What’s Blooming at the Webb Deane Stevens Museum?

Thank you Rose Riley, Master Gardener  at the Webb Deane Stevens Museum for this post.

After dawdling for 6 weeks, spring is now racing to summer!  As a gardener I love long slow springs with enough time to savor every glorious offering. This year spring’s late start and rush to catch up leaves me in a continual state of “oh my” and “did you see that?”

I’m always surprised when summer appears on time after a long slow spring.  Did I think we would remain two weeks behind schedule all year long?

The Cogswell Garden at Webb Deane Stevens Museum  was designed as a high summer garden.  Museum lore says that at the time of its original installation (around 1921), the Colonial Dames of Connecticut, who owned the museum, were operating a tea room to help raise funds to pay the mortgage.  The terrace, which extended the  tea room in nice weather, overlooked the new garden. And since the terrace was only used in the summer the garden was designed to be showy primarily in summer.


Early spring offerings consist of only a few flowering trees and shrubs but what glorious ones they are!  A very early dwarf saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana ‘Lilliputian’) begins the show, usually in early April.


Pink flowering almond shrubs (Prunus glandulosa ‘Rosea Plena’) are a source of delight and many questions by visitors unfamiliar with them.

WebbDeane3In bloom at the same time, the Sargent crabapple tree (Malus sargentii) is an explosion of fragrant white flowers.

In this tardy spring they are all in bloom or just finishing bloom in early May.