Top 10 Things ... for those who love to explore gardens

May 18. 2018 12:34PM
A misty early morning at Bedrock Gardens in Lee, where plants and artwork are brought together to create a truly amazing space. The garden is open to the public a few times each year. (Courtesy)

Bedrock Gardens - Lee

Bedrock Gardens is a true wonderland. You'll find its magic in the many sculptures onsite that seem to blend with the architecture of woodlands and gardens. In fact, it’s known for its concept of "the garden as a journey." Scattered among 20 acres there are sculptures of all types as well as over 1,000 species of plants, many in perennial beds, a dwarf conifer garden, a rock garden, pools, fountains, a formal parterre, a "funnel garden," the spiritual "Spiral Gardens," and the primitive but mysterious "Dark Woods."

Prescott Park - Portsmouth

Prescott Park is one of the most popular gardens in all of New Hampshire. It sits a stone’s throw from the Piscataqua River and Strawbery Banke, and features thousands of varieties of annuals, perennials, meticulously manicured shrubs, trees, and water fountains on ten acres.
The Old Garden was The Fells' first formal garden, built in 1909. It was restored 100 years later and still has its original layout. (COURTESY)

The Fells - Newbury

The Fells is a 1,000-acre estate overlooking scenic Lake Sunapee. The original owner, John Milton Hay, was the private secretary to President Abraham Lincoln. The gardens feature perennial gardens spread out along a 100-foot stone wall, a rock garden with over 600 different species and water features, a rose terrace with some of the original hybrid tea roses in place, a water fountain and a heather bed. The "Pebble Court" is home to boxwood, lilacs, yew hedge and the beautiful "Hebe" statue. Self-guided and guided tours are available to the public. 
Fuller Gardens is located at the former estate of Alvan T. Fuller at 10 Willow Ave., North Hampton. A Massachusetts governor, Fuller built a fortune as the first automobile dealer in the nation. He commissioned the gardens as a tribute to his wife, Viola, in the 1920s. (Courtesy)

Fuller Gardens - North Hampton

Fuller Gardens, a turn-of-the-Century estate, is home to over 2,000 rose bushes in hundreds of varieties. There are also hundreds of tulips, a hosta display garden, formal English perennial borders, annual beds, dahlias, sculpted hedges, and a tropical and desert conservatory. A Japanese garden and Koi pond are a special highlight of this magnificent property which was designed in the "Colonial Revival" style.

Rhododendron State Park - Fitzwilliam

Rhododendron State Park features a 16-acre rhododendron grove that is the largest in northern New England. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1982. The 2,725-acre park offers trails that surround the grove, allowing visitors the chance to view and smell the fragrant blossoms of Rhododendron Maximum though mid-July. There is also a wonderful wildflower trail maintained by the Fitzwilliam Garden Club that offers blooms from spring to fall. Expect to be serenaded by the many songbirds that live in the grove. 

The Barrett House - New Ipswich

The Barrett House is a historic property built in 1800 by Charles Barrett as a residence for his son. The garden on the property is referred to as "Grandmother’s Garden," and features many perennials that might have been planted during the colonial revival era such as hollyhocks, poppies, and morning glories. The 2 ½-acre garden is laid out in a European manner and today features bishop’s flower, hyacinth bean and other rare plants. 

The Moffatt-Ladd House - Portsmouth

The Moffatt-Ladd House garden was laid out in its present form by Alexander Hamilton Ladd in the late nineteenth century. A 300-foot path is flanked by formal gardens and leads from the house up four terraces to a wrought-iron gate at the rear of the property. A huge horse chestnut tree planted in 1776 by William Whipple upon his return from signing the Declaration of Independence is still on the property. The tree, which is dubbed "The Tree of Independence," is listed on the National Register of Historic Trees. An English damask rose planted in 1768 is also still thriving on the elegant property. 
The Rose Garden Patio is the setting for the authentic English cream tea served daily at Tarbin Gardens in Franklin. (COURTESY/JACKY TARBIN)

Tarbin Gardens - Franklin

Tarbin Gardens is located on four acres and features English-style gardens with water features and ponds, a tropical greenhouse, formal hedges, classic urns filled with annuals, an alpine garden with moss and lichen covered boulders, a bog garden, a rose garden patio and pergola, a sensory garden, and much more. Relax under the trees, take in the scents and enjoy the impressive surroundings of this hidden gem. 

Celia Thaxter's Garden - Appledore Island, Isles of Shoals

Poet Celia Thaxter's Garden takes some effort to get to, but even if you have to take a boat from New Castle's U.S. Coast Guard Station to get there, it's worth the trip. This garden, which was reconstructed and is maintained by the Shoals Marine Laboratory, is accessible to the public for tours. It was recreated right in the spot it was during Thaxter’'s life. You'll find raised beds, brilliant red poppies and too many perennials to list. Tours are led by UNH Marine Docents. Contact the Shoals Marine Laboratory for information at 603-862-5346.
With 100 species of plants blooming throughout the season, Celia Thaxter's Historic Garden Tours offer beauty and history for the one-day tour seeker. (Courtesy photo by Priscilla Chellis, Little River Windsors)

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