Welcome Spring at Northeast Botanical Gardens

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

Nothing says spring quite like the bright colors of blooming flowers, the buzzing of honeybees and fluttering of birds and butterflies. Kick off the season in the fields, greenhouses, aviaries and butterfly houses of these Northeast botanical gardens.

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 Conservancy – West Hartford

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

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens – Stamford

Open daily from dawn to dusk, visitors will find a dozen gardens and miles of trails here. Bartlett has a list of online events, classes and lectures that nature-lovers of all ages can take advantage of, plus a concert series on select Sundays through the summer. Mid-May through mid-September, Master Gardeners from the University of Connecticut offer a free plant clinic on site to help solve your garden issues. Parking and admission are free. Dog- friendly.

New Canaan Nature Center – New Canaan

This nature center’s 40 acres feature trails, an outdoor birds of prey exhibit, a variety of gardens and a greenhouse. Bring the kids and explore the boxwood maze in the Children’s Play Garden, plus animal exhibits, local art, crafts on Wednesdays and more at the visitor center. Free to the public and dog-friendly.

Wickham Park – Manchester

Wickham Park has10 themed gardens (Italian, Irish, Sensory, Oriental, etc.), as well as open fields, woodlands, ponds, picnic areas and an aviary. Open daily from the first weekend in April through the last weekend in October, from 9:30 a.m. to sunset. Entrance fee is $7 per car on weekdays and $9 on weekends and holidays. Dog-friendly.

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The Arboretum at Connecticut College – New London

See the Connecticut College Arboretum’s collection of over 6,000 plants. Open to the public every day of the year from sunrise to sunset.

Hollister House Garden – Washington

Experience the manicured and lush setting of an English garden right in Washington, Connecticut. Opening day is April 22. Come early in the season to see the daffodils and Lenten hellebores, which are the first to bloom. Visiting hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4p.m.

Gertrude Jekyll GardenWoodbury

Located on the grounds of the Glebe House Museum, the Gertrude Jekyll Garden is open free to the public year-round, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

Harkness Memorial State ParkWaterford

The gardens, grounds, picnic area and waterfront are open year-round, and visitors (and dogs) are welcome until sundown. Parking is free for residents with a Connecticut license plate.

“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 and entry is free. Reservations are not necessary, but visitors can plan in advance by scheduling their visit online. If you’d like to tour the museum, 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. Free and open to visitors 365 days a year. Leashed dogs are permitted.

The Gardens at Elm Bank – Wellesley

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. Open seven days a week from April 1 to October 31,10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last entry is 5:30 p.m.). Pack a picnic – picnic tables, benches and bistro seating are available. General admission is $10. Parking is free.

The Botanic Garden at Smith College – Northampton

Here you’ll find a perennial flower garden, Japanese garden, woodland and wildflower garden and more. The campus arboretum has a impressive collection of trees and shrubs. Both the campus arboretum and gardens are open daily, year-round.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden – Boylston

This 171-acre property has 17 different gardens, including a wildlife garden, secret garden, systematic garden, vegetable garden, lawn garden, a field of daffodils and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry is 4 p.m.).  General admission rates starting April 1: $18/$16 for seniors/$8 for children/$7 for dogs.

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. Regularly scheduled docent-led tours walking of the grounds are free with admission. Admission is $10/$8 for seniors. Children under 17, active military and vets are free. Leashed dogs are also welcome and there are numerous dog-friendly trails in Beebe Woods.

Mytoi Garden – Edgartown

This 14-acre, Japanese-style garden showcases 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. Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission is $5.

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. Timed reservations are encouraged. Admission is free on weekdays and $10 per car on weekends.

Berkshire Botanical Garden – Stockbridge

This 24-acre botanical garden grows dozens of unique gardens, including a pond garden, daylily walk, tree collection, children’s discovery garden and much more. Grounds are open daily, May 1through October 31, 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Timed tickets are required. General admission is $15/$14 for seniors. Tuesdays are free!

Heritage Museums & Gardens – Sandwich

These 100-acre grounds feature trees, shrubs, designed gardens, sweeping lawns and nature trails. The spring brings blooming rhododendrons and flowering trees. Heritage opens for the season on April 23. Visitors are asked to purchase tickets online prior to arrival.

Garden in the Woods – Framingham

This 45-acre spot displays native New England plants, natural habitats, paths and more. Open seasonally, the garden is scheduled to open to the public in mid-April. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the visitor center. Entry is $16/$12 for seniors/$6 for kids. Active military and spouses are free with valid ID. AAA members can also save on admission.

The Butterfly Place – Westford

Home to both New England and tropical species of butterflies, the Butterfly Place is open seasonally from early spring through Columbus Day. See website for prices.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens – South Deerfield

This huge glass conservatory is filled with butterflies, moths and tropical vegetation. Seasonally and weather-permitting, there are also outdoor gardens filled with flowers that butterflies love. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No advance reservations are required. See website for prices.

“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. Admission price is $9/$8 for seniors/$6 for students with ID/$4 for children under 12.

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. Free tours are conducted every Friday in the summer, beginning in mid-July. Entrance is free and accessible to all.

Bedrock Gardens – Lee

This 37-acre public garden is filled with lush greenery, unique sculptures, a historic farm and private garden. The garden is seasonal and is open from May 11 to October 10, Tuesday through Friday and the first and third weekends of the month, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Take a self-guided tour or a docent-led daily overview garden tour, free with admission ($10 suggested donation).

Rhododendron State Park – Fitzwilliam

This state park is also a National Natural Landmark. It houses a 16-acre grove of great-laurel rhododendron – the largest in New England, and a wildflower trail, which blooms from early spring through the first frost of winter. Open daily for a small entry fee of $4 for adults and $2 for children. Pets are permitted in select areas of the park.

Maple Hill Garden at Beaver Brook Association – Hollis

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

Tarbin Gardens – Franklin

There are several gardens to see here, including a Mother’s Day garden, catalpa garden and formal garden along with a woodland area. Open seasonally June through September, as well as Mother’s Day weekend and Memorial Day Weekend. Admission is $10/$8 for seniors (cash only). Check website for current days and hours.

Kirkwood Gardens of the Squam Lake Natural Science Center – Holderness

Stop and smell the flowers at this informal garden, open daily and free of charge to the public. Visit the live animal exhibit at the science center and hiking trails for a fee. Check website for rates.

“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 and free to to the public, this arboretum is home to several formal gardens and walking paths that take you through open areas and woodland. Follow their weekly bloom report to stay updated on what’s flowering throughout the seasons.

New Jersey Botanical Garden Ringwood

Visitors will find a variety of beautiful flowers here, including annual, perennial, wildflower, Italianate, lilac, hostas and rhododendrons. Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the spring and summer, admission and parking are free, except on summer weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day when a state parking fee of $5 is enforced for New Jersey-registered vehicles ($7 for out-of-state, cash only).

Rutgers Gardens – New Brunswick

Discover many different plant types at the official botanic gardens of Rutgers University. The sun and shade garden, rain garden and pollinator gardens are among the highlights. The public areas of Rutgers Gardens are open Tuesday-Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens – Montclair

These gardens contain about 3,000 varieties of irises, producing over 100,000 blooms from mid-May through the first week of June (check website for exact dates). There’s also the PresBee Sanctuary, home to 10 active beehives. While there is no admission fee, there is a suggested donation of $10 per person. Street parking only with limited spots during peak bloom season.

Greenwood Gardens – Short Hills

Experience peace on the grounds of Greenwood Gardens as you explore the formal gardens, winding paths, grand fountains and more. Open May through November, Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15/ $14 for seniors and students with ID/$5 for children.

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. Open daily, year-round from 8 a.m. to dusk.

Van Vleck House & Gardens – Montclair

Butterfly, edible and formal gardens are just a few of the gorgeous green spaces to enjoy at this once-private, 12-acre state. Open to the public daily, free of charge from dawn to dusk.

Reeves-Reed Arboretum – Summit

Once a country estate, Reeves-Reed Arboretum is now listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. These grounds are open daily, year-round, but throughout April you can see their famous Daffodil Bowl filled with thousands of flowers. Free to enter but suggested donation is $5 per person. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., April 1 through October 31.

Grounds For Sculpture Hamilton

For a combination of art and natural beauty, visit this unique spot. Discover garden after garden, filled with wildflowers, butterflies, ponds, impressive sculptures and paths to explore it all. The fun continues indoors with exhibitions and galleries, or dine at Rat’s overlooking the gardens for a meal – and a view – you won’t soon forget. Advanced timed ticket reservations are highly recommended for Grounds for Sculpture. See website for hours and ticket rates.

Morven Museum & GardenPrinceton

Visitors can enjoy both history and nature at this stunning property. Colonial revival and terraced gardens are the stars. Open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10/$8 for seniors, students, youth (age 7-18) and active military. Children are free.

The Cross Estate Gardens – Bernardsville

Open daily from dawn to dusk, these grounds are home to both formal and native perennial and native plant gardens. You don’t want to miss the wisteria-covered pergola and mountain laurel allee. Free entry and parking.

Rancocas Nature Center – Westampton

Come visit the nature center and check out the the children’s garden, dragonfly pond, pollinator-wildlife garden, butterfly house and more. Visitor center is Open Tuesdays, Thursday, Saturdays and Sundays and includes bird seed for sale, live animals, natural history displays and restrooms. Nature trails are open daily from dawn to dusk. Suggested donation of $2 per visitor.

“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

Discover the three unique sections of this 6-acre garden: the French-style North Garden, Italianate Center Garden, and the English-style South Garden. Check website for seasonal hours and ongoing restoration.

New York Botanical Garden – The Bronx

This 250-acre garden is home to 1 million plants. Purchase tickets at the Garden or reserve in advance online and display them on your mobile device for quicker entry. See website for parking and admission prices.

Wave Hill – The Bronx

Located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, the Wave Hill garden overlooks the Hudson River and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Come and get inspired by the immaculate grounds, art displays and year-round tropical blooms in the conservatory greenhouses. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $10/$6 for students and seniors/$4 for children 6 and up. Free on Thursdays! On-site and nearby parking are available.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Brooklyn

Here you’ll find more than 12,000 species of plants spread across 52 acres. In June, 10,000 roses bloom into life in the Cranford Rose Garden. Another summer highlight is the wildflowers in the Native Flora Garden. Check website for seasonal hours and admission prices. Advance ticket reservations are recommended.

Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing

At nearly 40 acres, this serene escape flourishes with a wide array of flowers, plants and trees, with smaller gardens themed around world cultures. Enjoy the cherry trees blossoming in spring and lilies in summer, take in the aromas on the fragrance walk and see what all the buzz is about in the bee garden. Open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April-October there is a small admission fee of $6/$4 for seniors and students/$2 for children 4-12 years old.

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., seven days a week except for certain holidays. E-tickets are required due to limited capacity. Admission is $14/13 for students/$12.50 for seniors/$7.50 for children 3-12. Parking is free.

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. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.

Highland Park Conservancy Botanical Collections – Rochester

A world-class arboretum and National Register-listed landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. See 500 varieties of flowering shrubs and trees, including lilacs, Japanese maples, rhododendrons and dogwoods at one of the oldest public “tree gardens” in the United States. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Free to the public.

Planting Fields Arboretum – Oyster Bay

Explore the over 400 acres of land and two greenhouses on this sprawling Gold Coast estate. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking fees are collected from May 1 to Labor Day ($8 per car). Admission is $10/$9 for seniors/ $5 for youth (7-17). Kids 6 and under are free.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden – Staten Island

Perennials are the first to bloom here, where you will also find gardens inspired by a variety of time periods and places, like the Chinese scholar’s garden and Richmond County Savings Foundation Tuscan Garden. The main outdoor grounds and gardens are free of charge to the public, seven days a week from dawn to dusk, and do not require advance registration or ticketing. See website for special ticketed garden entrances and events.

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. Open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park – Canandaigua

A 50-acre estate with gardens galore. Bring a picnic, marvel at the mansion and relax in one of the many themed gardens. Open seasonally, beginning at the end of April. Admission is $15/$13 for seniors and AAA members/ $8 for student, military and youth/$3 for children.

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 to the public daily, from sunrise to sunset.

Orange County Arboretum – Montgomery

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

Gardens of the Battery – Manhattan

Take in 195,000 square feet of perennials. There are sights to see year-round, but it’s especially nice in the spring. Free and open to the public.

Fort Tryon Park Heather Garden – Manhattan

Located in Fort Tryon Park with stunning views overlooking the Hudson River, this impressive four-season public garden boasts one of the largest heath and heather collections in the country. Dog-friendly.

91st Street Garden – Manhattan

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

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

Northeast Botanical Gardens: Rhode Island

Prescott Farm – Newport

Walk the grounds of this 40-acre farm to see what’s growing in the kitchen and herb gardens and check out the historic buildings and windmill. Open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.

Roger Williams Park Botanical Center – Providence

New England’s largest glasshouse display garden, there’s always something blooming at one of the four year-round greenhouses at the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park. Take a walk through the rose maze from June through September. Open Tuesday through Sunday with timed entry between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (last admission at 3:30 p.m.). General admission is $5 and $2 for seniors, military and children. Book tickets in advance online for easy entry.

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. See website for seasonal hours. Reserve tickets online for your visit, which includes self-guided exploration of the mansion, garden and grounds.

Green Animals Topiary Garden – Portsmouth

Starting April 15, this sculpted garden is open daily at 10 a.m. A highlight of any visit to the Newport Mansions, here visitors can stroll among a menagerie of topiary animals and colorful blossoms. Pack a picnic! 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. Park is open from dawn to 9 p.m. Dog-friendly.

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. Opening day for the 2022 season is March 19.

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

Two locations with millions of flowers! Every spring, Wicked Tulips offers pick-your-own farm events during peak bloom season (usually around late April to mid-May, though dates vary depending on weather and location). Keep an eye on their website to stay updated on blooms and ticket sales. The Rhode Island farm is less than 25 miles from the Connecticut location, so if you miss blooms at one, you still have a chance at the other.

Kinney Azalea Gardens – South Kingstown

Open daily during daylight hours, the colorful display of the Kinney Azalea Garden in full bloom is a sight to see. Many plants are available for sale.

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

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

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33 Thoughts on “Welcome Spring at Northeast Botanical Gardens

  1. Many of the small colleges founded in the 19th century became home to gorgeous arboretums also, some of which are maintained by separate foundations and allow public access to trails. Besides the ones mentioned here – Smith, Wellesley, Arnold Arboretum- be sure to ask or look if you are in any college town from Poughkeepsie (Vassar) to Swarthmore, PA (Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore all have them).

  2. Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, New Jersey is a 30-acre natural preserve that features woodland trails, beautiful special gardens, wildlife, two ponds, streams and hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas and other unusual species of plants and trees. Open to the public daily from 9 am to sunset free of charge. For additional information go to http://www.laurelwoodarboretum.org

  3. I don’t understand that you included New Hampshire but not Maine and Vermont. I love the idea of this list, but- honestly?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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!

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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