Visit on a Date

Shakespeare Garden: English Plants and Poetry

An enclosed cottage garden filled with edible, medicinal, and ornamental plants mentioned in the bard’s sonnets and plays, the Shakespeare Garden is a charming place to explore.

Look for

  • The rosebush representing Sonnet 130 ("My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”), Shakespeare’s witty and touching ode to imperfection.
  • The romantic roofed bench tucked beneath the red oak on the northern edge of the garden.
  • Forget-me-nots, peonies, lilies, tulips, and dozens of other flowers along with edible plants like kale, lettuce, and herbs.

Cranford Rose Garden: Fragrant roses, lovely wildflowers, and classic sculptures

Maybe it’s a cliché, but there really is nothing more romantic than a rose garden. Glorious during the summer, the Cranford Rose Garden is also lovely in spring and fall. More than 1,000 types of modern and historic roses grow in beds and on arched pergolas, fences, and a pavilion of classic white latticework.

Look for

  • Heritage roses along the western border of the garden. These older roses were developed before 1867 and the invention of modern hybridization methods, when roses were valued more for scent than appearance. They are among the most fragrant flowers to be found at BBG.
  • Lilies, clematis, wildflowers, herbs, and other perennials intermixed with the roses. Including a variety of plants within such a large rose collection promotes a more healthy, pollinator-friendly, and pest-resistant ecosystem.
  • The Roses of Yesterday statue at the south end of the garden. The 1928 bronze figure depicts a young woman holding a butterfly sundial, engraved with “endless love” in Latin. Sculptor Harriet Whitney Frismuth also created the Call of the Sea figure in the Rose Arc fountain.

Peak blooming usually begins in early June and stretches until August, but a second flush usually occurs in September, with flowers lasting through the fall. Warm springs often bring blooms in May or even April.

Cherry Walk: A Charming Place for a Stroll

In the spring, the blossom-laden boughs of Prunus 'Kanzan' cherry trees form a gorgeous pink arc under which festive crowds of admirers pass. For the rest of the year, it's a quiet and shady lane perfect for a leisurely walk. The path winds past a stream, bridge, and small waterfall on the periphery of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

Look for

  • The tree peony collection at the north end of the walk, in bloom in late spring.
  • The katsura tree along the eastern edge of the path. In the fall, its golden leaves smell like maple syrup.
  • Hawks and other birds splashing around in the stream.

If you continue walking south beyond the path, you'll come to Bluebell Wood, a small woodland garden filled with brilliant-hued Spanish bluebells in May and pretty pink begonias later in the season.

Also visit

Cherry Esplanade's expansive lawn, where you can relax on the grass in the sun or the shade.

The Rock Garden's intimate paths, which wander among gorgeous evergreens, spring bulbs, and alpine flowers and succulents.

The Native Flora Garden, where you can walk on trails beneath century-old trees and look for rare wildflowers native to the forests, seashores, and plains of what is now the New York City metropolitan area.

Photo by Antonio M. Rosario.
Cherry Walk in June. Photo by Morrigan McCarthy,
Herbaceous peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) are among the beautiful blooms on the path between the Fragrance and Shakespeare Gardens. Photo by Sarah Schmidt.
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