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Welcome Spring at Northeast Botanical Gardens

Celebrate the arrival of spring by viewing birds, bees, flowers and butterflies.

northeast botanical gardens

"Central Park Conservatory Garden 10.26.1" by gigi_nyc is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After an especially trying winter, it’s safe to assume we’re all looking forward to spring this year. And what says spring more than the sweet smell and bright colors of blooming flowers, the buzzing of honeybees and fluttering of birds and butterflies at one of the many Northeast botanical gardens?

The Northeast is home to a variety of botanical gardens and parks that feature beautiful blossoms as well as a handful of aviaries and butterfly houses.

This season, welcome spring by enjoying the beauty of nature. What’s more, exploring local outdoor gardens is a great way to celebrate the season while following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Check out these breathtaking Northeast botanical gardens with our guide to all things flowers, birds, bees and butterflies.

Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.

“Elizabeth Park, West Hartford, CT” by nhighberg is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Northeast Botanical Gardens: Connecticut

Elizabeth Park – West Hartford

Home to over 100 acres of formal gardens, green space and walking paths, Elizabeth Park is open year-round, dawn to dusk, and is free to the public. The 11,000-plus flowers of the Robert A. Prill Tulip Garden bloom in early spring.

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens – Stamford

Online events have replaced meetings, classes and lectures, but the grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. Visitors will find a dozen gardens and miles of trails.

New Canaan Nature Center – New Canaan

This nature center’s 40 acres feature habitat diversity, a live birds of prey exhibit along with a variety of gardens and a greenhouse. The visitor center is temporarily closed, but the trails and grounds remain open.

Wickham Park – Manchester

This park features 280 acres, including 10 themed gardens, as well as open fields, woodlands, ponds, picnic areas and an aviary home to a variety of birds. The park opens April 3 at 9:30 a.m. and will be open daily, closing at sunset.

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The Arboretum at Connecticut College – New London

The Connecticut College Arboretum is home to a collection of over 6,000 plants, including a native plant collection, Caroline Black garden and a greenhouse. Natural areas are open, but the campus landscape remains closed.

Hollister House Garden – Washington

The garden opens April 23. Visiting hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. The first flowers to bloom at Hollister House are daffodils and Lenten hellebores.

Gertrude Jekyll GardenWoodbury

Located on the grounds of the Glebe House Museum, which resumes tours in May, the Gertrude Jekyll Garden is open year-round, seven days a week, for self-guided tours.

Harkness Memorial State ParkWaterford

The gardens, grounds, picnic area and waterfront are open year-round, and visitors are welcome until sundown. Mansion tours are currently suspended.

“Rotch Jones Duff House & Garden Museum” by destinationnewbedford is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Northeast Botanical Gardens: Massachusetts

The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum – New Bedford

Here, you’ll find a rose garden with more than 350 rose bushes. The garden is open everyday from sunrise to sunset, but visitors need to schedule their visit online.

AAA members can save on admission.

Boston Public Garden Boston

Dating back to 1837, this was the first public botanical garden in America. Visitors will find 24 acres of Victorian-style gardens featuring 80 species of plants.

The Gardens at Elm Bank – Wellesley

Opening April 1, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., there’s lots to discover on this 36-acre property. Explore more than a dozen unique gardens, including a temple and Asian garden, goddess garden, shade garden, daylily garden and more.

The Botanic Garden at Smith College – Northampton

There are several outdoors gardens – including perennial, Japanese, woodland and wildflower – and a campus arboretum home to a collection of trees and shrubs. Both the campus arboretum and gardens are open daily, year-round, and face masks are mandatory at all times.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden – Boylston

This 171-acre property is home to 17 different gardens, including a wildlife garden, secret garden, systematic garden, vegetable garden, lawn garden, a field of daffodils and more. Entry tickets must be reserved in advance, and visitors must wear masks at all times.

Highfield Hall & Gardens – Falmouth

The grounds are open daily, year-round from dawn to dusk. Visitors can peruse the sunken garden, West garden, the Beebe Woods and beech tree path.

Mytoi Garden – Edgartown

This 14-acre, Japanese-style garden is home to a mix of native flora and exotic plants. You’ll also find a pine grove, a small pond and an island, which makes a great habitat for turtles, frogs and goldfish.

Long Hill Arboretum – Beverly

Explore the 114-acre grounds to discover a collection of trees, shrubs and perennial plants along with a network of woodland trails and a 2-acre vegetable garden, an apple orchard and children’s gardens.

Berkshire Botanical Garden – Stockbridge

This 24-acre botanical garden features dozens of unique gardens, including a pond garden, daylily walk, tree collection, children’s discovery garden and much more. Timed tickets are required.

Heritage Museums & Gardens – Sandwich

Opening April 24, these 100-acre grounds feature trees, shrubs, designed gardens, sweeping lawns and nature trails. The spring brings blooming rhododendrons and flowering trees.

Garden in the Woods – Framingham

Scheduled to reopen in mid-April, this 45-acre spot features native New England plants, natural habitats, paths and more.

AAA members can save on admission.

The Butterfly Place – Westford

Home to both New England and tropical species of butterflies, the Butterfly Place is open until Columbus Day. Masks are required, and visitors are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens – South Deerfield

Open, on a limited basis, Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance times are 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

“Fuller Gardens-North Hampton, NH” by Gail Frederick is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Northeast Botanical Gardens: New Hampshire

Fuller Gardens – North Hampton

This public botanical garden is known for its formal rose gardens, but you’ll also find English, Japanese and dahlia display gardens. Gardens are open daily, from mid-May to mid-October, between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Prescott Park – Portsmouth

Discover formal gardens, a water feature and walkway on the 10-plus acres of Prescott Park. Visitors will find tulips in bloom in early spring.

Bedrock Gardens – Lee

This 37-acre site houses a public garden filled with lush greenery, unique sculptures, a historic farm and private garden. The garden opens May 12.

Rhododendron State Park – Fitzwilliam

This state park is also a National Natural Landmark. It houses a 16-acre grove of great-laurel rhododendron and a wildflower trail where buds bloom in early spring.

Maple Hill Garden at Beaver Brook Association – Hollis

With great viewing opportunities from April to October, this spot is open daily. Visitors will find 13 themed gardens and a wildflower trail.

Tarbin Gardens – Franklin

Opening May 1, there are several gardens to see here, including a Mother’s Day garden, catalpa garden and formal garden along with a woodland area.

Enfield Shaker Museum Herb Garden – Enfield

Take a stroll to the past as you peruse plants that were grown and harvested by 19th-century Americans. There are nearly 100 different types of plants, including herbs, heirloom fruits and more.

Kirkwood Gardens of the Squam Lake Natural Science Center – Holderness

This informal garden is home to a variety of flowers, open daily and free of charge to the public. The live animal exhibit and hiking trails are currently closed.

“Willowwood Arboretum 09132015 (49)” by nolagrrlnyc (valary) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Northeast Botanical Gardens: New Jersey

The Willowwood Arboretum – Far Hills

Open from 8 a.m. to dusk, this arboretum is home to several formal gardens and walking paths that take you through open areas and woodland.

New Jersey Botanical Garden Ringwood

Visitors will find a variety of beautiful flowers here, featuring annual, perennial, wildflower, Italianate, lilac, hostas and rhododendron gardens.

Rutgers Gardens – New Brunswick

Discover several different types of gardens – rain, pollinator, succulent, evergreen, etc. – as well as tree and holly collections and a bamboo grove. Parking is limited and wearing a mask is encouraged.

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens – Montclair

These gardens contain about 3,000 varieties of orchids, producing over 100,000 blooms from mid-May through the first week of June. There’s also the PresBee Sanctuary, which houses 10 active beehives.

Greenwood Gardens – Short Hills

Open May through November, Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Greenwood Gardens in home to formal Italianate gardens. Timed ticketing only.

Deep Cut Gardens – Middletown

This 54-acre property contains a variety of gardens, a koi pond, greenhouses and 52 varieties of roses on over 180 bushes.

Van Vleck House & Gardens – Montclair

These gardens – including butterfly, edible, formal, winter and more are open to the public year-round, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor center and bathroom facilities are closed due to COVID.

Reeves-Reed Arboretum – Summit

These grounds are open daily, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will find display gardens, woodland trails and, throughout April, a Daffodil Bowl filled with thousands of flowers.

Brookdale Park Rose Garden – Montclair

Peruse 29 separate beds of hybrid tea, floribunda, shrub, hybrid musk, polyanthas, rugosas and antique roses, including 1,500 bushes of over 100 varieties.

Frelinghuysen Arboretum – Morristown

Find perennial, winter, rock, vegetable, cottage, crescent, alpine and four seasons gardens at this arboretum. Open daily, from 8 a.m. to dusk, parking is limited and buildings are currently closed.

Grounds For Sculpture Hamilton

For a combination of artful sculptures and natural beauty, visit this unique spot. The 42 acres of land are home to wildflowers, butterflies, ponds, sculptures – and paths to explore it all.

Leonard J. Buck Garden – Far Hills

Located on a 33-acre wooded stream valley, this garden contains rock, alpine and woodland gardens along with plenty of flowers, shrubs and trees.

Morven Museum & GardenPrinceton

Visitors can explore Colonial revival and terraced gardens. Open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – except from 12:45 to 1 p.m. for cleaning.

The Cross Estate Gardens – Bernardsville

Open daily from dawn to dusk, these grounds are home to formal perennial and native plant gardens as well as a wisteria-covered pergola and mountain laurel allee. The annual plant sale is scheduled for May 1.

David C. Shaw Arboretum – Holmdel

Covering 22 acres, this arboretum contains hundreds of species and a variety of flowering trees and shrubs.

The Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Stone Harbor

These trails are open to the public, but social distancing and/or face masks are required when visiting the bird sanctuary.

Rancocas Nature Center – Westampton

This nature center features a children’s garden, dragonfly pond, pollinator-wildlife garden, butterfly house and more. Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Duke Farms – Hillsborough

Get some fresh air and find plenty of orchids at this spot spanning over 1000 acres. The buildings are closed to the public, but trails are open Mondays through Fridays.

“Central Park-Conservatory Garden, 10.20.13” by gigi_nyc is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Northeast Botanical Gardens: New York

Central Park, Conservatory Garden – Manhattan

This 6-acre garden features three unique sections: the French-style North Garden, Italianate Center Garden, and the English-style South Garden.

New York Botanical Garden – The Bronx

This 250-acre garden is home to 1 million plants. Visitors must reserve timed-entry tickets in advance.

AAA members can save on admission.

Pelham Bay Park – The Bronx

The city’s largest park property houses bridle paths, hiking trails, Orchard Beach and the Bartow-Pell Mansion, where the formal garden and grounds are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to dusk.

Wave Hill – The Bronx

This public garden is home to 4,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, vines and herbaceous plants. Opening March 16, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., advance ticket reservations are required.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Brooklyn

Find fragrance, herb, rock, rose, Shakespeare, water gardens and much more. Advanced tickets are required and face coverings must be worn by all guests over age 2. Closed Mondays.

Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing

Located on Main Street, this 39-acre garden features two blue atlas cedars at the entrance, leading to a variety of gardens and flowering trees.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens – Buffalo

Find indoor and outdoor gardens along with greenhouses featuring a variety of orchids, native and tropical plants. Open year-round, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for certain holidays. Reservations are required due to limited capacity.

Clark Botanic Garden – Albertson

Visitors can view the pollinator and rain gardens and walk the paths, but must wear masks and keep social distance. The garden is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Highland Botanical Park – Rochester

Home to 500 varieties of flowering shrubs, this tree garden includes lilacs, Japanese maples, rhododendrons, dogwoods and much more.

Planting Fields Arboretum – Oyster Bay

Explore over 400 acres of land and two greenhouses. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., social distancing is required and capacity is limited.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden – Staten Island

Perennials are the first to bloom at this garden, which also features gardens inspired by a variety of time period and places, like the Chinese scholar’s garden and Richmond County Savings Foundation Tuscan Garden.

Cornell Botanic Gardens – Ithaca

The campus grounds are home to a 150-acre arboretum and specialty gardens, including wildflowers and a conifer collection as well as herb, hillside, young flower gardens and more. The grounds are open to the public, but faces coverings are required.

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion – Canandaigua

This 50-acre estate features several flower gardens. An orchid show is scheduled for April 23 to 25, with the grounds reopening for the season on May 1.

Montgomery Place Campus – Red Hook

Reopening March 6, the grounds are available to public on Saturdays and Sundays only, from dawn to dusk. Victors can explore the formal gardens and manicured lawns surrounded by 45 acres of farmland and 235-acre woodlands.

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site – Hyde Park

The formal gardens of the Vanderbilt Mansion contain over 100 flower beds featuring annuals. The grounds are available daily, from sunrise to sunset.

Orange County Arboretum – Montgomery

Located within Thomas Bull Memorial Park, this 35-acre spot is home to a variety of trees and shrubs. It’s open from dawn to dusk.

Gardens of the Battery – Manhattan

This 195,000 square foot garden of perennials is free and open to the public. There are sights to see year-round, but it’s especially nice in the spring.

Heather Garden – Manhattan

A four-season garden spanning three acres, this spot houses trees, shrubs and perennials, including dozens of varieties of heaths and heathers.

91st Street Garden – Manhattan

Part of Riverside Park, this community garden lies between 90th and 91st streets. Volunteer gardeners tend to the garden, which features perennial and annual flowering plants.

“Prescott Farm” by susteph is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Northeast Botanical Gardens: Rhode Island

Prescott Farm – Newport

This 40-acre farm houses kitchen and herb gardens, historic buildings and a windmill. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Roger Williams Park – Providence

The Botanical Center houses about 12,000 square feet of indoor gardens. There are also outdoor rose and Japanese gardens as wall as walking paths and trails.

Blithewold Mansion – Bristol

This 33-acre estate offers plenty to see, including historic and contemporary gardens – rose, rock, water, pollinator, vegetable and more – with walkable pathways for strolling. There’s also a lover’s lane and a bamboo grove.

Green Animals Topiary Garden – Portsmouth

Starting April 16, this sculpted garden is open daily at 10 a.m. Face coverings are required on the grounds and social distancing is mandatory.

AAA members can save on admission.

Wilcox Park – Westerly

Located beside Westerly Library, visitors will find perennial gardens, a fish pond and an open meadow area at this park. Several plantings are labeled for identification.

The Farmer’s Daughter – South Kingstown

This family-run farm offers bouquets, precut flowers for DIY arrangements or shears and a bucket for picking your own fresh flowers.

Wicked Tulips Flower FarmExeter, R.I. and Preston, Conn.

The Rhode Island location is expected to open in late-April and early- to mid-May in Connecticut. U-pick tickets will be available online.

Kinney Azalea Gardens – South Kingstown

Open daily, during daylight hours, this garden houses a variety of plants and blooms. Many plants are available for sale.

Which of these botanical garden would you like to visit this season? Tell us in the comments. 

For more images of these beautiful Northeast botanical gardens and parks, check out the slideshow below.

Comments
  • Catherine M.

    Bristol Rhode Island
    Mount Hope Farm is a nationally certified arboretum

    Reply
    • I agree, it’s shocking that Coastal Maine was not included in the list.

      Reply
    • I agree. It’s a fantastic garden that reminds me of Longwood Gardens in PA, although somewhat smaller.

      Reply
      • Suzanne F.

        I agree that Boothbay should have been included. Their gardens are amazing.

        Reply
    • Me too!!! I scrolled through the whole list expecting to find it. It’s wonderful!!!

      Reply
  • Linda S.

    Love to have this list — but I believe you should have included Maine — Booth Bay has a beautiful garden— Our favorite!

    Reply
  • I think this year it would be fun to try to get all the ones in RI and some in NH.

    Reply
  • Kathleen C.

    I was wondering why you did not include Maine. The Botanical Garden in Boothbay is one of the best I’ve been to! There are also other gardens, such as the one at Historic New England’s Hamilton House in South Berwick.

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Kathleen. Great question! The Northeast is home to many botanical gardens, but we decided to only cover states located within our footprint (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire) and encourage people to stay local during the pandemic.

      Reply
  • Thayer D.

    The most fantastic garden in New England is the Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay.Been there at least 10 times. They keep adding every year.

    Reply
    • Dana L.

      Hi Michele!
      The gardens are all divided by states, which are noted in the subheads. Thanks for reading! 😉
      -Dana L.

      Reply
  • Louise L.

    I find it hard to believe that there are no botanical gardens in Vermont. I know that there is a wildflower farm somewhere up north, and a Japanese garden in one of the state parks out near Manchester.

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hello, Louise! You are correct. But like Maine, Vermont is not part of our footprint, and so we chose not to include it at this time due to COVID.

      Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  • Joanne C.

    I suggest you give info about Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in your next issue…it is one of the leading gardens not only in the northeast, but in the entire United States.

    Reply
  • Susan P.

    Thank you so much for this list!
    Excited for flowers to start blooming again!

    Reply
  • Marion R.

    I understand you were highlighting your coverage area, but for those of us in Eastern MA Maine and Vermont are a lot closer and more accessible than Buffalo or Canandaigua, NY. The quarantine requirements on returning from these states has been much less onerous, also.

    Reply
  • Krista C.

    On your way to or from some of those listed, you could visit the Hamilton College Arboretum in Clinton, NY. Home of renowned and magnificent Saunders’ Peonies and the popular Root Glen (named for the Root family, including statesman and Nobel Peace laureate Elihu Root, who was born on the college campus).

    Reply
  • Barbara

    The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Boston, is part of Frederick Law Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace. The gardens of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, serves the entire state with their garden resources.

    Reply
  • Susan G.

    What a wonderful resource! It would be helpful for you to also send it as an attachment thatn can be downloaded and printed. I agree with the comments that Maine and NH should have been included in your list. For Maine, besides the NE coastal garden, also list those on Mount Desert Island: Asticou Azalea garden, Thuya garden, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller garden, Beatrix Farrand garden at Garland Farm.

    Reply
  • Mary F.

    Thuja Gardens on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, a small private botanical garden, is also exquisite…also very close to Acadia National Park, another place with visiting.

    Reply

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