Today is St. Patrick’s Day, but I was on the hunt for a different kind of green. I was in need of warmth and flowers. The Spring Equinox arrives on Wednesday, March 20, with a late winter snowstorm coming the day before. It was time to find a greenhouse where I could hang out and dream of summer.

Oranges in the Orangerie. Of course.
Oranges in the Orangerie. Of course.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass., was the perfect spot for a sunny but cold day. During the summer, you can wander the 132-acre property, but the wintertime draw is their two greenhouses. The largest is the Orangerie, where heat-loving plants of all types spend the winter. The temperature inside the greenhouse averages 65 degrees F during the day. It was ~35 degrees F today, so the Orangerie’s warmth was very welcome.

What hits me most – in a good way – when I visit this greenhouse is the smell. It smells alive with the scent of greenery and warmth. Best of all, there are benches where you can sit and enjoy the scents, the scenery, and the people. It seems that everyone who visits in the winter have the same look on their face: a smile of relief and happiness.

The relatively new Limonaia greenhouse is smaller and cooler in temperature than the Orangerie. It also has an interesting mix of plants, but the smaller space makes it feel more crowded when there are other visitors.

We didn’t hit the outdoor trails this time, but visitors are welcome to bring their snow shoes or cross country skis. Considering the snow forecast says we’ll get 6-10″ of snow on Tuesday, I may just be back to Tower Hill sooner than I had planned.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden