New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is located at 11 French Drive in Boylston, Mass.

Visitation at public gardens is up across the United States, and here at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill we are grateful so many people are excited about getting closer to nature and plants. At our 30+ year old botanic garden in Boylston, Mass., we’ve seen admission grow from about 80,000 in 2013 to more than 150,000 in 2018. This kind of interest presents wonderful opportunities and as well as some challenges we can solve together.

Why are so many people from all over the region heading to New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill in record breaking numbers? Perhaps in this technology driven world, more people are looking for an escape from their office environment and their computers to recharge outdoors. While some people prefer a natural woodland walk, others like a more formal garden experience: New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill has both. New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill has also grown its education program, offering classes, talks, and workshops for all ages. We’ve added special events – like the fascinating Carnivorous Plant Show and the popular Botanical Tattoo Weekend – that encourage all walks of life, in addition to longtime gardeners, to experience what New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill has to offer.

Here at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, we want to connect as many people to plants as possible because plants are not only a critical part of the ecosystem, but also provide mental and physical benefits that improve quality of life. We have increased our efforts to be a force for change in the community, donating hundreds of pounds of vegetables each year from our gardens to Rachel’s Table, a Worcester food pantry, partnering with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project, the Worcester Tree Initiative, and many more. This creates an atmosphere many want to be part of and it has grown our New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill family considerably. But the spike in growth has shined the light on areas we need to improve and expand, many of which are addressed in our updated Master Plan, unveiled in 2016. The most apparent need, clear to any guest who visits on a busy day, is parking.

Our updated Master Plan is a bold vision of what our botanic garden can become and includes plans for additional gardens and facilities. Those objectives are spread out in phases that will stretch through the middle of this 21st century. Among the first of these projects will be to expand New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill’s parking to help alleviate traffic congestion on our busiest days.

Design plans for the entrance to New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill from French Drive.

Our plans also call for an improved entry and an innovative and sustainably designed storm water runoff system to ensure that our expanded parking lots are gentle on the environment a