Explore the Grounds

May T. Watts Reading Garden

An intimate garden tucked next to the Sterling Morton Library

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An intimate garden tucked next to the Sterling Morton Library.

The May Theilgaard Watts Reading Garden is named in honor of a long-time educator, ecologist, and environmentalist at The Morton Arboretum. Seating in a cozy nook created by a rustic stone wall, lush plantings of flowers and shrubs, and even a small pond make this an ideal spot for delving into one of the library’s many fine botanical books.

The Reading Garden is open seven days a week during the growing season, April through October. The garden is a few low steps down when entered from the library. When the library is closed, you can reach the garden through a gate on the north side. A path of smooth, flat paving stones allows you to explore the garden; the seating area is gravel.

The garden was designed by Watts and librarian Mary Moulton and contains intriguing and unusual plants. They include May T. Watts hosta (Hosta ‘May T. Watts’), Orange Meadowbrite™ coneflower (Echinacea ‘Art’s Pride’), and, against the library’s walls, magnificent espaliers of dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba).


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