General admission for children 17 years and under is always free

March 28 - April 14, 2024

Hanging Nasturiums Make Their Glorious Annual Return

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
11 am - 5 pm
Courtyard

Spring is Here

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum presents its highly-anticipated annual Hanging Nasturtiums display from March 28 through April 14. Cultivated for nine months to create 20-foot, lush vines filled with orange blossoms, the nasturtiums cascade from balconies overlooking the Museum's historic Courtyard. 

 

Please note that April 14 is an approximate close date. Viewing may close earlier or later depending on the condition of the flowers. Updates will be posted on this page as soon possible .

Nine Fun Facts About Nasturtiums

1. Hanging Nasturtiums is only on view for about three weeks. Although myth has taken hold that the nasturtiums must be on display for Easter and Isabella’s birthday (April 14), the installation date actually depends on seasonal temperatures, and length of display on how long the blooms last. New England’s weather and delicate blossoms have aligned this year for blossoms to be on view March 28 – April 14 so visitors will enjoy them on both occasions. 

2. An annual springtime tradition started by Isabella Stewart Gardner in the early 1900s, Hanging Nasturtiums has taken place nearly every year since, with some notable exceptions including the Great Depression, World War II, and Covid-19 pandemic (2020). These special flowers are part of the Museum’s “living” collection and one of ten seasonal displays in its always-blooming Courtyard. 

3. Visitors can go behind-the-scenes with Erika Rumbley, Stanley P. Kozak Director of Horticulture at the Gardner, as she describes the special flower and complex installation process in a (4 minute) audio talk. “Nasturtiums come in many colors – but orange was the color that Isabella preferred. She was not only an art collector, but a plant lover, and grower,” explains Rumbley. 

4. Growing nasturtiums for the Gardner is a long and arduous process. Planning begins a year ahead, with seedlings started the previous June (about nine months in advance). Plants require daily attention with the Horticulture team monitoring, pruning, and training for form and color throughout the winter. 

5. Installation of the Hanging Nasturtiums takes several hours and 10 or so gardeners. The process starts off-site where the Horticulture team removes the vines from off-site greenhouses. They are then transported to the Museum and carefully carried one-by-one (with gardeners holding a section of each precious vine) to their 3rd floor destination where they are draped from balconies. 

6. Nasturtium Numbers: Nasturtium vines are grown in individual pots. Each plant weighs about 50 lbs. and is more than 20 feet long. Typically, 18 vines hang in the Courtyard. 

7. Indigenous to South America, the flower’s ancestors were prized by the Incas of Peru as a vegetable and medicinal herb. Centuries later in Europe, it received its common name, nasturtium, from the Latin for “nose-twister,” a clever wordplay for the flower’s peppery taste and spicy fragrance. The plant grew in popularity, not for its practical uses, but its ornamental value. 

8. One of Isabella’s favorite flowers (see the Gardner Museum blog post), there are at least three objects in the collection featuring the orange blossoms. Notably, Nasturtiums at Fenway Court by artist (and Isabella’s friend) Arthur Pope, was inspired by his visit to the Museum in 1919. 

9. "My garden is riotous, unholy, deliriously glorious! I wish you were here," wrote Isabella to her friend and art historian, Bernard Berenson. One of the most popular items in the Museum’s shop, Gift at the Gardner, is the canvas tote bag with Isabella’s garden-inspired quote. Find nasturtium seeds, treats (like nasturtium jelly or chocolate) and nasturtium-inspired jewelry in the shop and online. Swing by Café G for a sunset-hued sparkling cocktail (blood orange and cava) or mocktail while taking in the view of the Museum’s outdoor gardens.

TICKETING

Hanging Nasturtiums will be on view March 28 - April 14 and is included in admission to the Museum. 

The Museum is open weekends from 10 AM to 5 PM, weekdays from 11 AM to 5 PM, and Thursdays until 9 PM. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays. (There are three opportunities to view the nasturtiums at night: March 28, April 4 and April 11.)  

Admission to the Museum is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $13 for students. Children 17 and under receive free admission. 


Get your tickets in advance and get them early. 

 

 

Learn More About Nasturtiums at the Museum

Learn More About Nasturtiums at the Museum

Web Page

Hanging Nasturtiums - Courtyard Display

Web Page

Nasturtiums: A Gardner Tradition

Painting

Nasturtiums, About 1894

Blog

The Elevation of the Nasturtium: From Plate To Palace Garden

Blog

One Hundred Years of Nasturtiums: Arthur Pope and James Prosek

The Hanging Nasturtiums Installation is supported by Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld and Elizabeth and Matthew Denison.
Courtyard displays in April are made possible, in part, by the Sorenson Fund for Horticulture.
Landscape and Horticulture public programs are supported by the Barbara E. Millen and Markley H. Boyer Endowment Fund.

The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.