A Hidden Wonderland: The Lee Memorial Garden

Tucked away in a wooded area of New Canaan, Connecticut is a spot so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s still relatively unknown. The Olive and George Lee Memorial Garden is a 2.7 acre wonderland, boasting an extensive plant and flower collection that sprawls out underneath towering trees.

The garden dates all the way back to 1940, when a man by the name of George Lee planted some azaleas he had received as a housewarming gift. The accountant-come-amateur-horticulturist would spend the next few decades collecting plants and sharing what he learned with fellow gardeners. He also made his garden open at all times for anyone who wanted to visit it.

When Lee passed on in 1978, he left his creation to the Garden Center of New Canaan. Now known as the New Canaan Beautification League, the non-profit continues to steward the garden. And, in the spirit of its former owner’s generosity, it remains accessible to the public.

Though the garden is open year-round, it’s most visited in the spring, when the azalea and rhododendron are in full bloom. The narrow meandering footpaths are also lined with Spanish bluebell, mayapple, primrose, wild geranium, and Lily of the Valley. For a full list, check out the Beautification League’s garden calendar.

Visit the Lee Memorial Garden

The Olive and George Lee Memorial Garden is easily accessible by car. You can also get to it by Metro-North and rideshare. It’s just a 5-minute drive from New Canaan Station on the New Canaan line. Coming from the city? Take the New Haven line from Grand Central or Harlem-125th St to Stamford (about 1 hour). At Stamford, change to the New Canaan line, then get off at New Canaan (about 20 mins).

Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
Admission: Free

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