Amherst, MA Gardens – Sep. 16, 2021

It didn’t rain today and we visited The Breakers in Rhode Island, Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Massachusetts and the private garden of Shirley Williams which is called Brigham Hill Farm also in Massachusetts.


Cornelius Vanderbilt built this mansion for his family in 1895. His fortune was made from his father’s investments in steamships and railroads.

The mansion has 70 rooms and 138,300 s. f. There are 8 family bedrooms, 33 servant bedrooms and 20 bathrooms.

The landscape is 13 acres and features large expanses of lawns, some topiaries and large trees.

The landscape goes down to the bay where the waves gives the name “breakers” to the mansion.

The Preservation Society of Newport County is working on renovation of the landscape.

Here are some of the rooms in the mansion:

The Great Hall

The dining room

The billiard room

The library

The outdoor terraces

The staircase


Kitchen & Butler’s Pantry


This botanic garden is located on top of a hill overlooking a reservoir and beautiful hills.

I loved the massing and grouping of the plants:

There were also many rare and unusual plants:

Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Persian Shield

Iris blooming in September!

Orangery conservatory

Many acres of land are crossed with paths in the deciduous forest:

Staircase and pond



This is a private garden in central Massachusetts which is on 90 acres of managed woodlands, pastures and formal gardens. The house was built in approximately 1795 with several remodelings since then. The current owner has lived here since 1976.

The owner and her house.

There are many massive stone walls built on the property which was quarried from the site:

Driveway stonework:

The acres of lawns are impeccably maintained; I couldn’t find a sprig of crabgrass!

The back pastures have pathways mown into them:

A water feature leads you into the vegetable garden:

Other water features add interest to the garden:

The pool is a beautiful oval shape surrounded by stone paving interplanted with thyme:

The woodland garden has paths winding through the wildflowers and the natural rock outcrops:

The 1 1/2 acre arboretum is a collection of native shrubs and trees:

The perennial garden is a masterpiece of landscape design and beauty:

Some beautiful and interesting plants:

Persian Shield and Autumn Joy Sedum

Baneberry (Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’) is sometimes called Cimicifuga simplex

Coleus & Sedum

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum), Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ & Zinnias

Tomorrow – Three Sister Sanctuary and the Eastern States Exposition

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