Memorial Garden Reopens at Forbes House Museum

The Forbes House Museum in Milton invites visitors to its newly-renovated garden, The Island of Infinite Pleasantness,  that includes many species of trees and plantings native to China and Asia.

Charles D. Webster created the Chinese-inspired garden in the 1990s in memory of his late wife, Natalie Peters Webster, president of the Garden Club of America, 1959-1962, who had a lifelong interest in the arts of Asia.

With his friend Crosby Forbes, founder of the museum, Mr. Webster designed the garden on the south side of the museum grounds, adjacent to the house’s south porch with its ornamental Chinese tiles.  With Forbes family artifacts from its 19th-century China trade voyages displayed inside the museum, the garden is a natural extension of the visitor experience.

“Mr. Webster chose the garden’s name in the Chinese tradition of naming gardens to reflect their meditative and spiritual nature,” according to June Robinson, a former museum trustee who oversaw the garden’s original installation. Ms. Robinson and Judy Cook, another volunteer, supervised this year’s revitalization and donated a teak garden bench in memory of their mothers.

The Forbes House Museum has put together a self-guided tour of the grounds, focusing specifically on the "Garden of Infinite Pleasantness," an area of Asian trees and shrubs.
The Forbes House Museum has put together a self-guided tour of the grounds, focusing specifically on the “Garden of Infinite Pleasantness,” an area of Asian trees and shrubs.

Prominent trees and plantings in the garden include the Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellanta) native to Japan, Miss Kim Lilac (Syringa patula) from Korea and northern China, and Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticusa) native to China and Tibet and the national flower of China. The museum purchased the Tree Peonies with a generous grant from the Milton Garden Club.

“The Island of Infinite Pleasantness is inviting in a quiet, simple way, and we encourage visitors to enjoy the tranquil respite it provides,” said Heidi Vaughan, the museum’s executive director.

“The garden is open to the public from dawn until dusk, and for those who want to learn more about the plantings – including their historic, horticultural and cultural significance – the museum offers a free, self-guided walking tour.”

For more information about the garden, museum events and programming,
call 617-696-1815 or visit