The Gardens at Clock Barn in Carlisle, Massachusetts have been created by Maureen and Mike Ruettger over the last thirty years. The house and drying barn date back to 1790. As you enter the gardens through an arched gate, you walk by the old barn which has trays filled with herbs and flowers from the cutting garden beyond. These trays were built in the late 1930’s as a Works Progress Administration project for the drying of digitalis leaves for medicinal use. A grape arbor leads into a walled garden with four quadrants anchored by antique roses and mixed borders with sweeps of foxgloves, Salvia viridis, and nepeta intertwined with salad greens and edible herbs. A second tier is flanked by two reflecting pools fringed by Allium senescens montanum and an herbal tapestry design mirrored on each side. A greenhouse and potting area houses a collection of more than forty varieties of scented geraniums on one side and pots of kaffir limes, Meyer lemons, figs, bay, and rosemary on the other. Exiting the glass house, a canopy of 100-year-old oaks provides shade for paths that wind through a series of woodland gardens and past a small pond and water feature bordered by hakonechloa. Hosta divisions from the garden of Francis Williams anchor the first shade garden. Favorite plantings in these gardens include anemones, epimediums, Kirengeshoma palmata, Jeffersonia dubia, and shade-loving peonies. The path widens as you exit the gardens through a hornbeam arch to finish the tour below the face of The Clock Barn.
The Garden Conservancy is pleased to present the opportunity to tour the Gardens as part of the Open Gardens 2016 Schedule, on Sunday, September 18 from 10 – 4. $7 admission. As part of this Open Day, there will be a special event, “Growing Food at Clock Barn Farm – A Program for Families,” with Annie Novak & Maureen Ruettgers. Registration details may be found at www.gardenconservancy.org.
Directions: From Boston, take Route 24 south to Exit 14A and merge onto I-495 South. Take Exit 7A for Route 24 North toward Boston. Merge onto Route 24 North and go about 18 miles. Take Exit 21B to merge onto I-93 South toward I-95. Continue on I-95 North for 21 miles. Take Exit 31B for Route 4 North/Route 225 West. Merge onto Bedford Street/Route 225/Route 4 and continue to follow Route 225/Route 4 for 2.8 miles. Turn left at Carlisle Road/Route 225. Turn right to stay on Carlisle Road/Route 225 and follow to destination on right. Photo by Marion Brenner.