While on Cape Cod last week, spouse and I visited The Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich, mainly for a behind-the-scenes antique car tour — they have about 40 in their collection, made from 1899 to 1962 — but also to see the gardens.
There is a lot to like about these gardens at the end of June, even though many of their signature plants — hydrangeas, rhododendrons, daylilies, fringe and Franklinia trees — weren’t blooming:
- the garden isn’t overwhelming in scope or size (100 acres) yet has a good variety of plants, most of them labelled;
- there’s art in the gardens — “Natural Threads” was the fabric-sculptural exhibit when we were here;
- there are both a labyrinth and a maze;
- there’s a pond and a waterlily pool & fountain (my favourite);
- we saw plenty of frogs and eastern painted turtles, and heard song sparrows singing their hearts out;
- we didn’t have time to check them out, but there are several wooded trails around the property;
- there’s a fun sensory play area (“hidden hollow”) with a tree house and stations for making music, building things, engineering things, splashing around in water, painting, climbing, making forts, digging in sand, looking at things with magnifying glasses, etc. — which we did have time to check out.
Here are some of the highlights. Visit if you get the chance.
I especially enjoyed the (mostly) shade gardens in the windmill area:
The maze was fun, and the first of the fabric art sculptures was there, titled Modern Dance:
From there to the herb garden:
And then to the labyrinth; there were many trees in the paths, and the path itself was mostly shells:
“Just at present you only see the tree by the light of the lamp. I wonder when you would ever see the lamp by the light of the tree.” ― G.K. Chesterton
Nearby was more art (‘We Weave Our Own Web’) and an eastern painted turtle making its way through the woods’ edge:
From there to the sundial (in the daylily garden, though very few were blooming yet), then the waterlily pond and fountain, with many frogs, eastern painted turtles — including a teeny tiny one — and flowering lilies:
Next past a swath of astilbe and some foxglove to the pond:
Then to Hidden Hollow, an enchanting play area for little and big people alike (I pumped some water and poured it on a wooden stove):
I liked this evergreen planting, and this waterway, and especially this Natural Threads art — crocheting a web in a tree:
Isn’t it beautiful?
There’s also a cafe (PDF menu), with a nice summer berry salad, a green salad, sandwiches and wraps (meat and vegetarian), quiche, clam chowder, a vegetarian Mediterranean flatbread, and wines, beers, sangrias, iced tea, lemonade, plus desserts, muffins, potato chips.
We were so busy enjoying the garden and cars that we didn’t even get to the museum proper or the carousel or costume exhibits. We’ll have to return.