Fuller Gardens: Seacoast gem provides peace, quiet

Alvan Fuller created a garden of love in North Hampton for his wife, Viola

Story by Judy Palm, photos by Sue Kane

Pathway in the garden
Having lived in Hampton for four years we have driven by the sign for Fuller Gardens many times, each time thinking “we should stop in here and look around.”  

It wasn’t until early August when we had friends for the weekend that we finally took the plunge. Fuller Gardens are located across Willow Avenue from Union Chapel, just off of Route 1-A and we spent a wonderful summer Sunday morning walking around enjoying the blossoms and fragrances. The gardens were developed by Governor Alvan T. Fuller for his wife Viola. Governor Fuller, who was born in Massachusetts and active in politics there, had many interests and was widely traveled. They owned a summer home in North Hampton, Runnymede-by-the-Sea. Viola loved flowers and they both traveled widely. Alvan created the garden behind their home, lined it with tall hedges and from the second floor bedroom of their home Viola could look upon her garden. The gardens are overflowing with fountains and statuary Alvan collected in his travels and with the flowers, especially roses, that Viola loved.

I spoke with Jaime Colen who has worked for the Fuller Foundation for 18 years and been director for ten. His enthusiasm for his work is a joy to behold and he was very helpful in identifying the flowers and plants in the photographs. There are over 1700 Rose bushes, a perennial garden, a Japanese garden with a Koi pond, more tropical plants and cactus then you will see anywhere near here and many benches for sitting and enjoying the flowers and fragrances, peace and quiet all around you.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Broadway (Hybrid Tea)

Glowing Peace (Hybrid Tea)

Love (Hybrid Tea)

Japanese Garden

Koi Pond  

Waterfall in Koi Pond

Various Plants


Morning Glory

Veronica Spicata (Speedwell)


Border along Conservatory


Hosta Hedge


Park Princess Dahlias and Coleus

Fountains and Statuary

Cherubs English early 19th century

Marble Woman at Reflecting Pool  Donated by Lydia Fuller Bottomley  Alvan and Viola's daughter

Three Seasons  

Canna Lilies and Gomphrena (Strawberry  Fields)

Lead and marble Statuary from an old fireplace

Tropical Plants and Cactus

Bird of Paradise

Staghorn Fern


Bonzai (Cedar)

If you decide to take a stroll through the gardens, they are open from 10 to 5:30 every day from mid-May to mid-October. Oh, did I mention they have a gift shop with many different and interesting objects related to gardening and flowers? The volunteers at the gift shop are very helpful. Not much time is left for this season, but put it on your list for next spring and summer. The entrance fee is minimal and you will get hours of enjoyment. They hold a Mother’s Day flower sale that I understand shouldn’t be missed. Jaime assures me that the roses are in bloom all season. There is always something to see and the feeling of peace and quiet is overwhelming. Visit their web site at www.fullergardens.org to learn more.

A few more pictures for good measure

View to the ocean from front of garden

View of front garden

Japanese Garden and Lantern  

Pennasaine Fountain - English

Entrance to side garden

Go to Letters in November,2008 and October,2008

September, 2008