Haskell Public Gardens, a treasure preserved

An unexpected find, winter blooming Edgeworthia outside the Haskell office, under the canopy of a Japanese Maple

Greeting you at the property entrance: Emilia and Verbena bonariensis join silvery Artemisia in a pocket in front of a stonewall.

On an otherwise unassuming avenue in New Bedford MA is a  6 acre public garden that carries on the legacy of the  renowned nurseryman and garden maker, Allen C. Haskell.  The main greenhouses and nursery yard are now gone, but The Trustees for Reservations, who acquired the property in 2013, have preserved the main plantings and made the gardens open to the public free of charge 365 days a year. It is now a tranquil oasis enjoyed by local residents.

A towering Dawn Redwood underplanted with Hosta, a genus that. Allen Haskell avidly collected.

Numerous consultants were brought in to advise on what plantings should remain and how to deal with open space. Horticulturist Kristin McCullin has been the steward of the property since the beginning and her sensitivity to the details of Haskell’s original design is to be praised. That being said, Kristin has invited playful creativity by engaging local artists to collaborate with on the grounds.

The old glasshouses may be too expensive to heat these days, but artist Tracy Silva Barbosa turned these structures into an interactive colorful installation. I love the way the light filters through the colored panels creating multi-hued spotlights on the stonework.

Bring a picnic! There are various spots to pause and take in the flora and fauna.

If you live in southeastern New England and have never visited the property, you must. Visiting the area from afar? Put this garden on your agenda. The property is located at 787 Shawmut Avenue, New Bedford, MA . For more information on the Haskell Public Gardens and other Trustees Properties, visit their website. https://thetrustees.org/place/allen-c-haskell-public-gardens/

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