February 28th Rick, Tammy and I had the opportunity to visit Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston Massachusetts. This year marks their 31st year. That means they are 31 years into a master plan of 50 years. Tower Hill Botanical Garden is part of the Worcester Horticultural Society and the home of the Cary Award plants. Cary Award plants are trees, shrubs, groundcovers and hardy vines that provide multiseason interest and are durable for gardens in the Northeast- definitely my go to list when showing someone plants for their landscape. Worcester Horticultural Society is celebrating their 175th year, and I heard there will be special gardens commemorating different periods of time, planted at Tower Hill this year. Tower Hill also is home to an important collection of antique apple trees, and have an apple festival every fall. There are two conservatories, a winter garden, a café, and lots of weekend events so it is a fun and educational place to visit any time of year.
We also were very fortunate to walk a couple of the gardens with the tree and shrub expert Dr. Michael Dirr. That day the collection of witchhazels were in full fragrant bloom and the snowdrops and winter aconite were flowering. If you have ever asked a question about trees or shrubs at Rolling Green, we have consulted with one of Dr. Dirr’s books. As another member of our industry said yesterday, “its like talking with your neighbor”, he is so engaging and full of stories. He also brought us up to speed on the current hydrangea breeding programs. Michael Dirr’s team is responsible for the Endless Summer family of bigleaf or macrophylla hydrangeas, so it was interesting to hear about the evolution of Blushing Bride, Twist n Shout and Bloomstruck.
So until the weather warms up and you can work in your garden, plan a trip to Tower Hill. It is 1 ½ hrs from Portsmouth, just off 495, this side of Worcester. You will be inspired to plant something new in your garden this spring.