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A Stunning & Tranquil Setting

The flume fountain and the accompanying lilypond provide stunning views year-round. In the spring, it is surrounded by thousands of rhododendron blooms. In the summer the neighboring daylily garden provides a rainbow of blooms from June through August; and during Gardens Aglow, the waterfall transforms into a cascade of lights. The lilypond below the flume is home to our resident frogs and turtles and a beautiful array of dragonflies.


The Flume Fountain

The Flume was constructed in 2010 after a design competition was initiated by the Heritage Museums & Gardens Board of Trustees.  Stephen Stimson Associates of Cambridge, MA submitted the winning design that eventually became the Flume.

According to the landscape architect, “the design was inspired by the gristmills and historic flumes found throughout New England.” The flume is first viewed from the main entrance as a narrow pool that extends 208’ and pours 26’ down into a pool filled with waterlilies.

The water garden is defined by native granite stone edges and invites visitors to explore the water wildlife and garden collection. The trees lining the Promenade are mostly 90 (plus) year old Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) planted in the 1920’s by Charles Owen Dexter.

  • American Society of Landscape Architects | Award of Excellence in Design 2019
  • Boston Society of Landscape Architects | Honor Award 2014
Flume in spring

Hundreds of varieties of daylilies

Located at the base of the Flume, the Daylily Garden is in its glory from mid-June through late-August. Heritage has a Daylily (Hemerocallis) collection of approximately 800 cultivars and most are located in this garden. A few are scattered throughout the rest of Heritage Museums & Gardens. The collection mostly dates from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The colors range from near-white to yellows and to orange, pink, purple to near-red. Each year a few new cultivars are added to the collection.

The north side of the Daylily Garden is lined with English Holly planted during the initial planting when Heritage was being developed as a public garden in 1968-1969. These hollies hide the concrete foundation remains of the greenhouse Charles Owen Dexter used to start the many seedlings of his various rhododendron breeding programs.

There are several significant trees in this garden including a beautiful Stewartia pseudocamellia near the Flume Pool and a very large Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum. Both trees appear to date from the time of Charles Dexter (1921-1943). Also of significance are a large Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora) and a Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var atropurpureum).

The Sundial

This functional work of art was created for Heritage in 1981 by James Moss.

The sundial style is known as an armillary sphere – a skeletal frame of a globe with additional rings representing various astronomically important features such as the ecliptic, equatorial, and prime vertical. Our sundial has 4-inch meridian and equatorial rings with smaller arctic and antarctic rings. The sundial is 40 inches in diameter, weighing over 1,000 pounds, and an accompanying plaque instructs visitors on how to read the sundial.

These spherical frameworks of rings represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features such as the ecliptic.

The Heritage Sundial is registered with the North American Sundial Society and located at 41° 44.950′ N 70° 30.498′ W

Recent Garden News & Blogs

  • White Rhododendron

Hybridizing Rhododendrons

May 22nd, 2021|

100 Years of Rhododendrons After Dexter died in 1943, many of his hybrid rhododendrons were scattered away from Sandwich to different places. While Dexter himself had given away thousands of seedlings during [...]

  • Rhododendron

Dexter Centennial

May 16th, 2021|

100 Years of Rhododendrons This year, 2021, marks the centennial of the year that Charles Owen Dexter acquired Shawme Farm. It is because Dexter bought himself a country retreat a hundred years [...]

  • News & Blog - witch-hazel

Witch Hazel For The Winter Garden

March 10th, 2021|

Down To Earth by Les Lutz The days are getting longer and there are already signs of life in the garden. One bright spot in the garden here at Heritage Museums & Gardens [...]

  • American Elderberry

American Elderberry

February 4th, 2021|

Our beautiful elderberry in the herb garden. Sambucus canadensis or American Elderberry is a shrub that can grow to 12 feet, flowering in the summer and producing an abundance of fruits in early fall. [...]