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BOLYSTON – New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill recently completed  its new 1.5-acre children’s garden, The Ramble, and plans to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 22 at 5 p.m.

Set in the heart of the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, The Ramble is an immersive children’s garden with hundreds of beautifully landscaped perennials, shrubs, and trees and features a brook, a pond and a waterfall. Created by internationally renowned 

landscape architect and artist W. Gary Smith and designed by landscape architectural firm Ryan Associates, this 1.5-acre woodland garden will be fully accessible and allow the youngest visitors to connect and play with nature while being introduced to the science of the natural world in a more hands-on approach – like no other in Massachusetts.

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The Ramble, dedicated by the McDonough family, is named in honor of Jean McDonough, who was a champion of the Worcester arts and culture community as well as an advocate for utilizing nature to inspire and educate us all.

“We’re excited to bring The Ramble to life for all of our visitors this year, especially our younger audience,” said CEO Grace Elton. “Our ultimate goal for the new garden is to build a connection between plants and children of all ages that brightens their creativity and leaves them wondering more about the importance of the natural world that surrounds us. Through a more hands-on approach, our botanic garden invites families and children to touch, smell and really explore the variety of plants featured in The Ramble. Children are instinctively drawn to nature and with The Ramble, we hope to cultivate that interest into something more.”   

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The elements of The Ramble are designed to spark discovery and exploration:

  • An imaginative water feature with a landscaped pond and waterfall to explore. 
  • A one-of-a-kind “Stumpery” with tree stumps for climbing, and a tunnel made of woven branches and natural building materials for hands-on imaginative play. 
  • A circle lawn for games, picnics, performances, classes, and programs.
  • A pavilion for outdoor classes and picnic tables for gathering. 
  • A forage garden with edible plants to help teach children where food comes from. 
  • An outcrop amphitheater for students to gather while on STEAM-focused field trips. 
  • Accessible paths for people of all abilities. 
  • Hundreds of new plantings, including beautiful perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees, including many native to New England. 
  • Quiet spots for reading, drawing, reflecting, and inspiration. 

The announcement of The Ramble coincides with Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s name change to New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill in hopes of expanding the organization’s horticultural resource and experience to the whole region.

Members and visitors can expect more exciting updates at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill this summer. 

New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is a nonprofit organization located at 11 French Drive in Boylston, Massachusetts. A regional destination, we are operated on 171 acres by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, one of the oldest of its kind in the country, and are open to the public for garden viewing, trail walking, activities, private events, educational classes, weddings, exhibitions, and more. We are an AAM-accredited museum that includes an irreplaceable collection of plants. We hope to engage you in our life-long passion for growing plants for their ornamental, economic, and ecological value. Learn all about New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill including its history, mission, and its staff, please visit

Photo by Mala Lam.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.