Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston Mass...Part 2

 Last week I posted the first installment of my visit to Tower Hill. I took a fair amount of photos and decided to break them up into two posts. Today we will visit the Systematic Garden, the meadows and the Orangerie courtyard among others.
The Systematic  Garden  segregates plants by family, to display plant taxonomy in a live setting. Here you see the garden transitioning from the grasses to the conifers, with the Golden Larch as a focal point. I'm a sucker for conifer gardens; there are so few we can grow well here in inland Norcal.

I took most of my photos here in and around the grasses -they were beautifully grown and the only thing missing was back-lighting. 

Check out this cool chenille plant container-it had a few companions anchoring benches and the corners of the beds.

Many east coast/cold winter botanical gardens have conservatories where they may shelter some of the plants that live outdoors in summer . It also provides a garden for greenery- starved residents to visit for a winter plant fix. Tower Hill has two small conservatories, the Orangerie and the Limonaia which are connected by what I refer to as the turtle courtyard.
In years past, this area was packed with lavishly planted containers-including the understory of the palms you see in the large green planters. With a few exceptions, this year these plantings were quite modest . My friend who accompanied me is a long time member of Tower Hill. She  lives nearby and is able to visit often.It's her feeling that everything in this area was just pulled out of the two conservatories this summer and remained un-arranged or staged in any way and perhaps somewhat neglected. This to me seemed to be a resource issue, both human and otherwise.Other areas of the garden were well maintained and one could sense a struggle with priorities. 

This imposing urn would have looked better empty-the sad little planting within was way out of scale.

There were still a few drama combos in this area.

...but it was generally low key.

The meadow area (I believe the official name is the Wildlife Garden) was new to me , and very well done, full of pollinator plants with a large pond to stroll around.

And here is the 'real' greenhouse where the work goes on behind the scenes.

I'll finish this post with a few random shots from around the garden, and urge you to be a member of botanical gardens in your area if you have the means to do so. These are the places that can inspire people of any age to make a garden.

In spite of my mild complaints about the courtyard, I do recommend a visit to Tower Hill if you find yourself in the area west of Boston. I can also give a thumbs up to the food in the cafe , and the beautiful view from the al-fresco dining patio.


  1. I'm glad the turtle courtyard wasn't 100% perfect like the rest of the Tower Hill Garden - it makes me feel a tiny bit less awful when I compare it to my local botanic garden. I loved that combination with Persian Shield, Coleus and Salvia. Thanks for sharing this visit, Kathy!


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