The Sunken Garden was restored in 2011 according to a design by noted landscape preservationist Lucinda Brockway. Utilizing documentary evidence of the Beebe family’s original “herbaceous garden,” as well as her own extensive knowledge of historic gardens and plants, Brockway created a garden that the Beebe’s would have recognized, but that offers more seasonal color and easier maintenance for our volunteer gardening staff.
Originally a cutting garden, the West Garden supplied fresh flowers for Highfield Hall all summer long. Franklin Beebe could often be found in this garden tending his favorite flower, the carnation, earning the garden the nickname “Franklin’s Park.” Today, larger trees and the encroaching woods present a slightly different landscape for a palette of both shade and sun-loving plants that follow the contours of original beds, while surrounding a new central gathering space. The garden, as restored in 2012, is based on a design by Lucinda Brockway, with alterations made by Falmouth landscape designer Heather Wright.
Beebe Woods is a 387 acre parcel of town-owned land in the heart of Falmouth. Foot trails and old carriage roads wind past ponds, stone walls and through quiet woods. The woods lie across the top of the glacial moraine that stretches from Woods Hole to just north of the Cape Cod Canal. The many large boulders and the irregular terrain with hills, swales and kettle holes indicate the glacial origin of this land 15,000 to 18,000 years ago at the close of the last Ice Age.
In 2012, Historic Highfield installed the Beech Tree Path. This path meanders below the main parking area, allowing access to the heritage Beech trees planted by the Beebe family. The path also takes visitors past the location where an impressive greenhouse once stood. The greenhouse, abandoned and decayed, was documented and dismantled in 2006.
Interested in Becoming a Garden Volunteer?
On Tuesdays, April – October, from 10:00 -11:30 AM, George Chapman, Landscape Director, works with the volunteers in the Gardens. Each week the volunteers work on a different project or section of the grounds. The Tuesday workday is a fun way to meet to new people, learn more about gardening and help make the Gardens beautiful!
To accommodate those who need flexibility in their volunteer time, Highfield has an Adopt-a-Garden program. The West and Sunken Gardens have been divided into 20 sections. Each section can be adopted by an individual or group and maintenance of your section can be done around your schedule. Jobs include planting, dead-heading, light pruning, weeding clean-up in the fall. Sign up for a section by contacting us.