PlayDate: Designers Re-imagine Play House Structures @ Berkshire Botanical
May 26 @ 5:00 pm – Sep 24 @ 5:00 pm

Nine designers and builders interpret play house structures for Berkshire Botanical Garden’s summer exhibition, “PlayDate: Playhouses in the Garden” on display through September 24.

The PlayDate structures vary in size and theme, from a medieval fortress, to an outdoor transparent “play room” and a cubed, mirrored structure. Other designs include a tree trunk transformed into a hobbit house, a 19th Century shepherd’s wagon, a tee-pee made of saplings, a sanctuary, and an antique aviary tea party. A permanent installation at the Garden, the Martha Stewart Cottage, received a makeover for the exhibition, transforming the traditional garden cottage into a wild  woodland themed room inspired by the Garden’s own woodland trail. A total of 11 structures are included in the exhibition.

PlayDate is free with Garden admission and remains on display through September 24.

Read an overview of PlayDate in The Berkshire Edge.

Designers and builders:


Jeffrey All, Allwoodwork, Spencertown, New York
Keylonta – Creation and Consciousness: The Silent Sanctuary
Sit or lie down on the platform to enjoy the meditative space highlighted by a mirrored panel and plexi-glass accent rods.


Berkshire Botanical Garden
Where the Wild Things Are

Originally designed by guest gardener Martha Stewart, this heirloom cottage garden leads you to a wild and wondrous world of plants within, featuring an interior space inspired by BBG’s woodland trail and designed by BBG gardener Lou Kratt.


Robin Berthet, RBC Construction, Inc, Sheffield, MA
Lady Chatterley
Made from a design crafted on Google Sketchup, this 19th century-style shepherd’s hut is made of local cedar, mahogany, and locust. The wheels and chassis were manufactured by Cattail Foundry, an Amish family run foundry in Lancaster, PA. Interior design by Carey Herrington Home + Design of Hillsdale, NY.


Bill Cummings, Becket
Tree Teepee
Step inside this teepee made of hardwood saplings sheathed with beech branches. This playhouse serves to inspire you to create a similar structure in your own backyard – let your imagination take hold!


Tamarack Garlow, Canaan, New York
Sometimes the Best Playing is Just Sitting
Is it a chair, a playhouse, or both? Enjoy the Garden view from atop this eastern red cedar chair and then hunker down under its rough-cut pine seat to enter the special space below. 


Michael King, MPK Design, Sheffield, MA
Living from the Outside In
This outdoor “room” is designed to provide both refuge and transparency for all ages. Over time, it can also be transformed from playhouse to greenhouse to storage facility.


Matt Larkin, Black Barn Farm, Richmond, MA
Antique Aviary Tea Party
This circa 1880s wrought iron antique bird cage invites both song birds and children into its space. Join the tea party created out of a whimsical style incorporating repurposed elements, both manmade and made by nature.


Clarke Olsen, Clarke Olsen Design, Spencertown, NY
Step inside, see what’s outside. This wood, glass, and mirrored structure invites a retrospective approach to viewing the surrounding Garden.


Peter Thorne, West Stockbridge, MA
The Fort
Inspired by the designer’s grandchildren, this re-imagined medieval fortress is constructed from strong and durable black locust slabs, making it fortified and ready for battle.


Allen Timmons, Backyard Heirlooms, Great Barrington, MA
The Cottage for Kids
All six different sections of this structure are built of recycled cedar fence and stained with environmentally safe latex stains, providing a colorful, and especially “green” space for children.

Allen Timmons, Backyard Heirlooms, Great Barrington, MA
The Grownup Hobbit House
For the hobbit in all of us, a place for meditation and relaxation. This hollowed out giant white pine was hand carved, debarked, sanded, and treated with marine polyurethane. Roof is native white pine with red cedar shakes.


The Grow Show @ The Garden
Aug 12 @ 12:00 pm – Aug 13 @ 5:00 pm

47th Annual
The Grow Show

Submit your own entries in the show or stop by and take in the talents of regional gardeners, flower designers, and photographers.
This Year Featuring:
House of Flowers

Our floral design and photography divisions are inspired by five historic homes:

Chesterwood, Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio,
The Mount, Naumkeag, and Olana

Exhibition hours: August 12, noon – 5 p.m.  and August 13, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Free with Garden admission (check in at the Visitor Center when you arrive.)

All ages and experience levels are welcome to enter this blue-ribbon event!

Learn about the Floral Design Division
Register for the Floral Design Division

Learn about the Horticulture Division
Learn about the Photography Division


Contained Exuberance Walkabout with Designers @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 12 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am

Our annual Contained Exuberance exhibit is full of surprises! View the containers daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (free with Garden admission) or join us for a walkabout on August 12th, 10:45 a.m. with the seven designers who have contributed to this year’s display of container gardens:

Robert Clyde Anderson, Pondside Nursery
Rob Gennari, Glendale Botanicals
Donna Kittredge, Understory Landscape Design
Rebekah Lamphere, Hartland Designs
Jenna O’Brien, Viridissima Horticulture & Design
Pat Parkins and Brehan Bruce, Gardens of the Goddess
Wenonah Webster, Webster Landscape

The installations remain on display through September 23.

The Grow Show @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 13 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

The Grow Show
The “You Grow it and We Show it” event in the Berkshires.

Take In The Talents Of Regional Gardeners, Flower Designers, And Photographers.

This Year Featuring:
House Of Flowers

Our floral design and photography divisions are inspired by five historic homes:

Chesterwood, Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio,
The Mount, Naumkeag, and Olana

Exhibition hours: August 12, noon – 5 p.m. and August 13, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Free with Garden admission (check in at the Visitor Center when you arrive.)

Come Learn

Connect With Us

or Sign Up for our Newsletter

Berkshires In Bloom


Be A Force Of Nature