Campus & Community

Hidden Spaces: Secret garden

2 min read

Behind Lamont lies a little-known treasure

Walking into the Yard from Massachusetts Avenue, keeping Wigglesworth to the right, visitors come to a wrought-iron fence with a gate. Here, tucked behind Lamont Library, lies a little treasure called Dudley Garden.

Created in 1949 to honor Thomas Dudley, governor of the Bay Colony and a founder of Harvard, the garden is open April through October, daylight hours only.

-Rose Lincoln

An overview of Dudley Garden from the Ginsberg Reading Room inside Lamont Library.
The College Library and Faculty of Arts and Sciences restored Dudley Garden as part of Lamont Library’s 50th anniversary in 1999.
Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture Michael Van Valkenburgh contributed to the restoration with a design that emphasizes native plants, like this row of trees to line the entrance walkway.
Gerry Ambroise walks the garden — shared with birds, squirrels, and bunnies ― with Annielly Camargo, a student in Crimson Summer Academy.
Created in 1949, the garden honored Thomas Dudley, the Bay Colony governor and the father of poet Anne Bradstreet.
A swath of ivy blankets a shady area near the entrance.
The inscription detailing Thomas Dudley’s accomplishments is all that remains of the original Dudley Garden gate.
Research librarians Fred Burchstead and Anna Esty enjoy lunch in Dudley Garden.
According to a spring 2000 Harvard Magazine article, during the revolutionary days of 1969, this Massachusetts Avenue entrance to the Dudley Garden was closed “on account of various naughtinesses occurring within.”
A gnarly tree trunk and a browned autumn leaf share ground space.
William J.H. Andrewes, former curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard, designed this bluestone sundial. Andrewes spoke at the garden’s unveiling in 1999, and invited guests into “the peace and tranquility of the garden, where time is measured in shadows.”
The sky turns azure as the sun sets above the garden.