Tower Hill Botanic Garden
I went to Tower Hill for the first time at the end of May for the big plant sale. It had been on my list of gardens to check out for a while but I just hadn't made it out yet. We've been living in Cambridge long enough now that driving more than 20 minutes to get somewhere seems like a major undertaking. You can find out more about the admission fees and hours on towerhillbg.org.
The plant sale is a big fundraiser for the gardens and members get the opportunity to shop first. Non members must pay admission to go to the sale, but you also get to tour the gardens. By the time we got to the sale (as non-members) a lot of the plants had already been sold. There was also a great variety of specialty plant vendors. If you are really into a specific type of plant, alpines, woodland ephemerals, epimediums, trilliums, etc, this would be a good sale to find neat specimens. The vendor list was published on the website before the sale. I didn't end up buying anything but enjoyed the shopping.
Timing-wise, we were a little late for the spring bulbs and a little early for the spring blooming perennials. I appreciated that most of the plants in the gardens were labelled.
Below: horse chestnut in bloom
My favorite part was the Systematic Garden, in which plants were organized by taxonomy. Maybe not the most artistic system but seriously nerdy. We didn't get all the way around to the wildlife gardens and the orangerie and limongerie were being used for the sale event. The whole thing was a bit too "upscale wedding venue" for my personal taste, but it was very nicely done and the views are lovely.
On the drive home we stopped for lunch at the Jack's Abbey Brew Pub in Framingham. I recommend the clam pizza, the bread pudding, and beer of course.