Heritage Museums & Gardens Annual Rhododendron Festival

Come see the color and majesty... May 27-June 4
An enchanted forest of beauty, color, and fragrance (Courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens)

Heritage Museums & Gardens will be bursting with color, beauty, and fragrance as thousands of its world-famous rhododendrons cover 100 acres with spectacular and varied blooms during the much-anticipated Heritage Rhododendron Festival, from Saturday, May 27, through Sunday, June 4.

The annual Heritage Rhododendron Festival, sponsored by Nutter, McClennen & Fish Attorneys at Law, is one of the most beautiful times to visit Heritage, and special festival programs will engage everyone from novice to avid gardeners. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk surrounded by walls of flowers, learn more about these gorgeous plants from horticultural experts, explore Heritage’s connection to noted rhododendron hybridizers, purchase a Heritage rhododendron of their own, and participate in other activities related to this signature plant.

“Rhododendrons at peak bloom create such an inspiring sight,” said Ellen Spear, Heritage President and CEO. “Throughout the grounds, these breathtaking flowers provide a beautiful backdrop for people of all ages to enjoy outdoor exploration and are a place to learn about the important work of Charles Dexter, whose curiosity about these plants led to the comprehensive collection you can see when you visit.”

In addition to presenting an enchanting forest of spectacular colors and fragrances, many of the rhododendrons have historic horticultural significance.  “Heritage is dedicated to preserving the work of renowned rhododendron hybridizers,” said Les Lutz, Heritage Director of Horticulture and Facilities. “Our documentation and care of the plants assures they will be preserved for future generations.”

Rhododendron Festival Programs include: 

Daily Rhododendron Collection Walking Tour: Saturday, May 27-Sunday, June 4: 11-11:30 am and 2-2:30 pm. Take a deep dive into the world of rhododendrons. Discover how the work done at Heritage by two hybridizers, Charles Owen Dexter and Jack Cowles, contributed to the genus Rhododendron and created the plants so loved and admired today. Guides will select the most spectacular spots for viewing these stunning plants.  

Rhododendron Care Walk and Talk: Saturday, May 27, 10-10:45 am; Tuesday, May 30, 1-1:45 pm; Friday, June 2, 10-10:45 am; Sunday, June 4, 10-10:45 am. Learn the basics of how to maintain and care for rhododendrons and see demonstrations of ideal growing situations, watering, fertilization, mulching, pest control, pruning, bud-pinching, and dead-heading to encourage optimal health and beauty.

Rhododendron Pruning Demonstration: Sunday, May 28, 1-1:45 pm; Thursday, June 1, 1-1:45 pm; Saturday, June 3, 10-10:45 am. Learn how to selectively prune rhododendrons to improve vigor, increase bloom density, control height, and enhance ornamental value, and watch a demonstration of techniques used on various plants in the garden.

Heritage Rhododendron Festival programs are free with Museum admission. No advance registration is required.

The Rhododendron Festival at Heritage Museums & Gardens is sponsored by Nutter McClennen & Fish Attorneys at Law. Heritage is grateful for the support of the 2017 Lead Sponsor, Arbella Insurance Foundation. The 2017 season runs from April 15-October 9. Open daily, 10 am-5 pm. More information is available online at heritagemuseumsandgardens.org or by calling 508-888-3300.

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