Has the BBG gone through major renovations in its 83-year history?
Photo by Carl Spague
"Nothing of this scale,” says executive director Michael Beck of the $2.3-million Center House restoration and expansion, the most transformative project the Berkshire Botanical Garden (BBG) has undertaken since its inception.
The building’s genesis, dating to the 1790s, makes it one of the oldest in Stockbridge. Once unveiled, the historic Center House—used for myriad purposes over the garden’s rich history— again will be the true center of the campus. Situated at the crossroad of routes 183 and 102 in Stockbridge, the botanical garden is poised to provide expanded programming to inspire visitors’ love for the natural world. Beck envisions the teaching kitchen bustling with farm-to-table cooking instruction, including workshops on canning summer’s bounty and drying herbs from the 1937 herb garden.
En-plein-air painting classes will no longer beg the question “What happens if it rains?” Thanks to a planned sunlit classroom, an ample covered porch will allow for programs to continue despite inclement weather. In addition, gallery space will provide a complementary and continuous flow of indoor attractions by local and regional artists.
The BBG was established in 1934 by the Lenox Garden Club. Its original commitment as a non-profit, educational organization will be amplified by the expansion. Beck looks forward to getting more kids to enjoy the garden’s robust youth-education programs, the bulk of which currently take place in local schools throughout the county. As to the official unveiling? Beck is optimistic that the Center House will be in full bloom come August.