Summer Highlights

Roses, water-lilies, and meadow flowers are among the many beautiful blooms to see during summer. Here are some of the highlights.

Cranford Rose Garden

The historic Cranford Rose Garden is in full glory in June and continues to bloom throughout the summer until its second flush in late August or early September. Some of the original specimens planted when the garden opened in 1927 still grow here, along with a vast collection of modern hybrids.

Look for

  • Two of the most fragrant roses, Rosa 'Meizeli', THE MCCARTNEY ROSE, and Rosa 'Ausmum' PAT AUSTIN, planted next to each near the south end of the beds.
  • A wide range of rose hybrids in gorgeous colors, from delicate pale pink ‘Dainty Bess’ to deep red ‘Lava Glut’ to wine-colored ‘Basye’s Purple’.
  • Lilies, clematis, wildflowers, herbs, and other perennials. The garden practices organic methods, one of which is including a variety of pollinator-friendly, pest-repelling plants among the roses to promote a more healthy collection.

Lily Pool Terrace and Annual and Perennial Borders

The pools and fountains here are filled with aquatic plants, most of which are at their peak in the summer. More summer blooms can be found in the beds alongside.

Look for

  • More than 100 different water-lilies. The blossoms close at night and open in the morning, so midday is the best time to see them fully open.
  • Sacred lotuses. These lovely plants are often mistaken for water-lilies, but their flowers are emergent, meaning they stretch above the water’s surface. (Water-lily leaves and flowers float.)
  • The carnivorous plant display in Jenkins Fountain, between the two rectangular pools. If you’re lucky, you may see an insect fall victim to a Venus flytrap or pitcher plant.

Also be sure to enjoy the colorful blooms in the Annual Border, planted with a unique design each year, and flowering shrubs like hydrangeas and crape-myrtles in the Perennial Border.

Native Flora Garden

Designed to represent a variety of habitats native to the metropolitan area, the Native Flora Garden is a wonderful place to escape the concrete jungle in the summer.

Look for

  • Wildflowers growing among the tall grasses in the sunny meadow areas in the south part of the garden.
  • Aquatic plants, including water-lilies, spatterdock, duckweed, and watermeal, the world’s smallest flowering plant, growing in the garden’s pond.
  • The shady forest habitat, one of the quietest, coolest spots in the city during the summer. Many of the trees are older than the garden itself, which was founded in 1911.

The Native Flora Garden is also prime spot for wildlife. Butterflies, bees, and wasps of all kinds are drawn to the meadow plants, and birds—including ducks and great blue herons—love the pond.

Also See

Lovely vistas, a stream and pond, and riparian plants like hisbiscus in the Water Garden. This beautiful landscape also serves and important environmental function by helping to capture excess rainwater.

Plants with scented foliage and colorful, fragrant flowers in the Fragrance Garden and a profusion of colorful blooms in the Shakespeare Garden.

The stepped walk lined with crape-myrtles leading from Ginkgo Allée to the Cranford Rose Garden.

Gorgeous lilies in the Monocot Border.

Rose 'Ausmum' PAT AUSTIN
Rosa 'Ausmum' PAT AUSTIN in the Cranford Rose Garden. Introduced 1995. Photo by Blanca Begert.
Sacred Lotus
Nelumbo nucifera ‘Charles Thomas’ (sacred lotus), at Lily Pool Terrace. Photo by Lee Patrick.
Sand Wasp Visiting Swamp Milkweed
A sand wasp (Bembix species) harvests pollen from swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) in BBG's Native Flora Garden. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.
Image, top of page: