Massachusetts

A Bay State Bouquet | Where to Find Flowers in Massachusetts

Experience Massachusetts in full bloom at these flower festivals and glorious gardens.

By Yankee Staff

Mar 28 2022

Monarch Butterfly on echinacea plant along Mill Village Rd in Deerfield pf

Monarch butterfly on an echinacea flower along Mill Village Road in Deerfield.

Photo Credit : Paul Franz/MOTT
Sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Flowers are entwined in the founding history of Massachusetts, on whose shores the Pilgrims landed their ship back in 1620. Bearing the name Mayflower, it symbolized a feeling of hope that blooms anew today in flowers of all kinds across the Bay State. Each year the floral festivities begin in April with daffodil and tulip events — such as the Naumkeag Daffodil and Tulip Festival in Stockbridge and the Nantucket Daffodil Festival  — before reaching a glorious peak in late spring and summer. Here are some of the best ways to tap into Massachusetts’s flower power this year.

Flower Festivals

With nearly 400 lilac plants representing 177 taxa (kinds), Boston’s Arnold Arboretum has one of the premier lilac collections in North America. It invites the public to come enjoy the wealth during Lilac Sunday each spring.
Photo Credit : Adam DeTour
One of Massachusetts’s best-loved floral celebrations is Lilac Sunday (May 8) at Boston’s Arnold Arboretum, whose 400-plus lilacs will burst forth in a dual celebration: 2022 marks the first Lilac Sunday in four years, but also the 150th anniversary of this world-class, 281-acre botanical treasure. Another May bloomer takes center stage in Sandwich during the Rhododendron Festival (May 20–30) at Heritage Museums & Gardens, which later follows up with its colorful Hydrangea Festival (July 8–17).
Blooming hydrangeas brighten this yard in the Cape Cod town of Dennis. Since 2015, the Cape has celebrated its signature flower with the annual Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival.
Photo Credit : Greta Georgieva
Hydrangeas, in fact, are a hallmark of Cape Cod, with their distinctive blue, pink, and creamy-white flowers popping up everywhere in summer. Join in the region’s 10-day celebration, the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival (July 8–17), for private garden tours, workshops, lectures, and more. Lavender fans can get their fill, too, when these aromatic wonders reach peak bloom in late June to mid-July. Mark your calendar for the annual Lavender Farm Fest (June 22–26) at the Farm at SummitWynds in Holden — but remember that other growers, notably the enchanting Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich, also welcome visitors throughout the season.

Seasonal Delights

A weathered seaside cottage wears a blanket of roses on Nantucket. The island is known for its summertime floral displays, especially in Siasconset Village (better known as ’Sconset).
Photo Credit : Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
If you love the show-stopping beauty of roses, late June is the time to start seeking them out. Two particularly romantic spots are the Nantucket village of ’Sconset, known for its scenic rose-covered cottages, and the Back Bay Fens in Boston, where the “hidden gem” known as the Kelleher Rose Garden offers some 1,500 blooming beauties behind its tall green hedges. Meanwhile, the Pioneer Valley boasts an award-winning rose collection at Stanley Park in Westfield, with some 2,500 bushes spanning more than 50 varieties. Coming on strong in August are sunflowers, turning swaths of farmland into blankets of gold. Less than an hour from Boston, you can see these big blooms in all their glory at Colby Farm in Newbury; Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm in Millis; and Verrill Farm in Concord. And bring your camera, because no matter where you go, photo ops abound!

Perennial Favorites

Part of Boston’s famed “Emerald Necklace” of green spaces, the Public Garden invites visitors to stroll its 24 beautifully landscaped acres in the heart of the city.
Photo Credit : Adam DeTour
For flower aficionados who just want to immerse themselves in an unforgettable garden, the Bay State is blessed with destinations that are beautiful all summer long, and often beyond. The Boston Public Garden — established in 1837 and now the oldest public botanic garden in the nation — delights visitors with elegant formal flower beds, historic statues, and iconic Swan Boats. (Boston also claims the nation’s oldest public arboretum, the previously mentioned Arnold Arboretum.)
Set on more than 170 acres in Boylston, Tower Hill Botanic Garden features a four-season display of the finest plants for cultivation in New England.
Photo Credit : Tower Hill Botanic Garden
To the west, the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge recently debuted a topiary collection featuring 22 exotic creatures and other living sculptures, while the 171-acre Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston has added a children’s garden to a lineup of more than a dozen themed green spaces and conservatories. And for fans of ocean-side Edens, the Cape and Islands are home to the aforementioned Heritage Museums & Gardens, which combines 100 acres of natural beauty with museum collections ranging from folk art to vintage cars, and the Polly Hill Arboretum, a Martha’s Vineyard gem named for the legendary horticulturist who developed these verdant acres as a labor of love.
Dedicated volunteer gardeners at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls ensure that something is always in bloom here, from spring to fall.
Photo Credit : AlizadaStudios/iStock
Finally, no flower lover should miss Massachusetts’s one-of-a-kind attractions. Take a walk to remember on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, a 1908 trolley bridge transformed into a greenery-filled footpath over the Deerfield River. And join the generations of visitors to the Harvard Museum of Natural History who have marveled over its collection of 4,000-plus “glass flowers”: Created between 1886 through 1936 and representing 780 species, these blooms offer a beauty that knows no season.