Tower Hill Botanic Garden Joins Massachusetts ‘Garden Trail’
Monday, August 19, 2013
Ask most tourists about what attracts them to Massachusetts, and you're likely to hear references to colonial history, Plymouth Rock, the Freedom Trail, whale watching, and Tanglewood. But how about public gardens?
Massachusetts boasts some of the oldest and most beautiful gardens in the country. The cool-temperate climate is highly favorable to a wide variety of plants of ornamental and economic value, many indigenous to the state or region. Botanic Gardens, which display these plants with their proper scientific names, have long been a treasured resource for residents of the Commonwealth, who look to public gardens as a source of beauty and inspiration as well as information on how to create and maintain their own gardens.
In Massachusetts, ten botanic gardens located across the state have joined forces to make it easier for tourists to discover them. With the support of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, and several regional tourist councils, the gardens have created a new website, massbotanicgardens.org that provides descriptions, photos, and directions to each of these horticultural gems. The site was designed by Davis Advertising of Worcester.
The Gardens of Massachusetts
The gardens themselves are as unique as the different niches they occupy. Some charge admission, some are free, but all provide a special glimpse into the varied and dynamic world of Massachusetts horticulture. In the western part of the state, the Berkshire Botanical Garden presents meticulously groomed grounds, greenhouses, and special events, and the Botanic Garden of Smith College offers its Victorian Conservatory and exhibitions plus the 125 acre campus arboretum.
In Worcester County, Tower Hill Botanic Garden offers year-round beauty with two spectacular greenhouses and several distinctive outdoor gardens. East of Route 495, five gardens showcase native plants, annual trial gardens, mature specimen trees and shrubs, and much more. These include Garden in the Woods with its largest collection of plants native to New England and a certified Trillium collection,Wellesley College Botanic Gardens-which includes a dwarf conifer garden and an Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Gardens at Elm Bank-an historic estate by the Charles River with formal gardens and a "Blooms of Bressingham" border, Mount Auburn Cemetery-dating to 1831, the nation's first example of a garden cemetery, and an essential stop for birds and their admirers during spring and fall migration, and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, a historic landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to showcase trees and shrubs from around the world.
Heading to Cape Cod and the Islands? You will find public gardens there, too, including the Heritage Museums and Gardens, which includes a gorgeous rhododendron collection and a children's outdoor discovery area, and the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha's Vineyard, which holds an extensive collection of woody plants, many not hardy elsewhere in the state.
For tourists and Massachusetts residents alike, a re-awakening is at hand-although the Commonwealth doesn't have the moniker of "garden state" or "emerald gem"-it is no less a prime destination for natural beauty, manipulated by human hands, through the art and science of gardening. Discover Massachusetts' garden gems at massbotanicgardens.org, and visit a public garden today.
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