Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 161: A Field Trip to the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill

Produced by Fine Gardening, Edited by Nate Gruca

There’s nothing nicer than being outside on a beautiful late spring day, especially if it means you get a whole day away from your desk. Danielle, Carol, and digital editor Christine Alexander recently played hooky from their editorial duties and went on a horticultural adventure at one of New England’s great public gardens. Located in Boylston, Massachusetts, Tower Hill is filled with fun places to explore, including formal gardens, woodland trails lined with native plantings, and two conservatories. After exploring the grounds and chatting about some of the great plants they came across, Danielle and Carol sat down for a chat with Tower Hill’s director of horticulture, Mark Richardson. We hope this episode inspires you to get out and enjoy a field trip to a public garden near you! 



Ashes Magnolia foliage

Ashe’s magnolia (Magnolia asheii, Zones 6–9) 

ohio buckeye

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia, Zones 4–8) 

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia, Zones 3–8)  Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata, Zones 3–8) 
Alpine columbine
Alpine columbine (Aquilegia alpina, Zones 3–8) 

Alpine columbine (or a look-alike cultivar) in Carol’s home garden 


The Belvidere overlook, with a view of Wachusett Reservoir 

‘Witches Broom’ ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba ‘Witches Broom’, Zones 3–9)  and close-up of foliage.

carex pennsylvanica

Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica, Zones 3–8) 

Cherelle nasturtium 

‘Cherelle’ nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus, annual) 

‘Carol Mackie’ daphne (Daphne × burkwoodii, Zones 5–8) 

Floating row cover protects the foliage of tropical container plants from sun scald when they are first moved outdoors in late spring. 

‘Narcissiflorum’ deciduous azalea (Rhododendron ‘Narcissiflorum’, Zones 5–8) 

Chinese nellia

Chinese neillia (Neillia sinensis, Zones 5–7) 

Scitilation rhododendron

‘Scintillation’ rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Scintillation’, Zones 5–8) 

ghost fern

‘Ghost’ painted fern (Athyrium ‘Ghost’, Zones 4–8) 


Golden groundsel (Packera obovata, Zones 3–8) 

View Comments


  1. [email protected] 06/22/2024

    More public garden visits please!!

  2. islandlover 06/24/2024

    I live in Massachusetts and have visited this garden. It is a fabulous garden! While these are wonderful photos, they do not portray the grandness and beauty a visit to Tower Hill will give you. I highly recommend visiting.

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