“Tulips were a tray of jewels.” ― E.M. Forster, Howards End (1910)
Spouse and I went to Tower Hill, in Boylston, MA, and Garden in the Woods, in Framingham, MA, on 21 May 2019. It was a typical spring day, with a high temp in Boylston of 63F and in Framingham of 70F.
I wouldn’t make the 2+-hour drive for just one of these gardens alone; you can experience each one in about two hours, plus time for lunch, for preference at the quite nice Farmer & the Fork Cafe at Tower Hill — Garden in the Woods doesn’t have a cafe, but there’s some prepared food in the gift shop and you can bring a picnic there.
Tower Hill has the more formal gardens, though it didn’t seem like nearly as many as are listed on the website; these include a courtyard with plantings, fountains, and sculpture; conservatories — the orangerie held a couple dozen tropical and tender plants, the limonaia seemed more of an event venue, with a yoga class while we were there; a sizable lawn garden, with 350 species of shrubs and trees that are hardy in zone 6b; an apple orchard; a wildlife refuge pond; and, probably the most interesting of the lot, the systematic garden, with separate areas for plant families, showing how different from each other plants in the same family can be. The vegetable garden, apple orchard, and small cottage garden didn’t have much going on so early in the season, nor the winter garden, and the “field of daffodils” garden was finished. Some of the gardens are nominal, like the entry garden and the moss steps. Tower Hill also has a mile-long Loop Trail, partially in woods, plus smaller trails off of it, with native woodland plants, statues, a pavilion, an overlook, gazebos, and other art and structures. The distant views are great.
Layout (mostly courtyard), landscape, views (see map for more info)
Metal kinetic sculptures by George Sherwood were on display all over the gardens.
The systematic garden
In the woods and along trails
Flowers, mostly around the lawn garden
For those who have lived
where lilacs bloom, who have lost
to idleness and wander through
doorway after doorway
when the lilac trees open their infinite
mauve rooms. For those
who give in and glide a little behind
their lives, a hand trailing
in the water
behind a rowboat. ― Sue Sinclair
This is one in a series of posts revisiting field trips taken from January to June 2019, as described here.