The Garden of Inspiration is a garden of ideas meant to inspire the home gardener.  This is a formal garden with influences from historic French garden design. This garden features a collection of beds each demonstrating a particular theme based on plant type, cultural condition, or characteristic.  There are beds focusing on shade perennials, fragrant plants, cacti and succulents, plants which attract and support  pollinators, and plants with interesting foliage. Some beds illustrate the use of grasses in design and others showcase drought-resistant plants like catmint and little bluestem for green ground covers. 

The wonder of plant adaptability shines in the Garden of Inspiration through two unique features. In the Crevice Garden, a dramatic, circular rock garden situated near the far end of the garden, visitors can find alpine plants similar to the protected species that grow along the exposed tops of New England’s White Mountains. Instead of soil, this garden includes crushed stone and sand that high-altitude-loving plants prefer. At the opposite end of the Garden of Inspiration, visitors can explore the curious plants of the Fen Garden. Formerly known as the Primordial Pool, the Fen Garden exhibits wetland plants that thrive in base PH saturated soils. With wetlands threatened globally, this garden celebrates a natural system that requires public attention and conservation. 

The Garden of Inspiration is dedicated to D.J. and Alice Shumway Nadeau, a gift of their son Russell Ward Nadeau. Until 2018, the garden was known as the Systematic Garden. The Garden of Inspiration includes accessible gravel paths, several benches, and the Kinship Arbor, an iconic arbor structure surrounded in summer by brightly colored blooms that interpret the color wheel.