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  • Writer's pictureS.E.Clark

Gnometastic News and a Botanical Delight

Ah, August—late summer has finally arrived in all its faded loveliness and the enchantment of autumn is just beginning to show itself in every stray, yellowing leaf and petal. This month, I have an extra surprise! I am so pleased to announce that I was selected as one of 20 local artists to participate in this year’s Gnomevember, a whimsical event held each November at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. I will be decorating a gnome that will join her more than 250 brethren who make the Garden their home from November 1st to the 30th. I’ll be working on this 3ft tall, 60-pound gal over the next few months and if you’re interested in watching my progress, please subscribe to the mailing list to be notified when I post to the blog, or follow Aprilarium on Instagram or Facebook.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to look at that cute face?

Okay, maybe she's a smidgen haunted.

I’d been wanting to visit New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill for a few years now, and picking up my gnome made for the perfect opportunity. Located in the town of Boylston in Central Massachusetts and part of the ancestral lands of the Nipmuc People, the gardens are the product of over thirty years of hard work by the Worcester Horticultural Society, which bought Tower Hill Farm in 1986 to convert into a botanic garden serving all those curious about and inspired by plants. Since then, the Horticultural Society has cultivated 18 distinct gardens over 171 acres of land, ranging from planned lawn gardens to wild meadows filled with native flora and fauna.

The botanic garden is a beautiful place which tantalized my eyes, ears and nose. I only saw about a quarter of the gardens this trip, and I am so eager to return to explore even more! I particularly loved the Nadeau Garden, a planned garden of beds filled with seasonal flowers and shrubs. The Nadeau Garden’s plots are each cultivated around a theme, such as fragrance or attraction to pollinators, and are meant to inspire home gardeners by showcasing varied and striking designs—it is, quite literally, a garden of possibilities. During my trip, the August blooms of coneflowers harbored many a hardworking bee (and the occasional finch), and the big, fat zinnias were unfurling their petals from their whorled centers. The gardens captured all the things I love about late summer plants—how they seem just a little mad, with their odd shapes and strange colors, all butter yellows, linen whites and deep, mysterious purples. They seem to herald the coming autumn and all of its glorious spookiness. The Nadeau Garden is perfectly designed for a stroll in the sunshine.

Whether you are an avid gardener or just enjoy walking through nature, consider taking a trip to Boylston to visit New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. There’s something for everyone there, including accessible gardens, hiking trails, and an exhibit of environmental art by W. Gary Smith. I know I’m looking forward to returning to this magical place when I drop off my gnome for her family reunion.


S.E.Clark is a writer and artist living in a small town outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She runs Aprilarium, a home for honeyed and haunted works. She may be reached by email at or by carrier pigeon.


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