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Day Trip — Massachusetts Botanic Gardens

  • COURTESY OF TOWER HILL BOTANIC GARDEN<br/>Fall at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boyston
  • John Van de Graaff gives a presentation on "Wildlife on the Galapagos IsIands" at the monthly meeting of the Quabbin Photo Group Monday at the Quabbin Visitors Center in Belchertown.
  • Eleven Tibetan monks will be creating a sand mandala on the stage of the UMass Fne Arts Center Concert Hall Sept. 25-27. Public viewing Wednesday and Thursday, 1-4 p.m. and Fri., Sept. 27, 1-6 p.m.
  • Tunisian vocalist Sonia M'barek performs with the Arab music ensemble Al-Bustan Sept. 29 in Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College.
  • The jazz duo of Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa plays Thursday night in Bezenson Recital Hall at the University of Massachusetts.
  • An exhibit of work by New England artist Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957) runs Sept. 21-Oct. 14 at Memorial Hall Museum in Old Deerfield. Pictured: "Against the Evening Sky"
  • William Hite and Chrystal Williams are featured in the premiere performances of "Garden of Martyrs," a new opera by Eric Sawyer and Harley Erdman, Friday and Sunday at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Jerrey Roberts photo
  • A celebration of the power of poetry Wednesday at the Amherst Cinema will include a screening of "Louder Than a Bomb," a documentary about Chicago's city-wide poetry slam for teengers,and a reading by poet Martin Espada.

Massachusetts residents all have their favorite things about their home state. Whether it’s the beauty of the changing seasons, the varied scenery, the commonwealth’s rich history or Boston’s popular sports teams, there are many reasons to love the Bay State.

One treasure that some may have yet to discover is the commonwealth’s great variety of beautiful public gardens. Now it’s easier than ever to enjoy them, as ten gardens have teamed up with the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism to create a new combined website: massbotanicgardens.com. The website was designed to help plan garden visits more easily by providing information like directions, descriptions and photos of each location.

A number of gardens on the website are located in western Massachusetts, such as the Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton, but the list also extends eastward, including the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Worcester County. Between its two greenhouses and five unique outdoor gardens, Tower Hill offers a great diversity of horticultural artwork. Lunch is available at the Twigs Cafe, an indoor/outdoor eatery open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday.

A little further afield, there are numerous gardens in the Boston area, providing an opportunity to go “garden hopping.” The Garden of the Woods in Framingham is filled with plants exclusive to New England, all set on beautiful wooded paths. In Wellesley, the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens feature an entire garden of conifers and an Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden. Also in Wellesley, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Gardens at Elm Bank are formal gardens set on a historic estate.

Cambridge’s Mount Auburn Cemetery, the country’s oldest garden cemetery, is a particularly special place to visit in the fall, as it serves as a stop for migrating birds. And the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, also in Cambridge, features a garden of trees and shrubs designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the noted 19th century landscape architect.

Additional information about the gardens, such as ticket prices, visitation hours and other nearby attractions, can be found at the website.

— Justine Marks

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