Artist rendering of The Ramble. The actual garden may look different upon completion.

We are very excited to share that you’ll be noticing some improvements, additions, and original exhibits at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in 2020, including a new entry experience and an inspirational garden for children and the young at heart.

As our members and longtime supporters may have noticed in recent years, more people are visiting Tower Hill than ever before. We are thrilled to be helping connect more than 160,000 visitors to plants and nature each year. With attendance roughly doubling in the last seven years, it’s important that Tower Hill responds to ensure an excellent guest experience and to place our nonprofit museum in a position to continue thriving for generations to come.

Tower Hill has come a long way in just 34 years. In 1986, the Worcester County Horticultural Society made the bold decision to move from their Horticultural Hall in downtown Worcester to a former dairy farm in bucolic Boylston, Massachusetts. Since opening our doors, more than 1 million people have visited Tower Hill Botanic Garden. We’re humbled and grateful to play such an important role in so many lives. But we’ve got to keep looking forward at how we can become even better at what we do.

Artist rendering of the renovated lobby. The completed project may look different than what is sketched in this draft.

Tower Hill employees have been working behind the scenes to prepare for 2020’s construction projects. The first change visitors will notice later this winter is the renovation of our lobby where our Information Desk is located. That project is designed to improve the guest experience with a new Information Desk, sound absorbing elements, and informational screens. That work is underway this January while we’re closed to the public and will be completed and open to visitors in February.

Frequent guests might be aware that sometimes Tower Hill’s parking lots fill up. To ease the space crunch and entry experience, we’ll be constructing more spaces, adding more plants, and installing important water run off capability. The parking lots will be under various stages of construction from spring through summer, and though we’re expecting some growing pains during this period, we know with patience, flexibility, and proper planning we’ll be able to deliver a welcoming parking garden for our visitors.

Artist rendering of the updated parking lot. The final product may appear different than this draft image.

Later this year arriving guests will see an updated entry experience that welcomes vehicles to the property and does away with our entry gate house that can at times lead to a line of cars backed up on our driveway. Instead, visitors will park and follow a series of paths to the renovated lobby where they will check in (members) or pay admission (guests).

Undoubtedly, the most exciting addition coming in 2020 will be the construction of The Ramble, a garden designed for children and the young at heart. For those familiar with Tower Hill’s property, this garden will be built in the woods behind the end of Pliny’s Allée. Picture in your mind not a playground, but an unguided safe space in a tamed woodland where visitors of all sizes can explore, create, and make discoveries.

Artist rendering of one element of the Ramble. The completed project may be different than what is depicted here.

Some of us remember growing up in the woods behind our homes or adjacent to our neighborhoods, hopping streams, building forts out of branches and stumps, rambling along well-worn paths, claiming secret hideaway spots for ourselves while flora, fauna, and the elements teemed around us. Our hope is to help facilitate those experiences for children, so they connect with plants and nature at a young age and that those positive experiences become ingrained in their childhood memories. Visitors can follow the construction progress on site and expect the new space to be open to visitors by Night Lights 2020.

If these projects sound ambitious for one calendar year, and perhaps disruptive to the peace you expect to encounter in our gardens, we’re embracing the orchestrated chaos of creation to generate new, unique, and memorable visitor experiences in 2020. Look for our Orchid Street Art Show in February in March as well as an original property-wide exhibit Uprooted: Land Art by W. Gary Smith opening this spring and running throughout the year. (You can learn more about Gary’s work here.) Our spring flower display will be bigger than ever after the planting of nearly 100,000 bulbs last fall. We’re doubling down on all the things you love about Tower Hill and sprinkling in more surprises than ever to help keep things fresh and challenge your expectations. We can’t wait for you to experience what we have in store for 2020!

If you’d like to support these efforts please consider making a donation here.