Celebrating early autumn in the still stunning gardens


As summer comes to a close, so many of us are transitioning – back to school, back to focusing on work, back to winterizing our homes. We begin thinking about Halloween, foliage, brisk hikes. We let our home gardens slip, knowing that the first freeze is just around the corner. It’s also the time of year, when savvy visitors know there is no better place to savor the season than at Tower Hill, where our plants and flowers are putting on a celebratory fireworks display for those lucky enough to experience it and our staff and volunteers are offering a Fall Fest celebration like no other.

While we hurried humans may forget that so many stunning blooms remain after Labor Day, the bees are making the most of each remaining second before the cold returns. The colors around each corner are rich and deep – reds, purples, yellows, purples – and if you squint your eyes just a bit you feel like you’re in a Dr. Seuss scene or Monet masterpiece. The leaves are turning as they rustle in the steady breezes we feel atop our drumlin overlooking the Wachusett Reservoir. The flowing fountains of the Court, Systematic and Winter gardens a reminder that future freezes are far away for now.


Tower Hill’s Vegetable Garden is flourishing in the first weeks of fall, a feast for the senses. The air is crisp and the chipmunks are hustling as you hike up to the peak of Tower Hill to soak in the view of Mt. Wachusett. Gazing across the Wildlife Meadow, it’s easy to imagine why more than 200 years ago this site was chosen for a dairy farm. This is the heart of New England. And it is something to behold as September spills into October.


It’s also why we’ve chosen to celebrate the first three weekends of autumn with a Fall Fest that gets bigger each year. It’s time to thank our plants for all they’ve given us this growing season. It’s time to thank you for choosing to squeeze time out of your busy schedule to experience Tower Hill. And so we offer something for everyone with the leaves and grasses and flowers as the backdrop of a one of a kind party for nature.

We have fall children’s crafts, live music, beer tastings, heirloom apple tastings, seasonal local food, orchard tours, cider making and tasting, the American Craft Fair, face painting, chef demonstrations, honey tasting, hay rides, food trucks, and more. You’ll also want to explore the out of this world Stickwork exhibit, Tower Hill Through the Seasons showing in the theater, the botanic library, and the Garden Shop.


So as you make plans for apple picking throughout Central Massachusetts, a fall rite of passage for us New Englanders to be sure, you may also want to consider adding on a pit stop to Tower Hill Botanic Garden and joining with so many who have discovered this hidden gem in the bucolic town of Boylston, just northeast of Worcester. Because admiring and being inspired by plants and nature doesn’t have to be just a spring and summer activity. In fact, there might not be anything as beautiful as a well-managed and imagined garden soaking in the first few weeks of autumn, refusing to acknowledge that winter is on its way.

Fall Fest is packed with activities on Sept. 24 and 25; Oct. 1 and 2; and Oct. 8, 9, and 10. You can visit here for more details about hours and admission. We hope to see you soon in the gardens!