New England

Best New England Garden Attractions

From a bridge of flowers to the oldest topiary garden in the country, these eight New England garden attractions offer natural beauty in a curated setting. 

By Yankee Magazine

Mar 17 2022


From a bridge of flowers to the oldest topiary garden in the country, these eight New England garden attractions offer natural beauty in a curated setting. 

The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Fall, Massachusetts | Yankee Magazine
Lush foliage on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne, MA.
Photo Credit : Heather Marcus

Best New England Garden Attractions

Bedrock Gardens | Lee, NH

What was once a historic dairy farm is now transitioning to a 20-acre showcase of horticulture and art for public enjoyment. Among the eclectic attractions are a rock garden, a Japanese garden and tea house, a 200-foot water channel planted with lotus and water lilies, an abstract “painting” made up of ornamental grasses, scattered sculptures, and woodland trails.

Bridge of Flowers | Shelburne Falls, MA

Once a trolley bridge and now a footbridge, the Bridge of Flowers lives up to its name: a stately 400-foot span with cascades of bright blooms from April to October, and greenery arching up and billowing over. Truly, this is a walk to remember.

Celia Thaxter’s Garden | Appledore Island, Kittery, ME

Tours are relatively few and offered by reservation only, so you have to plan well in advance to visit the garden made famous in Celia Laighton Thaxter’s An Island Journal—but it’s an experience like no other in New England. Here, a reconstructed version of the 19th-century poet’s flower garden is filled with heirloom plants grown to maturity on the mainland by the Shoals Marine Laboratory (which is based on Appledore and oversees the plot), then transplanted to the island to bloom all summer.

Green Animals Topiary Gardens | Portsmouth, RI

Artistry meets arboriculture at the oldest topiary garden in the U.S., where you’ll find more than 80 trees and bushes sculpted into geometric forms and animal shapes, from a giraffe to a teddy bear. Part of the Newport Mansions, this former country estate also boasts vegetable and herb gardens, orchards, and a Victorian house overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Kinney Azalea Gardens | Kingston, RI

Few places are as romantic as this hidden gem in spring, when more than 500 varieties of azaleas come into bloom, and couples pose for photos at the signature Moon Gate stone archway. The public is welcome to explore the six-acre wonderland, which also has hundreds of types of rhododendrons and wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and evergreens. Donations welcome; many plants are offered for sale too.

Mount Desert Island Gardens | Mount Desert Island, ME

The ultimate one-stop destination for garden inspiration. The Land & Garden Preserve maintains three of the island’s gems: the historic Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor (reservations required); and the Japanese-inspired Asticou Azalea Garden and English-style Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor. Plus, you can visit the onetime home of landscape architect Beatrix Jones Farrand, Garland Farm, in Bar Harbor, or explore nature’s diversity in the Wild Gardens of Acadia, in Acadia National Park.;;

Mytoi | Chappaquiddick Island, MA

Nearly destroyed by a 1991 hurricane, this 14-acre Japanese-style landscape of intimate gardens, winding paths, and hidden nooks has been brought back better than ever by the Trustees of Reservations.

Pickity Place | Mason, NH

Step into a storybook at Pickity Place, crowned with a c. 1786 cottage that was the model for Elizabeth Orton Jones’s Little Red Riding Hood illustrations. It’s set amid 10 acres of woodlands and gardens that range from butterfly and bird themes to a kitchen garden that provides ingredients for the gourmet five-course luncheons served here. Plus, there’s an herb shop, a garden shop, and a greenhouse with plants for sale.

See More:

Best New England Nurseries & Garden Centers

Best Public Gardens in New England

Best New England Arboretums & Botanical Gardens