Cat mint flowers at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge.
Cat mint flowers at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge. (Berkshire Eagle File)

STOCKBRIDGE, MASS. >> Water playing in the air, water plants, installations, sculptures and a collection of bird baths will enlarge the Berkshire Botanical Garden this summer.

The garden has explored elements over the last several summers, said Brian Cruey, director of communications, and this year they have chosen one gardeners think about all the time.

Water garden designer Anthony Archer Wills, who has created more than 2,000 water features in Great Britain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, South America, Argentina and Turkey, as well as the U.S., has become involved — he designed the pond in the Berkshire Botanical Garden, Cruey said, with its ilies and water grasses along the edge, and now he may create a fountain to play in it.

The garden's buildings and grounds manager, William Cummings, is working on a jumping fountain.

While they show the impish and beautiful aspects of water, the garden also works with it. They have a water retention pond to collect and filter rain water, and water-tolerant plants live on the banks, Cruey said. They collect rain water from the greenhouses in rain barrells to use in watering, and they have a solar greenhouse with a slanted roof and a back wall lined with barrels of water. In the winter, sunlight will heat the water enough to keep the temperature above freezing inside the greenhouse, and some of their temperate plants face out the cold months there.


Along with the ongoing exhibit, this summer the garden will also expand its art classes to have workshops (some short and some running over several weeks) in painting, drawing, sketching, watercolor, writing and cut paper.

The Garden Club of America will also host the garden's annual Grow Show in August in partnership with the Lenox Garden Club, he said. They will expand the classes — in flowers, vegetables, leaves, anything that grows — add new events in line with the water theme and bring back flower arrangements, which involve water in their own way.

They are also turning their gift shop largely into an information center, with some local and garden gifts but more exhibits and volunteers knowledgeable about gardening.

And visitors can always walk in the gardens, among the day lilies and herbs and young roses, and look for elements of past summer art shows — tree houses, a garden shed, a giant ceramic pot by Mark Hewitt with a sandy golden glaze ... not far from the edge of the pond.