Thursday, January 10, 2013

Getting The January Stink Off at Tower Hill

January can be a cruel month in central CT.  If you're lucky average daytime highs hover around freezing.  The ground is typically snow covered and prevailing wind chills are cold enough to freeze your thoughts.  For most of the month the sun rises well after 7 and sets before 5.  No doubt there are worse places to spend January, and if you live in one of them you not only have my sympathy but my promise that you will never have to worry that I may become one of your neighbors.


My patio in January 2011.  Not a January Nick (or my back for that matter) cares to repeat anytime soon.

Every so often January tosses a curve ball though and behaves more like late February or early March.  By no means am I an advocate for global warming.  But I have to admit I feel positively giddy over the prospect of the forty and fifty degree weather we are currently experiencing.  Somebody pinch me!  Anybody but Al Gore.

Last Sunday morning as I sat swilling coffee while watching Meet The Press I came to the conclusion that the day needed to hold more for me than laundry and cleaning.  Why not a trip to Tower Hill Botanical Garden in West Boylston, MA?  Not only do they have cool plants but they serve food.  Although it was short notice, I tossed out an invitation on Facebook and was able to get two friends to meet me there.




Tower Hill is a horticultural gem hidden away in suburban central Massachusetts, about an hour and fifteen minute drive from my house.  In addition to the outdoor gardens and indoor Orangerie and Limonaia, there is also a library, a cafe and miles of nature and hiking trails.  During the growing season, many of the display gardens are creatively planted with unusual tropical and annuals.  If I were to make a list of places in Southern New England where you could most likely get rid of the January stink, Tower Hill would be at the top.   






No we're not in Kansas anymore, we're in Massachusetts





























All of the plants are in containers




Roses bloom in January in the Orangerie at Tower Hill




Oranges in the Orangerie







View of the Systematic Garden from inside.  Check out what it will look like in a few months HERE






After touring the Orangerie, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the cafe then moved on to the Limonaia.


Lisa daydreaming about a tropical paradise




This Bromeliad tree was way cool!







Bird of Paradise in bloom in the Limonaia














Lemon tree very pretty




Believe it or not but the tree is a Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire'









It was such a nice day that we decided to take a stroll through the lawn gardens.





A pair of Paperbark Maples (Acer griseum) flanking a large Pieris










What are they looking at?




I love the reflecting pool and turtle fountain located in the winter garden between the Orangerie and Limonaia. 


View of the Orangerie from Domitian's pool in the winter garden.  The turtles are named Castor and Pollux.




Don't ask







What do you think?  Is a visit to Tower Hill a great way to spend a sunny forty degree day in early January or what?  If the weather gurus are correct, we are being led to believe that temperatures in the fifties can be expected this coming weekend.  If anybody has suggestions as to where I can go or what I can do, I'm open.

Sue~





 

18 comments:

  1. Hey I recognize this place! Great photos of a great garden Sue. Thanks for sending out the invitation. It was a great day.

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  2. I've enjoyed every visit to Tower Hill; not an overwhelming size and well done throughout. However I do not have the appropriate wardrobe for a visit this time of year !

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    1. No problem, Kathy. Should you decide to take a chance we can hook you up with the appropriate wardrobe. Even Lisa failed to wear appropriate footwear on Sunday so we couldn't venture too far off the cleared paths.

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  3. Great reporting of your adventure! Such beautiful photos...

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  4. It looks like a great place and your photographs are very good.

    Where did you learn to write? Bean counters can't write . . .

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    1. I keep a ghost writer on staff, Jack.

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  5. Great post Sue. I so wish I had checked f/b - would loved to have joined you guys. Great photos, my favorite is the acre griseum, spectacular! Thanks for sharing, Ann

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    1. Next time I'll have to remember to tag people. We still have a day or two to come up with a destination for this weekend. How hard is it to drive to NYBG?

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    2. Sounds great! Wish there were an easy train to NYBG, but the drive doesn't look bad ~1 hour 45 minutes from Wethersfield, sans traffic

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  6. You are a very smart lady, laundry can be done after the sun goes down. What a beautiful place!

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    1. Many of the plants made me think of you and Denise, Loree. See, we do have gardens here in the winter!

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  7. Oh Sue, you know all the best places. The bromeliad tree is way cool and everything looks so happy and healthy. I'm in serious lust with Bismarkia nobilis (looks much like the bluish leaved palm in your sixth picture)but am determined not to add any more large plants to the migrating herd. This place is gorgeous; the lady in the next to last picture is simply gushing arout her visit! Caelum in terra indeed!

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    1. For a small garden, Tower Hill seems to be well funded. They also have some very creative plant people on staff. Definitely a must see if you're ever in the neighborhood.

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  8. Yes, a trip to Tower Hill in winter is the BEST! I got all warm and relaxed looking at the tropicals in the beautiful Orangerie, but I have to agree with the commenter above that the scene stealer is the photo of the Acer griseums glowing with the pieris. Wow.

    I'm glad you posted a picture of oranges growing in the Orangerie!

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    1. Tower Hill seems to get better every time I go, Laurrie. We're fortunate to have such a place close enough to visit often.

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  9. There's nothing like a visit to the tropics to help you through the cruelest month. And nothing like an orangerie to make me want one. I fell in love with them after visiting George Washington's Mount Vernon. No, he wasn't alive.

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  10. what a great escape from winter. And yes, I'm not going to even ask...

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  11. Looks like a great day! Love the pix of you "drinking" the fountain water. The orangerie reminds me of the US Botanic Gardens in nearby DC. It's a fun place to head to on blah days.

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