Gardens at Clock Barn—Home of Maureen and Mike Ruettgers

Carlisle, MA
Open Days, Edibles, Cutting garden, Rose garden, Open Days Special Program, Garden Extras

Passionate gardeners Maureen and Mike Ruettgers invite visitors of all ages to share a day of adventure and inspiration in their extraordinary Gardens at Clock Barn outside of Boston, MA. From a stylish design full of the choicest plants to an inventive children’s garden, this is a veritable wonderland designed to ignite curiosity and delight in all gardeners, from toddlers on up. Once again, they have gone above and beyond with special programs planned for guests of all ages. As Garden Extras, these are free with Open Days admission.

The Ruettgers family has been gardening here for nearly 40 years, although their house and drying barn date to 1790. Entering the gardens through an arched gate, explore the old barn with trays full of herbs and flowers from the adjacent cutting garden. These trays were built as a 1930s WPA Project for drying digitalis leaves used medicinally. East of the barn are beds of flowers, vegetables, and herbs that are rotated throughout the season. An adjacent Belgian fence espalier encloses a garden room displaying calendulas, Verbena bonariensis, other herbs, and ornamental vegetables. Beyond the cordon of pears is the new fall border featuring Salvia madrensis, tithonia, Abyssinian banana, and many dahlias. Near the center of the property, a grape arbor leads to a walled garden with four quadrants anchored by antique roses. Mixed borders there feature sweeps of nasturtiums, ‘Amistad’ & ‘Indigo Spires’ salvia, ‘Prairie Sun’ rudbeckia, heleniums, and edible herbs. A second tier is flanked by two reflecting pools ringed by Allium lusitanicum and herbal tapestries. The greenhouse and potting area is filled with scented geraniums, succulents, gingers, bay, and rosemary varietals. Beyond, a canopy of 100-year-old oaks shades woodland gardens. Favorite woodland plantings include Paeonia japonica and P. obovata, anemones, epimediums, Kirengeshoma palmata, and hosta from the garden of Francis Williams. Look for the new tree fort, a koi pond, sculptures, and choice specimens of dogwood, magnolia, and maple. Pass through a hornbeam arch to the Clock Barn. Up on the patio at the house, investigate a collection of Italian pots and troughs filled with favorite specimens then go around the corner to discover the secret garden.

Directions: From Boston, take Route 24 south to Exit 14A and merge onto I-495 South. Take Exit 7A for Route 24 North toward Boston. Merge onto Route 24 North and go about 18 miles. Take Exit 21B to merge onto I-93 South toward I-95. Continue on I-95 North for 21 miles. Take Exit 31B for Route 4 North/Route 225 West. Merge onto Bedford Street/Route 225/Route 4 and continue to follow Route 225/Route 4 for 2.8 miles. Turn left at Carlisle Road/Route 225. Turn right to stay on Carlisle Road/Route 225 and follow to destination on right.

Open Days 2019: September 14
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Language of Flowers—A Garden Celebration & Exhibit
11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tussie-Mussie Workshop
Maureen and Mike Ruettgers will once again welcome Open Days visitors into their justly storied private retreat outside of Boston, MA. Once again, they have gone above and beyond with special programs planned for guests of all ages.  As Garden Extras, these are free with Open Days admission. Maureen’s passion for gardening began with herbs, and through that, she discovered the Victorian language of flowers. With this year’s Open Day, she wants to share this rich tradition with fellow garden enthusiasts. 

In Victorian society, flowers formed an intimate language of their own with each flower assigned a particular meaning. Learning their special symbolism became popular during the 19th century. Emotions that could not be stated publicly could be expressed through flowers that were given or worn. Maureen has developed an exquisite collection of “porte bouquet” holders and related ephemera, so a curated exhibit on the language of flowers will be the centerpiece of this extraordinary day. Her collection will be augmented with period clothing and thirty specially-commissioned shadow boxes displaying the most important flowers in this romantic art, each handmade of paper (another example of Victorian material culture). This exhibition may also be seen by appointment only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, September 16-20 and 23-27. Please send an email to that includes your name, the number of people in your party, and the time and date you would like to visit. If you can be accommodated then, you will receive a confirmation email.

At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Maureen and fellow members of the Herb Society of America will help participants make their own tussie-mussies, small, hand-held bouquets that convey heart-felt messages in the language of flowers. Victorian tea and cookies, a potpourri table, fun flower facts, beekeeping demonstrations and pollinator discussions, as well as scavenger hunts (for both kids and adults) will be available throughout the day.

Admission to this garden is $10 per person and children 12 and under are free.

Don't forget to buy discounted admission tickets in advance. They can be used at most Open Days to make garden visiting easier.
Nonmembers get 6 visits for the price of 5 with advanced ticket book purchase.  
Members get 50% off ONLY by purchasing ticket books in advance.





  • This garden allows photography
  • This garden is handicap-accessible

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