Fall is a beautiful time to explore Bedrock Gardens in Lee, New Hampshire, one of New England’s newest public gardens. The 30-acre property was historically a farm and more recently the home garden of artist Jill Nooney and her husband, Bob Munger. Over the course of three decades the couple built trails, garden rooms, water features, and structures that provide visitors with a unique and immersive woodland adventure. With sculptural elements and installations sited throughout the landscape, there are surprises at every turn.
When I first visited the garden with my friend Joanne Vieira a few years back, the garden was in a time of transition. After years of pouring their creativity and passion into the property, founders Jill and Bob were preparing to pass the torch to the next generation by making their garden accessible to the public. A new nonprofit organization was formed, permits were acquired, and a parking area and welcome center were built. With the enthusiastic support of local volunteers, Bedrock Gardens has been transformed into a gathering place where nature lovers, art lovers, and gardening enthusiasts can find inspiration and connect with each other.
One section of the garden that is particularly beautiful in autumn is Grass Acre, a mass planting of ornamental grasses that includes switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, Zones 5–9), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium, Zones 3–9), and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9). On a breezy day, their dancing, swaying inflorescences add movement and sound to this gorgeous “grass painting.”
Bedrock Gardens is open to the public during the growing season and usually closes for the winter in early to mid-October. For a listing of the days and hours that the garden is open, click here.
See more more iconic New England gardens that are rich with history:
Explore the colorful gardens that have been in Matt Mattus’s family for three generations.
Tour the hillside garden of designer and garden conservator Bill Noble.