Gardens and Greenhouses

Gardens and Greenhouses

The Wellesley College Botanic Gardens (WCBG) include thousands of plants representing over 1,500 different taxa from more than 150 different plant families, growing in diverse habitats and communities. The WCBG foster our instinctive affinity for plants, nature, and harmonious landscapes, and support a science-based understanding and appreciation.  This focus on plants and landscapes contributes to increasing knowledge and opportunities for teaching and research at the College, and develops our empathy and care for plants and the natural world.

One fundamental role of plants in nature and in culture is as food.  Plants are chosen in part based on a plant’s food value for native birds, insects, and other animals, and the gardens are maintained with minimal disruption of ecological interactions among native species.

 

Use the submenu links to learn more about each garden and greenhouse.

Outdoor Gardens

The Alexandra Botanic Garden has specimen trees and shrubs from around the world in a picturesque landscape. The Silver Thread brook winds through the garden from a waterfall to Paramecium Pond.

The H. H. Hunnewell Arboretum has several different habitats, including a maple swamp, meadow, and fragments of different forest types, with primarily native species. Specialized gardens include a bog garden, a dwarf conifer garden, a butterfly garden, and our Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden!

Greenhouses

The Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses brings Margaret Ferguson's vision of “laboratories under glass” into the 21st century, and is currently under construction. The Global Flora conservatory will highlight beauty and diversity in plant form, and our global connections with plants across cultures. Global Flora will also serve as a new node for interdisciplinary learning and an innovative example of sustainable design, with live-streaming climate sensors, rain-fed irrigation, and reduced heat consumption.

The Teaching and Research Greenhouses are connected to the Science Center and recently launched Frost Center for the Environment. These facilities will support student and faculty research, teaching, and other programs.

We look forward to welcoming visitors once construction is complete!
 

Science Hill

The Botanic Gardens is embedded within the broader Science Hill area of Wellesley College campus, including the new Science Center building and surrounding landscapes, from pond and meadows to wetlands and forests. A master planning effort is underway to provide a holistic design for this area, making water systems and ecosystem processes legible, educational, welcoming, and sustainable.

We acknowledge that Wellesley College is built on ancestral and traditional land of the Massachusett people. We also recognize that the United States’ removal, termination, and assimilation policies and practices resulted in the forced settlement of Indigenous lands and the attempted erasure of Indigenous cultures and languages. We further acknowledge the oppression, injustices, and discrimination that Indigenous people have endured and that there is much work to be done on the important journey to reconciliation. We commit to strengthen our understanding of the history and contemporary lives of Indigenous peoples and to steward this land.

We further recognize the many Indigenous people living here today—including the Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc nations—who have rich ancestral histories in Wellesley and its surrounding communities. Today, their descendants remind us that they are still here, where they maintain a vital and visible presence. We honor and respect the enduring relationship between these peoples and this land, as well as the strength of Indigenous culture and knowledge, the continued existence of tribal sovereignty, and the principle of tribal self-determination.
We thank the Native American Student Association at Wellesley College for their work in developing this land acknowledgement, and we are committed to supporting continued action and advocacy.