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Just Me & The Bees at Armstrong-Kelley Park in Osterville

OSTERVILLE – This is the time of year when all manner of flora are just starting to bloom, peeking out with colors of pinks and purples, fat blossoms just waiting for the sun to hit.

At Armstrong-Kelley Park in Osterville, it was just me and the bees the other day. I was seeking tulips and found them in fat resplendence.

The bees, thankfully, were concentrating on other flowers.

Strolling through the gardens, signs identify many of the plants, the sassafras tree, button bush, Chinese dogwood, Chinese holly and dawn redwood trees. Not to mention the ever-present “Polus Telefonus”—it took me a minute to get the joke.

The Cape Cod Horticultural Society bills Armstrong-Kelley Park as Cape Cod’s oldest (1930) and largest (8.5 acres) privately owned park. It is open free to the public.

What I like best are the moments of whimsy and poignancy along the trail, like the Woodland Walkway, subtitled A Garden of Verses, in which a boardwalk takes you past a dozen childhood poems, some by famous writers and some by Sunday scribblers.

The pathway leads to a play area perfect for youngsters and featuring Liam’s Train, a cedar replica perfectly sized for playing conductor, and a mahogany Teddy bear.

The wooden carvings by Reed Hayden serve as a memorial to Liam O’Neil, a two-year old who died in an accident in 2005.

Further on is the fish pond, which a sign notes was “constructed by grumpy old men.” A donation box advises: “Fish are full. Please feed gift box.”

A forked path offers two options: Take a Walk or Take a Hike. The walk—the right fork—passes the Heather Hillside, the Rotary Rhododendron Walk and even, the Fairy House Forest. Dog fanciers can stroll through Buddy’s Walkway, a place where people can place a plaque to memorialize favorite pets.

Looping back to the park’s entrance, I pause at the Bleeding Heart plant with its plump pinkish red hearts dripping in full bloom—a spring treat.


For more photos from across Cape Cod, see Scenic Cape

About the author

Laura M. Reckford

Laura M. Reckford is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. She has been a reporter and editor on Cape Cod for more than 20 years in magazines, newspapers and radio. She has also authored numerous Frommer's Travel Guide editions on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

1 Comment

  • Although a long-time 02536er, I was unaware of this little Osterville gem & will now be sure to visit. Well-written article (especially “fat resplendence”).

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