rhododendrons beneath the birches
These red-flowered rhododendrons are among 156 ‘Nova Zembla’ varieties massed in the Birchwood

Garden Highlights

Named for its thick stand of hundreds of white and gray birches, the Birchwood is an idealized 7-acre woodland with more than 1,200 rhododendrons and other colorful shrubs, vast carpets of ferns and moss, and stunning close-up views of the Green Mountains.

Highlights include:

  • Masses of 563 large-leaf Catawba rhododendrons (Rhododendron catawbiense), whose large flower trusses blossom in early June.
  • Large drifts of 130 low-growing rhododendrons —including 100 Rhododendron yakushimanum ‘Ken Janeck’ and the Finnish ‘Pohjola’s Daughter’—which also bloom in June.
  • Sweeps of  P. J. M.s and other little-leaf rhododendrons—more than 100 shrubs in all—which are covered with blooms in May.
  • 40 Rosebay rhododendrons (Rhododendron maximum), which bloom in July.
  • Stands of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)—a total of 39 shrubs—whose exquisite white blossoms open in late June.
  • Groups of purpleleaf sand cherry (Prunus x cistena), ‘Summer Wine’ and ‘Little Devil’ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius varieties), and red twig dogwood ‘Ivory Halo’(Cornus alba)–more than 100 plants in all—whose massed foliage creates impressive swaths of color from May through October.
  • A long drift of 58 panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ and H. p. ‘Limelight’), whose immense flowers bloom from July through fall.
  • Vast sweeps of New York fern (Thelypteris novaboracensis) and other low, neat, gardenlike native ferns that cover the woodland floor from May to October.
  • Large, luxurious carpets of dark green hair cap moss (Polytrichum commune).
  • A 100-foot-by-30-foot pinetum, where more than 150 needle evergreen shrubs—junipers, spruces, and pines—create an immense tapestry of green, blue, silver-gray, and yellow-green foliage.
  • Stunning 180-degree views of the Green Mountains, the highest summits in the region, which rise just a few miles from the Birchwood.
  • A half-mile of paths, which permit easy strolling through the entire garden.

Photo by Eileen Oktavec

These spring-blooming rhododendrons are among 89 ‘P. J. M.s’ in the garden. The Jay Massif is on the horizon.