Tower Hill Botanic Garden

One of my favorite places to visit in New England is a hidden gem in central Massachusetts called Tower Hill Botanic Garden. It consists of a wide variety of beautiful garden areas, including both formal and informally-designed spaces, and ranging from large open sites to shady woodland trails. The visitor/education center is also very impressive, with tropical greenhouses, classrooms, a café, and gift shop.

Gazebo at the garden entrance

Bromeliads frame the gazebo archway

The Entry Garden

Approach to the visitor center

A colorful vertical garden was recently installed near the visitor center entrance.

Café terrace

The Winter Garden

Mist fountain at the entrance to the Systematic Garden

The Systematic Garden

Inviting seating areas are scattered throughout the property.

Outdoor fireplace surrounded by plants near the old farmhouse (administrative offices)

A pleasant, shady spot in the garden

Terraced entrance to the Lawn Garden

The Lawn Garden is surrounded by colorful plantings.

Pergola at the south end of the Lawn Garden

A seating area in the Secret Garden also provides a view to Tower Hill’s heirloom apple orchard to the south.

Heading back to the parking lot through the lovely Entry Garden

For views of Tower Hill (and its tropical greenhouses) during another season, check out Winter Garden Scenes — an earlier post in this blog.

Photos by Alice Webb

Eastport Park in South Boston

One of the parks in south Boston’s Seaport district that I visited this summer is a lushly-planted sculpture garden called Eastport Park. It provides a nice respite from the pavement and buildings that dominate this area of the city. The park is privately owned, but it is open to the public. Below are some photos of this pleasant space.

Photos by Alice Webb

National Public Gardens Day

Today, May 6th, is the third annual National Public Gardens Day in the U.S. Its purpose is to highlight public gardens across the nation and to emphasize the important roles they play in plant/water conservation, environmental stewardship, education, and provision of green/open space. In celebration of this day, below is a sampling of a few favorite plants from my own private garden. (Photos were taken from May through October, depending on period of bloom).

 Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Red Velvet’

 Helianthus x ‘Lemon Queen’

 Hemerocallis x ‘Frans Hals’ (Daylily)

 Nipponanthemum nipponicum (Montauk Daisy)

 Baptisia australis (False Indigo)

 Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’

 Sedum x ‘John Creech’

 Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ (Dwarf Lilac)

 Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago)

 Veronica spicata ‘Purpleicious’

 Amsonia tabernaemontana (Blue Star)

Photos by Alice Webb

Winter Garden Scenes

I recently spent a part of an afternoon at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, in Boylston, Massachusetts, which is a short 15-minute drive from my home. It’s always an inspiring place to visit, regardless of the season. In November they opened the second of two indoor winter plant spaces, called the Limonaia (Lemon House), primarily containing their Citrus and Camellia collections. The Orangerie is the original indoor plant wing, which is full of gorgeous tropical plants, including orange trees, of course. These two wings are delightful places to spend a cold winter day, where you can imagine yourself in a more southerly clime.

The outdoor spaces are still beautiful during winter, though. The walkway that meanders along the perimeter of the Lawn Garden has been cleared of snow, so I took a stroll down this path for some fresh air and photos. There are several other garden areas that aren’t currently accessible, but I plan to return during the spring or summer and write about these in a future post.

This is the new Winter Garden, situated between the Orangerie (building wing in background), and the Limonaia. An unusually deep snow cover hides most of the plantings.

View from the Limonaia toward the Winter Garden

One of several seating nooks in the Orangerie

Path along the perimeter of the Lawn Garden

Pergolas on the south side of the Lawn Garden

View toward the botanic garden buildings, including an old farm house with staff offices

Colorful winter scenery

For more information on Tower Hill Botanic Garden, visit

Photos by Alice Webb