Whether enjoyed inside or out, flowers and plants help breathe life and joy into our lives. That makes botanical gardens even more special. Check out these 10 beautiful Massachusetts botanical gardens when you need a taste of nature at its very best.
Enjoy beauty both inside and out at New England Botanic Garden. Their flowers, plants, and trees are extraordinary. From Nov. 25 through Jan. 8, their “Winter Reimagined” program warms up even the chilliest of souls.
Offering lectures for the public and a certification process for prospective horticulturists, Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge is an educational haven. Located on 15 acres, the grounds often have farm animals roaming among the flora. Guided public tours are available every day but Sunday. Memberships are available.
Featuring three distinct gardens on campus, the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens showcase a wealth of natural beauty. At the Alexandra Botanical Garden visitors are treated to a vast array of trees and shrubs from around the world. At H.H. Hunnewell Arboretum, several natural habitats afford views of a dwarf conifer garden, a maple swamp, and more. The Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses features some unusual plant life from places including Africa, Mexico, and Malaysian and Brazilian rain forests.
Located on the campus of Smith College, the Botanic Garden of Smith College includes a conservatory and greenhouses, affording visitors up close and personal views of native New England trees, shrubs, herbs and flowers. Check the campus website or call for hours of operation, as although it is well worth a visit, they are known for closing early some days.
Open year-round, the Polly Hill Arboretum is well worth a visit. Located on Martha’s Vineyard, the native woodland on this site is both beautiful and unique. Enjoy 20 acres under cultivation as well as the 40 acres of woodland. Check the website for a wealth of programs available to the public in season.
Open all year, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is open from sun up to sun down every day of the year. There is no admission fee, but donations are appreciated, as they allow the program to—wait for it—grow! Over two hundred acres make for a vast expanse of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers, and a perfect research area for Harvard faculty and students. A visitor center features programs for the public.
Although only open from April through October (check website for exact dates each year), the Heritage Museums & Gardens offers a brilliant floral display. A seasonal special event—Gardens Aglow: A Treasured Holiday Tradition—takes place in the lighted gardens from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, and has become a favorite holiday tradition for many locals.
A variety of horticulture-related events—all open to the public—take place each year at the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden. Featuring numerous gardens, an arboretum, and a greenhouse, the site is open throughout the academic year. The big yearly event held here is the Annual Spring Flower Show. Check the website for the schedule.
Run by the New England Wild Flower Society, the Garden in the Woods is set on 45 acres and features an abundance of both rare and native plants and flowers. A pond, a bog, a brook and a few springs afford even more plant growth. A garden shop sells native plants for your garden.
The Public Garden in Boston was the first public botanical garden in the country, and is still one of the most popular. Exotic imported trees and vibrant floral displays grace the garden. Local researchers discovered new ways of creating hybrids and propagating plants during their time in the Public Garden. Plan to spend an afternoon in mild weather.