Elm Bank beckons anew

Visitors at the Weezie’s Children Garden at Elm Bank can sit and enjoy some of the views the 36-acre property offers.

By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

For some, the start of spring is the date of the March equinox. Others don’t consider the season to have arrived until the snow melts away and the trees and flowers begin blooming. However, for many, the spring finally springs when the Massachusetts Horticultural Society opens the Gardens at Elm Bank for the season.

On May 1, the Gardens at Elm Bank reopened to unveil grassy fields, budding trees, and blossoming flowers. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Gardens offer community members refuge from the stress of daily life and a place to relax or picnic in nature with 13 unique gardens to spend time in.

“I’d like for people to think that there are beautiful public gardens in their backyard to enjoy,” said Katherine Macdonald, president and executive director of the Gardens. “It’s just such a special place.”

Tulips bloom at Elm Bank as the Massachusetts Horticultural Society continues to prepare the space for the spring, summer, and fall.

Tulips bloom at Elm Bank as the Massachusetts Horticultural Society continues to prepare the space for the spring, summer, and fall.

Elm Bank also offers classes and programs for community members of all ages. Programs include a symposium to provide participants with ecologically sustainable methods of caring for one’s lawn, floral design and fiber art workshops, and children’s story times and activities Friday through Sunday at 11 a.m.

In June, the Gardens at Elm Bank will host its third annual garden party with the theme “A Night in Napa.” Later in the summer, Elm Bank will be partnering with the Dover Town Library to bring “Super Awesome Fun Time” and Caterpillar Club to the Gardens.

While there are certainly worthwhile classes and events planned, some of the best times can be had simply soaking in the sights, smells, and sounds in the gardens.

The Gardens at Elm Bank boast their Italianate Garden, designed by the Olmsted Brothers, a formal and historic garden, and the site for many of the weddings Elm Bank hosts.

For a whimsical and breathtaking experience, visitors at Elm Bank can visit the Weezie’s Children Garden, which offers a variety of flowing plants, a Zen garden, benches and tables for sitting, fountains, and winding paths.

There is also a vegetable garden, which uses organic practices to grow a delicious landscape. In recent years, the Gardens at Elm Bank provided food pantries with over four thousand pounds of food from the vegetable garden.

Statues of Flora, Ceres, and Pomona, goddesses of horticulture, also grace the Gardens at Elm Bank in the Goddess Garden. The statues formerly sat at the top of Hort Hall on Tremont Street in Boston, but have since made their way to Wellesley’s Elm Bank.

“The way we support the gardens are by people coming to visit, by people becoming members, and they can enjoy all the benefits of membership, and also people support us through donations,” Macdonald said. “We also have a lot of people who volunteer and help us in the gardens. That’s one way we can make 36 acres of gardens work: with lots of volunteers.”

Membership is $55 for individuals and $90 for families, which provides benefits including free admission to the Gardens at Elm Bank, discounts at local nurseries, gift certificates, discounted classes, reciprocal garden admissions, and more. Occasional visitors can also purchase a day’s admission for $10, with no charge for children under the age of 12.

Visit the Gardens at Elm Bank’s website at www.masshort.org for a full calendar of events for spring, summer, and fall, as well as information on the Gardens’ history and membership options.

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