The Garden Conservancy will spotlight Greater Boston (in this instance, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, and Milton) on Sunday, June 8, from 10 – 4. Admission to each garden is $5.
A Resplendent Spring Garden will be found at 58 Greyfield Avenue in West Roxbury. Beginning with an upright red-leaf Japanese maple and magnolia in the front yard—planted by Weston Nurseries in the late 1980s—this garden has evolved leaving little grass remaining. Consulting with Christie Dustman, garden designer, this homeowner has collected unusual conifers, shrubs, trees, and perennials—plus a very sweet birdbath area—to make this urban garden a show-stopper. From a practical standpoint, this garden shows how Ilex pedunculosa can provide an amazing evergreen screen and how so many plants can work together in a small space.
Directions: This garden is 3 miles from Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University; 6 miles from Wakefield Estate in Milton Massachusetts; and 1.2 miles from another garden on tour, 353 Park street, West Roxbury. There is ample street parking.
Also in West Roxbury, at 52 Richwood Street, visit Ovals. After twenty years, this family was ready for a new garden design and approached landscape designer Sally Muspratt. Their children had outgrown the rope swing and sandbox, several important trees had died, and a new kitchen/family room necessitated a different path from the driveway and an improved view from the kitchen table. The new design reshapes the space to fit the family’s changed life. A bluestone walk gives attractive (and dry) access from the driveway through the garden to the kitchen. With the help of Sally, the space was reshaped to fit the family’s changed needs. The effectiveness of the garden as a view from the new room is strengthened by the creation of two ovals: a bright foreground of grass in a flowering frame of perennials and a shady background bluestone oval, surrounded by evergreen shrubbery. The second oval is large enough for parties, but sufficiently isolated for reading and meditation.
Directions: From Route 128, take Exit 15/Route 1A/Dedham exit to Boston-Providence Turnpike. Continue for 3 miles. At traffic light, turn right onto Spring Street . Drive 0.8 mile, continuing on Center Street for another 0.5 mile. Turn left onto Richwood Street for 0.2 mile. Number 52 will be on the left.
At 3 Crestview Road you will find a Terraced Hillside. This urban garden offers an interesting solution to a common problem—a site that slopes steeply away from the house, providing an unwelcome view of the buildings below. The new owners of a four story condominium asked for interesting and attractive views from the decks overlooking the slope. They also wanted a place to garden which gave at least the illusion of privacy. By terracing the hillside, adding a curving path, and planting colorful trees, shrubs, and perennials, designer Sally Muspratt created a pleasant place to walk and garden and an ever-changing panorama to enjoy from above. The raised vegetable bed produces beautiful greens, herbs, and tomatoes. Birds flock to the many feeders.
Directions: Take Exit 15/Route 1A/Dedham) off exit to fifth set of traffic lights. Turn right at lights onto Washington Street. Go about 3 miles to Metropolitan Avenue (Pet Cabaret is on right corner). Turn right and go 0.2 mile. Turn left onto Augustus Avenue. Crestview Road is 400 feet ahead.
The Linked Garden Rooms of the Muspratt Garden at 10 Linnet Street in West Roxbury (pictured below) are a must. Over the past twenty years this small plot (eighty feet x 130 feet) has evolved from a standard suburban landscape of grass, asphalt driveway, and foundation plantings into a series of garden rooms. The driveway was removed and replaced by a brick parking area and walk in front of the house. The narrow area (ten feet wide) between the fence and the left side of the house became a wildflower walk leading to a new perennial bed and an expanded lawn behind the house. The garage became a tool shed with an attached vine house/potting shed. The existing foundation planting was incorporated into a new ever-green hedge which both frames the front lawn and encloses the private side yard. The arborvitae sentinels allow passersby a glimpse of the bright flower garden without compromising the owner’s privacy. Passing through a hidden gap in the hedge, one enters the rear yard to find a tiny meadow and orchard of peach and cherry trees, raised beds with perennials and vegetables, and a compost heap. Hurricane Irene felled the old apple tree which sheltered the original sitting area. A sunken terrace was built in its place.
Directions: From Route 128, take Exit 15/Route 1A/Dedham off exit to fifth set of traffic lights. Turn right onto Washington Street. Go about 2 miles to Lagrange Street and turn left. Go 0.7 mile to Linnet Street. Turn right. Number 10 is on right.
The James/Traverso Garden at 14 Sunset Hill Road in West Roxbury is described as a showstopper. This romantic urban escape with eye-popping color provided by hundreds of annuals, perennials, roses, and vines is viewed from a double-layered backyard deck that engages seamlessly with the surrounding gardens. Inspired by the classic “over the top” layered floral displays in English country gardens, it has taken eight years to build up four distinct garden areas that surround this Boston home. Definitely not a “low maintenance” garden, variations of color and texture provide a never-ending display from early Spring to late November.
Directions: Located on Sunset Hill Road between two main arteries, West Roxbury Parkway and Centre Street, near intersection of West Roxbury Parkway and VFW Parkway. Best to use “Boston” as city of destination in GPS systems (rather than West Roxbury) with zip code “02132”. Located within 1 mile of the Arnold Arboretum. There is open on-street parking within neighborhood (no meters).
The Dustman-Ryan Garden can be found at 353 Park Street in West Roxbury. This garden reflects the creative efforts of a mighty team: Christie Dustman, professional garden designer and Patti Ryan, a professional furniture maker. In their own personal garden, these two artists have let nothing hinder their zeal for plants, stone, and whimsy. The garden is in its eighth season and its transformation was done in phases, only keeping a privet hedge and one andromeda. The garden uses plants and objects as sculptures in an array of vignettes and intentional views. By showcasing some plants and objects against the background plants and elements, this garden has many levels of complexity and interest. As members of the Conifer Society, you will find over fifty different conifers, as well as rare and unusual plants. It is the reclaimed and cast-off items used as art and decoration like basketball hoops and organ pipes that often command the most “ooohs and ahhhs.”
Directions: From Route 128/I-95 North, take Route 1/Providence Highway inbound from Exit 15A or 15B. At Washington Street, bear slightly right and proceed inbound about 2 miles. Turn left onto Lagrange Street about 0.2 mile past Maplewood Street. Go 0.3 mile and turn right onto Robin Street, just past Searle Road. Take third left onto Park Street. The garden is at #353. Please park along street.
Now, off to Hyde Park, to a Front Yard Attraction at 907 Metropolitan Avenue. This organic garden demonstrates a re-imagined use of the front lawn. Because of its sunny location, the owners opted to grow their wide offering of herbs and vegetables, interspersed and combined with shrubs and perennials, at this site. Use of colors and textures provides year-round interest, as well as a magnet for birds, bees, dragonflies, and butterflies. The front yard location makes it the perfect spot for impromptu gatherings with neighbors and friends.
Directions: From Exit 2B on Route 128 take Route 138N for just over 3 miles. Turn left onto Vose Hill Road and go 0.2 mile to intersection with Brush Hill Road. Turn right onto Brush Hill Road, and then immediately left onto Metropolitan Avenue. Number 907 is on right.
The Mary M.B. Wakefield Estate, 1465 Brush Hill Road, Milton, is the next stop. The 2014 Open Days coincides with the Wakefield Estate’s own Dogwood Days, a week-long event timed to give the public a rare opportunity to enjoy its collection of hundreds of Chinese Dogwoods (Cornus kousa) at their spectacular peak bloom. Polly Wakefield grew most of these trees from seed or cuttings collected from the Arnold Arboretum. The dogwoods are planted throughout Polly’s Formal Garden and Terrace Rooms along with other rare trees and shrubs, as well as lining either side of the Fountain Path Allée that spans the entire length of the garden. Gardens surround the Georgian 1794 Isaac Davenport mansion as well as other historic structures on the property. The Wakefield Estate takes its name and purpose from Mary “Polly” Wakefield, who lived most of her life at the estate. The estate is managed by the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust which is committed to promoting life-long participatory learning using the land and resources of the Wakefield estate. Through collaborative partnerships with schools and community organizations, the Mary M. B. Wakefield Trust carries out this mission through providing educational opportunities, tours, presentations, workshops, hands-on training, internships, and other programs covering a variety of subjects, including local history, ecology, horticulture, agriculture, archival work, and historic preservation.
Directions: Exit 2B on 128 take 138 north for 1 mile, bear right onto Canton Avenue. Get into left lane and turn left onto Brush Hill road across from Fuller Village.
Finally, Grossberg’s Garden is at 38 Green Street in Milton. The privacy of this family’s property was destroyed when developers leveled the woodland behind the lawn to erect two large, brightly-painted houses. Creating an undulating berm about six feet high and fifteen feet wide and planting it with a mixture of white pines, river birches, Viburnum dentatum, and ferns erased the view of the neighbors and reestablished the sense of seclusion in the garden.
Directions: From Route 128, take Exit 2B/Milton/Route 138 North. Proceed straight up Route 138/Blue Hill Avenue past Blue Hills Ski Slope and Trailside Museum (1.3 miles). Immediately after museum parking lot, bear right at fork in road (Brush Hill Road/Canton Avenue). Take very quick left and then another quick left back onto Route 138/Blue Hill Avenue. (This is a U-turn around green house, and you will now be going south.) In 0.25 mile, Green Street forks off to right. A quarter mile down road, take first driveway on left to #38 at end.