunapee has beautiful perennial and rose gardens, a heather bed and a lily pool of Japanese design. Grounds and gardens are accessible in all seasons, and tours are offered in the warm seasons.
See full description of The Fells.
Rhododendron State Park
424 Rockwood Pond Road, Fitzwilliam, NH, 03447 Phone: 603-532-8862
Magnificent rhododendron grove and wildflower trail. Named a National Natural Landmark in 1982, this rhododendron garden produces a glorious show at peak time in July. A nearby wildflower trail blooms from spring through fall. See full description of Rhododendron State Park.
45 High Road, Lee, NH
Called an oasis of art, horticulture, and inspiration. Bedrock Gardens is a privately owned property where the public is invited to tour and visit on Open Gardens Weekends six months of the year. The huge variety of garden plots includes a parterre garden, a swaleway, funnel gardens, an allee, the shrubaria, the GrassAcre, Belgian Fence, rock gardens, the coop and wave, a paddock garden, and more. Many special events include topics like beekeeping, ballroom dancing, and learning about caterpillars, native plants and pollinators. Printable map. Parking is a small lot on the property, supplemented by free shuttle vans for and from Mastway School, 23 Mast Road, Lee, leaving every 15 minutes. Hours: Open Garden Days, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.. Check garden website for Open Garden Days.
Admission: $10 suggested donation for adults.
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
139 Saint Gaudens Road, Cornish, NH, 03745 Phone: 603-675-2175
This property displays the works of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The property also includes lovely gardens and walking trails.