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The Trustees Announces “Violet Riot: Bradley in Bloom” A Colorful, New Display Garden at the Eleanor Bradley Estate in Canton

Experience the beauty of this country estate and newly planted Formal Garden with tours, lectures, concerts, and programs for all ages beginning this spring

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Kristi Perry
Director of Public Relations

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Boston and Canton, MA – April 20, 2017 – With spring in the air and gardening season upon us, The Trustees today announced that a stunning and colorful display garden will be created in the Formal Garden at The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate (the Bradley Estate), a gracious 90-acre country estate located outside of Boston in Canton which the 126-year old conservation nonprofit has been working to transform over the past year.  Entitled “Violet Riot: Bradley in Bloom” the display garden is designed to celebrate the long legacy of gardening at this historic estate with a vibrant new color palette featuring a mix of purple and chartreuse plantings designed to bloom throughout the spring into the early fall.  An official public opening and celebration is planned for Wednesday, June 14th when the garden will be in its full glory, but in the meantime, the estate is now open for the season so visitors can see the evolving garden in progress through weekly house and garden tours, workshops, and other special events and experiences at the property. The Bradley Estate house and gardens will also be open for free tours and activities on Saturday, May 20th during The Trustees’ annual, statewide “Home Sweet Home” open house day, as well as throughout the summer for a dynamic line up of horticultural lectures and outdoor concerts.

The Bradley Estate has grown in popularity as a destination for community members and visitors since the previous owner, Eleanor Cabot Bradley, bequeathed it to The Trustees in 1991. Since it took ownership, The Trustees has worked to preserve and share the legacy of the Charles Platt-designed, turn-of-the-century estate and its surrounding landscape and gardens with the public, hosting year-round special events, weddings, and recreational opportunities.  

“The Bradley Estate is a gracious, culturally significant homestead enjoyed by thousands each year who come to experience its lovely gardens, acres of bucolic fields, and woodland trails,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees’ President and CEO who is celebrating her fifth year leading The Trustees in an important organizational transformation. “We are delighted to celebrate and share the Cabot and Bradley family legacies of design and gardening at this beautiful estate and showcase this magnificent, new garden for all to be inspired by.”

Located just 30 minutes outside of Boston, right off of Rt. 128 in Canton, it’s easy to feel as though you are stepping back in time to a bygone era when visiting the Bradley Estate.  Originally called Cherry Hill, the estate was designed for Dr. Arthur Tracy Cabot in 1912 by Charles Adams Platt, a prominent American artist, landscape architect, and architect of the "American Renaissance" movement who was renowned for creating impressive country home designs that were complemented by their gardens and natural surroundings. 

Platt designed the estate as a fully functional gentleman’s farm with the formal, latticed-wall garden located in the back of the home as the centerpiece.  After her husband’s death in 1912, Dr. Cabot’s wife, Susan retained ownership of the property until 1945 when her husband’s niece, Eleanor Cabot Bradley and her husband Ralph acquired the estate. An avid horticulturist, Eleanor and her husband worked to preserve the genteel gardening traditions of the property, adding a camellia house, greenhouse, an art studio, ponds and a wide variety of specimen ornamental trees and plantings.

Through an extensive, multi-million “Bringing Our Stories to Life” cultural campaign completed in 2016, The Trustees has been increasing its focus on restoring signature homes and gardens in its statewide collection and creating enhanced visitor services and experiences.  Last year the organization hired the talented landscape designer and horticulturist, Jeff Thompson to begin reinvigorating the landscape and gardens at the Bradley Estate.  Thompson led The Trustees into a collaboration with the nationally and internationally recognized Proven Winners horticulture brand--which grows and supplies the highest quality and top performing shrubs, perennials, and annuals available in the industry--to advise on and source the majority of the new garden’s plantings.  Having worked with Proven Winners in the past to create Signature Garden showcasing the entrance walkway to the Buffalo Botanical Garden in New York, Thompson has chosen a colorful palette of their tried and true flowers and shrubs that both complement the home and surrounding landscape and will flourish in the garden.  Plantings will range from an assortment of established favorites like The Supertunia® line of hybrid Petunias – featuring the award winning Supertunia Royal Velvet®, Black Lace™ Elderberry, and Fishnet Stockings Coleus, to brand new varieties like Green with Envy™ and After Midnight™ Sweet Potato Vines (from the Sweet Caroline Bewitched series), Storm Cloud Bluestar, and Angelface® Super Blue Summer Snapdragon.

“My vision for ‘Violet Riot: Bradley in Bloom’ is to honor Eleanor Cabot Bradley’s philosophy that gardening is all about experimentation and being willing to constantly reinvent by adding a splash of color and liveliness to the more restrained formality of the current garden,” says Thompson.  “It brings me joy to enhance this magnificent garden with a more colorful palette and carry on the legacy of the Bradley’s passion for gardening at this special place.”

Working with the Proven Winners team, Thompson has chosen to complement the more traditional mix of rhododendron, azalea, and dogwoods which bloom around the garden in the spring with a floriferous mix of annual and perennial flowering plants and shrubs that bloom from late spring into early fall so there will always be color. Thompson chose to limit the plantings to purple and chartreuse which mimic the iconic colors of The Trustees’ new design palette for its cultural sites and take advantage of the abundance of contrasting plant material available from Proven Winners in this color spectrum. 

“We are thrilled to be working with The Trustees to provide plants for this exciting new display garden,” says Tom Ewing, of Proven Winners’ Landscape Program Development.  “Our plants undergo extensive trials in multiple geographic locations and are selected only if they perform to and continue to meet our very high standards. We look forward to watching them bloom and thrive at the Bradley Estate.”

For more information on “Violet Riot: Bradley in Bloom” and all the events and programs planned for the estate, visit

More about The Trustees and its gardens

The Trustees shares and cares for some of Massachusetts’ most beautiful and culturally significant gardens and landscapes, all of which are open to the public most of the year.  Its collection of public gardens range from the playful Fletcher Steele and Mabel Choate designed gardens at Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark in Stockbridge, to the Olmsted Brothers and Arthur Shurcliff-designed grand gardens of Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich. Trustees’ public gardens are a living documentary of diverse Massachusetts horticulture and design traditions, blending great scenic beauty, important ecological habitat, and nationally renowned buildings and gardens with plantings that range from rare native species to one-of-a-kind cultivars.  Unlike traditional public gardens, The Trustees provide visitor experiences at these sites that convey the delicate balance between the designed and the natural, between introduced and indigenous plantings, and the impacts of people on place, inviting them to engage, to learn, to volunteer and to form a deeper appreciation for their beauty and preservation.  To learn more about how to explore and experience The Trustees’ magnificent collections of gardens around the state, visit


The Trustees preserves and cares for some of Massachusetts’ most treasured natural, scenic, and historic sites for public use and enjoyment. Founded in 1891 and celebrating our 125th Anniversary from May 2016-2017, The Trustees is the first land preservation nonprofit of its kind in the world and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation organization. With a passion for protecting the irreplaceable for everyone, forever, The Trustees is focusing its renewed mission on connecting more people of all ages and interests to outdoor recreation, culture, agriculture, and healthy, active living using its 116 diverse properties, community spaces, and over 5,000 annual programs as a powerful and compelling platform.  Located within minutes of every resident and visited by 1.75 million people in 2016, Trustees properties span more than 27,000 acres across the state – from working farms, landscaped and urban gardens, and community parks, to barrier beaches, forests, campgrounds, inns and historic sites, many of which are National Historic Landmarks. 

A worldwide model and active leader in land conservation, The Trustees is the largest private holder of conservation restrictions of any entity in the state, overseeing the protection of more than 20,000 acres, and working with community’s partners to protect additional land, totaling over 25,000 acres to date. Also leader in the local, sustainable food movement, The Trustees operates five working farms with CSA programs, holds over 2,000 acres of farmland, owns and manages 56 community gardens in Boston, and is a founding partner of the Boston Public Market, the first all locally-sourced indoor market of its kind in the nation, where it runs all educational programming at the Market’s demonstration KITCHEN and is one of 40 on-site vendors.  Funded by our nearly 125,000 members and supported by many generous donors, partners, and volunteers, The Trustees invites all to get out, get inspired, and find magic in the moment through a Trustees program or property:

Proven Winners is the leading plant brand in the world.  Because only the best, most unique, high performing plants are sold under the brand, Proven Winners gives home gardeners and landscapers a brand name they can depend on and trust.  What separates Proven Winners is their pre-introduction testing processes.  No other plants go through the same rigorous selection process, which takes 2 to 3 years and occurs at facilities throughout the world.  Of the thousands of cultivars tested each year, only a very few will earn the Proven Winners name.  The Proven Winners brand includes the very best in annuals, perennials, and flowering shrubs. 

Contact Information

Kristi Perry
Director of Public Relations

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The Trustees is a 501c3 nonprofit organization
Est. 1891