The History of Kirkwood Gardens
“Sunny” Grace Kirkwood, who had served on the Board of Trustees for the Science Center for six years, designed a one acre garden on the grounds of the historic Holderness Inn. The garden includes both shade and sun beds planted with a wide variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, and flowers adapted to the northern New England climate. Plants that are attractive to birds, bees, and butterflies are central to the garden’s design
More than 200 people attended the August 31, 1996 dedication of Kirkwood Gardens, none more excited than Sunny Kirkwood herself, to whom the gardens were dedicated. Sunny Kirkwood died peacefully at her home in North Sandwich on September 17, 1996.
Some highlights of Kirkwood Gardens include
A 25’X60’ bluestone patio on the west side of the historic Holderness Inn provides a scenic view for pedestrians, a place to sit in the summer shade, and a teaching area for Science Center programs.
A series of granite steps lead visitors from the shaded upper garden to the sunny, informal lower garden. Visitors can sit in the shade under the ancient sugar maples and enjoy the large variety of ferns, hostas, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other shade-loving plants in the upper garden. Sun-loving shrubs, trees, and perennials thrive in the lower garden, where visitors can enjoy a lovely sculpture, set their clocks by the sundial, watch the hummingbirds from a circular bench under the old apple tree, or view birds and butterflies as they visit a central millstone fountain.
A beautiful wooden pergola covered with a variety of vines is located at the west end of the lower garden. A combination of cobbles, pavers and river stone provide the surface under the pergola and highlight a large lunaform pot in the planting bed behind.