Heritage Museum and Gardens – Cape Cod, MA

While on Cape Cod last week, spouse and I visited The Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich, mainly for a behind-the-scenes antique car tour — they have about 40 in their collection, made from 1899 to 1962 — but also to see the gardens.

There is a lot to like about these gardens at the end of June, even though many of their signature plants — hydrangeas, rhododendrons, daylilies, fringe and Franklinia trees — weren’t blooming:

  • the garden isn’t overwhelming in scope or size (100 acres) yet has a good variety of plants, most of them labelled;
  • there’s art in the gardens — “Natural Threads” was the fabric-sculptural exhibit when we were here;
  • there are both a labyrinth and a maze;
  • there’s a pond and a waterlily pool & fountain (my favourite);
  • we saw plenty of frogs and eastern painted turtles, and heard song sparrows singing their hearts out;
  • we didn’t have time to check them out, but there are several wooded trails around the property;
  • there’s a fun sensory play area (“hidden hollow”) with a tree house and stations for making music, building things, engineering things, splashing around in water, painting, climbing, making forts, digging in sand, looking at things with magnifying glasses, etc. — which we did have time to check out.

Here are some of the highlights. Visit if you get the chance.

I especially enjoyed the (mostly) shade gardens in the windmill area:

path through windmill garden
path through windmill garden
silver-spotted skipper butterfly on a borage flower
silver-spotted skipper butterfly on a borage flower
song sparrow singing
song sparrow singing
heuchera with hostas
heuchera with hostas
astilbe in bud
astilbe in bud
excellent pairing of chartreuse hosta with Japanese painted fern
excellent pairing of chartreuse hosta with Japanese painted fern
blue and green-with-yellow-border hostas
blue and green-with-yellow-border hostas
masterwort -- a new one for me, and then today I found it in a plant sale and bought one!
masterwort — a new one for me, and then today I found it in a plant sale and bought one!

The maze was fun, and the first of the fabric art sculptures was there, titled Modern Dance:

'Modern Dance' Natural Threads art
‘Modern Dance’ Natural Threads art
clematis in maze
clematis in maze

From there to the herb garden:

herbgardenstonefountainhouseHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016

And then to the labyrinth; there were many trees in the paths, and the path itself was mostly shells:

labyrinth in sun-shade
labyrinth in sun-shade

“Just at present you only see the tree by the light of the lamp. I wonder when you would ever see the lamp by the light of the tree.” ― G.K. Chesterton

trees in path
trees in path

Nearby was more art (‘We Weave Our Own Web’) and an eastern painted turtle making its way through the woods’ edge:

turtle
turtle
"We Weave Our Own Web" Natural Threads art
“We Weave Our Own Web” Natural Threads art

From there to the sundial (in the daylily garden, though very few were blooming yet), then the waterlily pond and fountain, with many frogs, eastern painted turtles — including a teeny tiny one — and flowering lilies:

sundialthroughtreesHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016

"Dance Ballerina Dance" daylily
“Dance Ballerina Dance” daylily

lilypondfountainbHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016 triopinkwaterlilyflowersHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016

yellowwaterlilyflowerbHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016 easternpaintedturtlereflectionHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016 twosmallonetinyeasternpaintedturtleslilypadsbHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016

I mean, that's tiny!
I mean, that’s tiny!

easternpaintedturtlecHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016

big green frog
big green frog
another frog
another frog

lilypondfountaincHeritageGardensSandwichMA23June2016

Next past a swath of astilbe and some foxglove to the pond:

swath of white astilbe
swath of white astilbe
foxglove
foxglove
the pond
the pond
wooded path near pond
wooded path near pond

Then to Hidden Hollow, an enchanting play area for little and big people alike (I pumped some water and poured it on a wooden stove):

Hidden Hollow play area (from above, in treehouse)
Hidden Hollow play area (from above, in treehouse)
Hidden Hollow treehouse
Hidden Hollow treehouse
There were several of these percussion instruments to play
There were several of these percussion instruments to play
part of the "Splash" water play area in Hidden Hollow
part of the “Splash” water play area in Hidden Hollow
One of several little boxes along the path, which gave clues as to what was inside.
One of several little boxes along the path, which gave clues as to what was inside.
I wondered if a real arachnid would be inside, but it was the stuffed, furry variety.
I wondered if a real arachnid would be inside, but it was the stuffed, furry variety.

I liked this evergreen planting, and this waterway, and especially this Natural Threads art — crocheting a web in a tree:

evergreens
evergreens
a waterway with flowers
a waterway with flowers
my favourite of the Natural Threads installations: Keeping Up Appearances, made of crochet.
my favourite of the Natural Threads installations: Keeping Up Appearances, made of crochet.

Isn’t it beautiful?

There’s also a cafe (PDF menu), with a nice summer berry salad, a green salad, sandwiches and wraps (meat and vegetarian), quiche, clam chowder, a vegetarian Mediterranean flatbread, and wines, beers, sangrias, iced tea, lemonade, plus desserts, muffins, potato chips.

We were so busy enjoying the garden and cars that we didn’t even get to the museum proper or the carousel or costume exhibits. We’ll have to return.

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