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All the Ways You Can Enjoy the Stunning Summer Blooms as They Appear in Boston

There’s more to enjoying Boston’s summer blooms than just stopping to take photos of the cherry blossoms on the Esplanade. In fact, there’s an entire four-season botanical garden (a flower lover’s dreamscape) dedicated to the growth and appreciation of plants within an hour from the heart of the city.  

That place is New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill—perhaps you’ve heard of its flawlessly managed gardens, sprawling woodland area, or its indoor year-round displays. “Any day of the year that you visit here, you will see something beautiful,” says CEO Grace Elton. “It’s really important for people to get a little green in their life.” 

Come for inspiration and education for your own garden; to unwind and be present; and to enjoy New England Botanic Garden’s vast program of unique ways to appreciate and surround yourself with the diverse and ever-present blooms. Here are some events blossoming from the Garden’s calendar, so you can add them to yours.  

Arts and Culture 

Elton says art is at the forefront of New England Botanic Garden’s programming, both in facilitating guests’ own creations and in displaying artists’ work through exhibitions and shows. 

“We teach botanical illustration, we’ve taught mixed media, all different types of hands-on art,” she says. You can try watercolors, flower arranging, drawing, photography, felting, and more—some classes are taught outdoors, where you can be immersed by the gorgeous views and nature you’re illustrating. 

The Garden also has an indoor gallery called the Milton Gallery where they display painting and sculpture. “At least once a year we try to do a big summer exhibition with a sculpture artist,” Elton says. The first was an outdoor kinetic sculpture exhibit by George Sherwood, and this year’s will be an aerial art installation by Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics, whose work has been displayed across the world.  

“We’re always looking for the next large-scale art exhibit,” Elton says. “We think it’s really fun to give art lovers a reason to visit the garden, and garden lovers a reason to appreciate art.”  

Additionally, for the past four years, the Garden has been dazzling New England audiences with Music in Bloom, classical music performances of songs by Juventas New Music Ensemble. “It’s new music, and they set up multiple ensembles throughout the garden—maybe four or five different stops,” says Elton.   

The idea is that you can stroll through the gardens, listen to a song or two, and then move on to the next ensemble while you admire the flowers and plants. Elton says you can bring a camp chair if you’d rather sit and enjoy one ensemble for longer—they serve food and drinks, so stay a while! 

Health and Wellness  

One of the best ways to take advantage of the dreamlike setting at New England Botanic Garden is to lean into that calming energy with a yoga class or another instructor-led therapeutic exercise on the grounds.  

“One of the most unique things about our classes is that you can be in the middle of the Lawn Garden surrounded by pollinator plants, you hear birds, and you can smell the fragrances drifting through the air,” says Elton. “You can’t get that anywhere else.”   

Elton also tells us that “forest bathing” has become popular at the Garden. It’s a guided meditative hike where an instructor leads you along one of the on-site trails. “The instructor will really help you notice nature in a different way,” Elton says. “It’s not about the destination or the miles you go—you’re actually experiencing every moment of the hike just for the hike.”  

Food and Beverage  

Whenever you plan your visit to New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, you can rest assured you won’t leave hungry. And for special events and evening affairs, there’s no need to bring your own bevs—the team at New England Botanic Garden has thought of everything.  

They have a café that’s open every day for lunch and special events. In the summer, they have beer gardens on Thursday evenings. “In addition to the café being open, we’ll also have a pop-up tent with pretzels and hotdogs, and grab-and-go-type food as well as the beer tent,” Elton says.  

The Garden team is even planning some farm-to-table dinners, one being a clambake and the other more plant-focused. “We have such a wonderful caterer who runs our café and does all of our catering for our events and weddings,” Elton says. That team is Peppers Artful Events, who do catering throughout New England and Boston at other cultural institutions. “They’re so creative, and they focus on in-season local produce, so the menu changes quite a bit.”   

Look for salads and green bowls, soups, and a selection of sandwiches to keep you satisfied as you fill your other senses with the smells, sights, and feelings of the ever-idyllic New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill.