The warmer weather is calling you outdoors this spring, so why not visit a charming local garden for some inspiration for your own backyard? Set in an original waterfront neighborhood, the historic gardens at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, are a destination you should add to your list this year.

At Strawbery Banke Museum’s gardens, you’ll enjoy seeing historic gardens from the 17th century through today, from subsistence level raised bed kitchen gardens to formal Victorian landscapes to modern day community gardens. Each garden features garden design elements and plant selections that would have been used during different time periods. All are based on intensive research and restoration efforts by the Historic Landscapes Department at the museum, which was recognized by Garden Design Magazine as one of the few places in the world dedicated to teaching about change over time in the landscape. They use heirloom seed cultivation and preservation, as well as organic gardening techniques.

The gardens open May 1, and tours are given daily at 1 p.m. You can also go on a self-guided “Listen to the Landscape” tour of the gardens using your cell phone, where you’ll learn about important people and plants from the gardens’ past, as well as the local neighborhood through mobile audio and video. Just a few of the stops include Prescott Park, the waterfront streetscape, a native strawberry patch, a heritage orchard featuring heirloom New England fruit trees and a Victorian-era plant conservatory.

Strawbery Banke Museum’s gardens also offer interactive garden crafts and activities. If you have kids, they might enjoy the suggested scavenger hunt through the gardens. Or, maybe you’d like to make your own herbarium or learn about heirloom seed saving and composting. You’ll want to check out the museum’s Historic Foodways Program too. As a souvenir of your trip, stop by the museum gift shop to pick up some heirloom seeds to grow in your garden room at home.

Which gardens in and around Portsmouth do you look to for inspiration for your home’s garden rooms? Share your favorites with us in a comment below!

Are you thinking about building a new home in New England or renovating your current space? Contact TMS Architects to learn more about working with our firm and how we can help you with your new build or renovation project.

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