Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden Boylston, Massachusetts is 132 acres of trails and planned gardens that feature the finest plants that New England offers through a year-round events schedule. Photo: IKvyatkovskaya/Fotolia


»History & Gardens

History & Gardens


Tower Hill Botanic Garden began in Boylston, Massachusetts in 1986 when the Worcester County Horticultural Society purchased Tower Hill Farm. The history of the Horticultural Society dates back to 1842 when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit educational organization. The Worcester County Horticultural Society is the third oldest in the country and has been the host of flower shows in Worcester for more than a century. Tower Hills Botanic Garden is comprised of 17 individual gardens, each with their own unique plan. There are 132 acres of space total but much of this is woodland preserve and open space. There is currently renovation going on that will endure through 2038 as part of a Master Plan.

The Apple Orchard- The Frank L Harrington Sr Orchard features the Davenport Collection of heirloom apples on 238 pre-20th century apple trees. There over 119 varieties of apples in the orchard that guests have an opportunity to taste at the Fall Fest celebration annually.

The Cottage Garden- The very first garden at Tower Hill, the Cottage Garden mixes shrubs, annuals, bulbs, perennials, and ornamental grasses, with the peonies, iris, daylilies, and other yard blooms that were preserved from the old farm house when they designed the new garden. The purpose of this garden is to emphasize bright color throughout each season. This garden is especially appealing to people looking for inspiration in their own backyard gardens.

The Entry Garden- The E.Stanley and Alice M. Wright Entry Garden and Thomas Smith W. Entry Court serve as the welcoming center for visitors as they enter the gardens. Visitors learn the history of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, Tower Hill Botanical Garden and the property and the different gardens.

The Field of Daffodils- This Garden is exactly as it sounds—a field of 25,000 daffodils blooms annually in late April and is one of the most popular attractions at the Botanic Garden. The bloom period peak is the third weekend in April through the first week in May but this can vary from year to year so feel free to call ahead before planning your trip for a better estimate.

The Inner Park- The Palmer W. Bigelow Jr. Inner Park is an area of the gardens that is under continual development. The park was once five acres of field that was left to be over run by nature. In the 1990’s Tower Hill staff began clearing the brush and opening the land to become a North American Flora garden but with Greco-Roman landscape and Classical Revival architecture. The space is very whimsical and romantic. Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts - Photo: Richard/Fotolia

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»More Gardens

More Gardens


The Lawn Garden- 350 species of trees dominate the Lawn Garden which was the very first major undertaking of Tower Hill in 1989. The Lawn Garden also features thousands of bulbs that bloom in the spring, perennials that follow in the summer such as lilies and berry bushes in the winter. The lawn has a dramatic display of fall leaf colors every autumn.

The Limonaia- The Lemon House was opened in 2010 and is modeled after a traditional lemon house with cathedral ceilings and a sub-tropical environment. The plants in the Lemon House have fruit, sweet fragrances, and bold flowers. During the day temperatures are usually around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pliny’s Allee- This row of oak trees is a beautiful walkway in every season. The Oak trees are underplanted with oak leaf hydrangea, witch hazel, and other shrubs that produce pretty white flowers that borders the path between the mighty oaks. At the end of the Allee there is a fountain and two busts of the Roman God Janus.

The Asian Woods and Moss Steps- the Asian Woods are made up of Asian and Eurasian Flora and are part of the Edward Mezitt Shade Garden. The Moss Steps are like a garden within a garden. The Castalia stone steps were taken from farm fields that were part of Lake Erie in Ohio. These stones are limestone based and the perfect foundation for moss to grow. The banks of the steps have been planted with mountain laurel and wildflowers that are native to Massachusetts.

The Systematic Garden- This unusual but informative garden gives visitors a one-of-a-kind look at the taxonomy for plant life. This garden represents 26 distinct plant families and acts as a living encyclopedia.

The Orangerie- The Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Orangerie features a glass roof that allows plenty of sunlight while keeping the house cool. The house is full of winter blooming potted plants that are fragrant and can be moved outside in the summer months. This space was open to the public in 1999.

The Vegetable Garden- This organic garden features heirloom and new species of vegetables and herbs, as well as flowers that are edible and delicious. Visitors will learn how to mulch, compost and use Integrated Pest Management for insect and pest control. Education on sustainable gardening techniques in the focus on this garden and the crops that are grown change yearly based on educational themes. Crops grown during the season are harvested and donated to local food banks or used in the Twigs Café.

The Secret Garden- Truly a secret as it is hidden from view in the third row of the lowest terrace of the Lawn Garden, the Edith J Beals Secret Garden features a pool and 17th century fountain. To enter the garden visitors must descend a staircase from an upper terrace or find the brick path, once inside visitors are surrounded by herbaceous borders that are low maintenance and sweetly aromatic.

Winter Garden- Surrounded by other buildings on three sides, the winter garden is easy to visit in the winter because visitors are more protected from the elements. This garden highlights plants that do particularly well in the winter time such as evergreen forms and shrubs. Winter Garden also has several thousand bulbs that bloom in the spring and perennials. The focal point of the Winter Garden is Domitian’s Pool. This pool is heated so that large scale bronze box turtle fountain can run year-round.

Wildlife Refuge Pond- the pond is home to fish and amphibians that are native to the area and provides water to the wildlife over the 132 acres of woodlands and gardens. The Hope Spear Wildlife Refuge Pond is ½ acre and is 100% native wetland shrub and herbaceous perennials.

The Wildlife Garden-Worcester County Horticultural Society transformed the primary dumping grounds of Tower Hill Farm, and past grazing grounds for dairy cattle into a 1-acre wetland and vernal pool that wildlife has been drawn back to and visitors can enjoy. New trees were planted and a bird watching house was erected with several well stocked birdfeeders in the area. There are two bronze crane sculptures displayed here also.

The Court: A Garden Withith Reach- This garden is specifically designed for visitors that present significant mobility issues and features Tower Hill plantings, moveable planters, and other elements in an environment that presents solutions for gardeners that may be presented with mobility issues at home. Visitors can learn different ways of gardening that can help them still be able to enjoy the hobby at home. Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts - Photo: IKvyatkovskaya/Fotolia

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»Plan your Visit

Plan your Visit


Educational Opportunities

Tower Hill Botanic Gardens is dedicated to educational programs and will work with school groups to customize programs from public schools as well as homeschool groups, scout groups, and summer camps. Programs vary in length and activities and can be tailored to fit your groups need. Contact the Manager for School, Youth, and Family Programs for more information.

Events

There are a few events that patrons of the Tower Hill Botanic Garden look forward to annually that are open to the New England Community in addition to the many plant and flower shows that are held at the garden and art exhibits, concerts, and gardening classes. More information about these can be found on the events calendar on their website.

Fall Fest- Every year in October, Tower Hill Botanic Garden opens the Apple Orchard for tours, apple tasting, cooking demonstrations, live music and all things in celebration of fall. There are vendors that come to cell handmade crafts and ware, food trucks, garden tours, horse drawn carriage rides, and more.

Annual Plant Sale- Host to the region’s largest plant sale, Tower Hill Botanic Garden kicks off the summer every May with a plant sale that features a selection of plants for every level of gardener from the most common bulbs to unusual and intriguing varieties of plants and gardening accessories.

Private events can be held at the Botanic Gardens. Weddings, business and social events are frequently held at the gardens. More information can be found online. Be sure to also view their strict photography policy.

Shopping and Dining

The Garden Shop is open every day except Monday and offers gifts and gardening tools and accessories. Visitors can also purchase seasonal indoor and outdoor plants through The Garden Shop and many gardening books are also available. Children will enjoy the variety of toys, nature themed crafts and gardening accessories. Make sure to stop by during the annual summer clearance sale every May.

Stop for Lunch between 11am-3pm everyday but Monday (unless it’s a holiday then they will be open) at Twigs Café. All the food served at Twigs is locally sourced and served fresh. The menus can change daily and rotate based on which ingredients are available and in season. Twigs is a children friendly establishment. During the warmer months, a terrace will be open for outdoor seating with mountain and water views.

Back to: Botanical Gardens to Visit on Your Romantic Weekend Getaway

11 French Drive, Boylston, Massachusetts 01505, website, Phone: 508-869-6111 Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts - Photo: IKvyatkovskaya/Fotolia

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Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts