Spring is in the air! Driving through the Berkshires or hiking through its delightful forests amidst flowering trees, plants, and wildflowers is invigorating and breathes in life for us. Plan a day’s excursion to immerse yourself in the area’s native vegetation. To get you started, here’s your guide to the beautiful Berkshire Botanical Garden.
Why should you visit?
You may be wondering, what exactly is a botanical garden? Wikipedia describes a botanical garden as “a garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation, preservation, and display of a wide range of plants labeled with their botanical names.” Why is that important? Because having a high concentration of plants in a small area allows visitors a chance to see more than would be possible in a natural setting. Also, it is possible to get a close look and examine plants that may be of particular interest.
What is happening is synergy; the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. As you meander through the garden walkways, you will be impressed with the collection of over 3000 species of plants and flowers that are native to western Massachusetts.
What will you find?
The 24-acre garden is organized by different groups of plants and flowers, which you can observe and admire as you leisurely walk along footpaths. As you stroll through the park, you’ll find a banquet of floral and plant arrangements in a natural setting – a true feast for the senses. To get a birds-eye view of the garden, check out this map of the garden.
Some of the Garden’s unique displays include:
The New Wave Garden
In this section, plants of various heights are combined to make an irregular, intertwined arrangement of different plant species.
A walk across a field on a mowed path in spring invites the focused observer to explore uncultivated meadow grass, resulting in perhaps an intriguing discovery of a camouflaged animal or bird.
This is a section of various shrubs, delightful wildflowers and ferns that thrive beneath the shade of mixed hardwood and conifer trees. A small seasonal pool provides a seasonal environment for wetland plants and various animals.
The Herb Garden
Here is an opportunity to come in close contact with aromatic plantings and experience the natural fragrances that nature provides. With over 100 varieties of hardy and tender herbs, you can just imagine the natural aromas.
The Pond Garden
Situated in a natural hollow and surrounded by boggy soil invokes a sense of serenity. Robust plants that thrive in wet conditions such as hostas, ferns, grasses make for a lush scene.
The Proctor Garden
Featured here is a mix of shrubs and perennials. In springtime, purple lilacs bounded by a blue phlox carpet will dazzle you with color as the sweet fragrance fills the air.
Edible plants often come to mind when thinking of a garden. You will discover a fascinating method of gardening – growing one type of vegetable or fruit in arranged raised beds placed in neat grids.
The sum of gardens covers a broad range of the vegetation you will find growing in the Berkshires under different conditions. In some areas, sunlight bathes the plants while in other areas, shade protects the plants. The Edible Garden will certainly enhance your appreciation for the plant life of this region and the variety of specific growing conditions needed for each type of vegetation.
What additional features are there?
The garden environment lends itself to tranquility and contemplation – a welcome change from the fast-paced world in which we live. Also, you’ll find outdoor sculptures and large art displays distributed throughout the garden. Sit and rest on one of the conveniently placed benches to reflect on the beauty of creation. Listen to the sounds of birds singing and the gentle breeze whispering through the trees. Watch the cute little critters scurrying by, and take in the pleasing aroma of the various plants, herbs, and flowers. Nature can be relaxing and restorative. To learn more, check out the Botanical Garden’s classes and workshops that are available year-round. You can also purchase a gardening instruction book in the gift shop.
Where is the Botanical Garden and when is it open?
Hours of Operation: 9am – 5pm daily through October 31. It is open during the off-season free of charge, weather permitting.
Location: 5 West Stockbridge Road, Stockbridge, MA 01262
After spending a peaceful day examining and learning about the Berkshires’ flora and fauna and taking in the clear mountain air, you will certainly feel refreshed. Reserve a charming guest room at Devonfield Inn where you’ll find more of nature’s bounty on our beautiful property. In fact, you just may be able to identify some of the different plants and flowers with your newly acquired knowledge. Book your stay today!