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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Escape the city to New England Botanic Garden

The “Patterns in Bloom” exhibition at the New England Botanical Gardens. Photo by Rena Weafer / Mass Media Staff.

An hour outside of the city, hidden in the woods of Boylston, Mass. lies a hidden oasis full of beautiful gardens and blooming florals. The New England Botanic Garden hosts trails throughout their property open to visitors year round. 

The property is also home to two greenhouses that provide greenery and florals throughout all seasons. Until March 17, the Garden will host thousands of orchids of several different varieties for their “Patterns in Bloom” exhibition. The exhibition also features sculptures by Connecticut-based artist Molly Gambardella. 

Gambardella primarily focuses on sculpture and installation. Her work in the exhibition features bright flowers of different shapes and sizes. The flowers hang from the wall and the ceiling, enclosing orchids in vivid colors. “’Patterns in Bloom’ features 2,000 living orchids showcased in conversation with more than 50 orchid inspired sculptures,” reads the sign at the entrance of the exhibit.

“One of the most important things to me about this exhibit is that each sculpture is entirely different,” Gambardella says. “In a world of mass-produced things, I hope visitors find inspiration in the diversity of my sculptures and the diversity of the plants. Orchids inspire me to appreciate the vast spectrum of colors in between. They remind me to stay true to my own unique patterns and colors, while also recognizing our shared roots in the grand ecological network of life.”

Walking into the first conservatory, the viewer can see orchids and other plants covering the space from floor to ceiling. Sculptures are placed throughout the space, hidden in alcoves among the flowers and around the ceiling. The sculptures themselves are made out of hundreds of trash bags, cut and sewn to make flowers. The exhibit continues down the hall where more work by Gambardella is featured, leading to the second conservatory.

Gambardella will move on to her next exhibit in Italy after sharing her work at the Yellowstone National Park this past year. She specializes in repurposing single use items to create art that celebrates the natural world. Her work often features pieces from nature like fungi, plants and animals. 

The New England Botanic Garden provides an escape from the hustle of the city. Throughout the year, they host several different events and exhibitions. In the warmer months, they go outside on their large property through paths and trails. This year, the Garden was voted “Best Botanic Garden in the U.S.” by TravelAwaits.

If visitors are hungry, there’s also a café, serving several fresh salads, soups and sandwiches, including a Portobello Arugula and Gruyere Melt as well as a Roasted Brussel Sprout and Sweet Potato Bowl. There are also many desserts and drinks as well. Patrons can eat their food on the deck with a view of the Wachusett Reservoir.

The New England Botanic Garden provides classes for adult and child education. Supplement a visit to the garden with a yoga and meditation class, painting class or pruning workshop. For families, they offer workshops like a maple sugaring class or a little seedling class. They also host events for school breaks for kids. 

To get to the New England Botanic Garden from the city, take I-90W to 495 to route 270. Tickets are $19, but they offer discounts to those with EBT, WIC and for those in the military. Visitors can bring their dogs to walk around the trails for $8.

About the Contributor
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor