New England has a wealth of public gardens, arboretums, and conservatories that can not only provide beauty and relaxation but also inspiration for our own gardens. Some are free or may accept reciprocal memberships from other gardens (with possibly a 90-mile restriction). Check the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program and this full North American list by state (pdf) to find over 345 gardens.
More information for favorite New England sites may be found here.
Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
This garden of the Native Plant Trust showcases plants native to New England in woodland, meadow, bog, pond, and other habitats, including about 100 rare and endangered species.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
A large, impressive, and varied garden, including woodland and waterfront trails. A favorite two-acre children’s garden is inspired by children’s books by Maine authors.
The garden also features ornate stonework, arbors, and ponds. Other sources of inspiration can be found in the kitchen garden, the fairy house village, the meditation garden, and a garden for the five senses.
Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, MA
A small, garden with a surprisingly large collection of annual and perennial plants and interesting features showcasing them, including terraces, rocks, water, and small buildings.
New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, Boylston, MA
Outdoor gardens include cottage, lawn, and secret gardens, while conservatory greenhouses feature subtropical plants and an orangerie. The orchard displays a large collection of heirloom apple trees.
Heritage Museums and Gardens, Sandwich, MA
Not only are there a diversity of gardens and water features, including herb, daylily, rhododendron, and hydrangea gardens, but also a museum of many vintage cars and a windmill.
Botanic Garden of Smith College, Northampton, MA
An impressive, large conservatory with tropical and desert plants, a campus arboretum, and rock, systematics, and Japanese specialty gardens.
Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
Harvard University’s renowned 150-year-old collection of trees and shrubs from eastern United States and eastern Asia (which shares similar species). Part of the “emerald necklace of Boston parks” designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The bonsai collection may only be viewed from mid-April through October.
Mount Auburn Cemetery Arboretum, Cambridge, MA
The first garden cemetery in the United States now featuring thousands of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, some of which have botanic labels. A popular place for bird watching as well.
Lists for more gardens in New England:
Explore These 14 New England Gardens from boston.com
New England Botanical Gardens List 1 from visitnewengland.com
New England Botanical Gardens List 2 from visitnewengland.com
New England Gardens (with Photos, 123) from tripadvisor.com