Best Spring Flower Festivals in New England
Nothing says spring like the first blossoms of the season. The bright colors which sprout from every tree limb and patch of dirt are the incentive we New Englanders need to shake off the chill of winter and get into the swing of spring. Whether its April’s daffodils or May’s lilacs, there’s no better way to see blooms than to attend one of New England’s many flower festivals. Here are some of the best spring flower festivals in the region.
Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum – Boston, MA
When we think city, we usually think of traffic and skyscrapers, but how about lilacs? Come May, one of the best places to see these fragrant blossoms is in Boston’s own Jamaica Plain. Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America, and it showcases one of the most impressive collections of lilacs, with over 180 varieties! The best time to see these blooms is on Lilac Sunday, held since 1908 to exhibit the pinnacle of lilac perfection. Take a guided tour of the gardens, then sit back with a refreshment and enjoy acoustic music, storytelling, and traditional English dancing.
Sunday, May 11, 2014; 617-524-1718; arboretum.harvard.edu/news-events/lilac-sunday
Dogwood Festival – Fairfield, CT
Put on by the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, this blossom bonanza has been running for over 75 years. The Dogwood Festival is Fairfield’s way of showing off beautiful Greenfield Hill, an expanse of pink and white dogwood trees that have been growing there for over 200 years! But the trees are not the only great sight at this festival: the massive plants and herbs sale offers a variety of charming flowers that can be taken home with you. Plus, all of the proceeds go to charity, so you can feel good about indulging in gifts for all your loved ones (and maybe a little something for yourself).
May 2-4, 2014; 203-259-5596; greenfieldhillchurch.com/GHCC/Dogwood_Festival.html
Bridge of Flowers – Shelburne Falls, MA
Once an abandoned trolley bridge, this 400-foot arch across the Deerfield River has been reclaimed to display a garden that is anything but ordinary. Stroll past spring staples like tulips and daffodils while enjoying bows of wisteria overhead and blue hyacinths suspended over the water. Reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, this “bridge of beauty” may not be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but it is certainly a wonder of New England.
Season opens April 1, 2014; bridgeofflowersmass.org
Daffodil Days at Blithewold Mansion – Bristol, RI
Spanning across 33 acres, the Blithewold Mansion Gardens and Arboretum is home to one of the most expansive collections of daffodils in the area. Its main attraction, the “Bosquet,” shelters 50,000 daffodils in hues of yellow, white, and orange. Come during prime time to see these daffodils in bloom, but don’t forget to check out the 10 acre “Great Lawn,” the bamboo grove, and historic stonework.
April 1 – May 22, 2014; 401-253-270; www.blithewold.org
Lilac Festival at the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion – Portsmouth, NH
Once the home of Benning Wentworth, New Hampshire’s first royal Governor, this historic seacoast mansion was later adopted by the Coolidge family as a center for the arts. The Wentworth-Coolidge grounds host some of the oldest lilacs in the United States, as well as some of the newest. Tour the grounds to see the heirloom bushes in blossom, or visit the nursery to learn how the “lilac restoration project” is raising new plantings to replace bushes that were affected by a destructive fungus. There’s no better place to learn about history or botany than during Wentworth-Coolidge’s Annual Lilac Festival!
CANCELLED for 2014
Celebration of Peonies at Hildene — Manchester, VT
As May ends and June begins, thousands of peonies — many from the original 1907 plants — come into bloom in Hildene’s formal garden. Enjoy these flowers at their peak, purchase heirloom peonies and seeds, and take a tour of the mansion that was home to Robert Todd Lincoln.
Late May – Early June; 802-362-1788; hildene.org