Successful Concert: Atwater-Donnelly with Cathy Clasper-Torch

Atwater-Donnelly with Cathy Clasper-Torch opened the Botanical Center’s first outdoor summer concert series with its graceful harmonies enlivened with Aubrey Atwater’s warm remarks. The Center’s rose garden was the perfect backdrop for the music and for the admiring audience, which arrayed itself on the small hill in front of the garden. The trio performed a wide selection of American and Celtic folk songs on a wide selection of instruments, including a mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, fiddle, and harmonica, and added to the sheer pleasure of the evening with an introduction to myriad kinds of clogging.

Next concert: Sunday, July 19, 6-8PM, Superchief Trio.  Food truck: Fugo (Asian-Latin Fusion).

Bodacious Bonitos

Through July 23 the Botanical Center is showcasing Bodacious Bonitos, the fanciful fish created by Art Drive artists and friends as part of the Open Studio tour on August 8 and 9 in the coastal villages of Dartmouth and Westport, MA. Come inside the Conservatory to enjoy our koi pond as well as the art installation. Bid on the bonitos (not the koi) at

Lunch and Learn Series

All are invited to join URI Master Gardeners in the Tuesday Lunch and Learn classes and the Wednesday Plant and Garden Management Education series. The Lunch and Learn classes are held the second Tuesday of each month from noon to 1PM, the Garden Management series the third Wednesday of each month from noon to 1PM. Enrollment is free with paid admission to the Botanical Center. You can pre-register by calling 785-9450, ext.250. Bring your lunch and a beverage. Upcoming Lunch and Learn programs include Peony Envy (June 9) and Latin in the Garden (July 14). Upcoming Garden Management classes include Uncommon Flowering Plants and Hydrangeas (June 17) and Weed ID (July 22).   

Winter Concert Series Finale: Becky Chace Band

Becky Chacejpg

A snow storm delayed the third and last performance in the Botanical Center’s winter concert series, but on April 12 the Becky Chace Band brought spring’s warmth to a delighted audience and banished all thoughts of the harsh cold. With versatility and energy, the band performed country, blues and pop, and Chace’s rich and self-assured vocals gave the entire act a deep resonance. 

Next concerts--First-ever outdoors performances at the Botanical Center:

July 12, Atwater-Donnelly Trio with Cathy-Clasper Torch
July 19, Superchief Trio
July 26, French Roast 

Photo by Sue Dunn.

Art Meets Art

Each Friday, painters gather at the Botanical Center to create their visions of the Center’s floral splendors. On this particular Friday, a painter painted next to three ceramic vessels, part of the Botanica Ceramica exhibition, an extraordinary melding of art and nature. The exhibition drew more than 3800 visitors to the Center. As one visitor remarked: the exhibition was “an incredible display of the beauty that nature and people can make.” The exhibition closed March 29.  


Botanica Ceramica at the Botanical Center


Botanica Ceramica, an amazing ceramics show curated by Kate Blacklock, a Providence artist, opened at the Botanical Center on Thursday March 12. Many of the works of art were created by the sculptors after they visited the Center and are site specific to the Center.  The tropical plants in the Botanical Center provide a spectacular backdrop for the installations.  Under News and Events on this website check out the article that appeared in the Providence Journal on Saturday March 15 complete with photos and descriptions of many of the works. Visit soon. It ends on March 29.


Aurea Ensemble Concert

The snow was falling outside but inside the Botanical Center more than 100 people enthusiastically enjoyed Aurea Ensemble’s performance of “Darwin at Sea”.

Next concert: March 8, 3-5 pm with the International String Trio playing jazz, popular, classical, and world music (French, Russian, Spanish, Jewish, Gypsy and Irish).

First Annual Botanical Center Photo Contest Winners

Best in Show - Dance of the Fern Debra Boucher

Best in Show - Dance of the Fern
Debra Boucher

Enjoy scrolling through these winning photos taken at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park. Hunt's Photo and Video and the Photographic Society of Rhode Island joined the Botanical Center Conservancy in sponsoring the first annual Botanical Center Photo Contest. All photos were taken at the Botanical Center during the summer of 2014.

The First Annual Botanical Center Photo Contest and Exhibition

Best in show

The first annual Photo Contest and Exhibition closed on October 19 with the display of photos taken by the contestants. The Mediterranean Room of the Botanical Center was filled with close to 100 photos from over 40 contestants. The beautiful setting of the Botanical Center was enhanced by the work of the photographers, many of whom had spent the summer months enjoying the indoor and outdoor gardens of the Botanical Center, working to get just the right shot.

There were three divisions in the contest: General Public, Photo Club members, and Juniors. Over twenty prizes were awarded including, to name a few, Best photo of an insect, Best photo of a tropical plant, Best photo showing use of lighting, and Best black and white photo. First, second, and third place winners were selected in each of the divisions and the top prize of a $500 gift certificate to Hunt’s Photo and Video was awarded to Best in Show.

Hunt’s Photo and Video and the Photographic Society of Rhode Island sponsored the event and they will return as sponsors for the 2015 Photo Contest. Expect to read about a launch date in the spring of 2015.

A Successful Launch Day: Photo Contest, June 22, 2014

Tree Peony seed pods

Tree Peony seed pods



We enjoyed beautiful weather. Yarrow (Achillea), butterfly weed (Asclepsias tuberosa), Campanulas, and Salvia, were among the perennials blooming in the summer garden. Baptisia and tree peonies, while done blooming, displayed their interesting seed pods. Coreopsis, monarda, and astilbe were among the perennials in the early stage of blooming. Hunt's Photo and Video, the Photographic Society of Rhode Island (PSRI), and Sigma Lens set up tables early and were ready to receive visitors at the 10 a.m. opening. PSRI offered a well attended seminar on plant photography. Sigma Lens offered a wide variety of interchangeable lenses for the public to “test drive.” Hunt's Photo and PSRI members kept busy answering questions and sharing knowledge. URI Master Gardeners staffed an information kiosk focusing on what was blooming and Botanical Center docents led tours of the indoor and outdoor gardens.

Registration remains open throughout the summer. Sign up at any time using this registration form (PDF Document).

Be inspired by and enjoy the wonderful Botanical Center gardens at Roger Williams Park.

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed

Baptisia seed pods

Baptisia seed pods

Spring Concert Series Concludes Successfully

The Botanical Center concert series concluded on April 6 with the Atwater-Donnelly Trio and Cathy Clasper-Torch leading an enthusiastic audience of all ages in American and Celtic folk songs and dancing. Each concert in the series took full advantage of the Center's unique interior space, with its high ceilings and lush foliage. The  music flowed easily and smoothly throughout the Center's Mediterranean Room with the plants absorbing sound and eliminating echoes.  

The next concert series is scheduled for November/December. Please consider joining the Botanical Center Conservancy. Your membership helps make possible concerts in a setting that is a treat for the eyes and a salve for the spirit.


Photos by Sue Dunn.

Spring Concert Series Success

The remarkable Superchief Trio inaugurated the first-ever concert series at the Botanical Center on Sunday, March 16. With outside temperatures in the 30s, the delighted audience basked in tropical heat in the Center's Mediterranean Room. 

The second concert, featuring the Magnolia Cajun Band, will be on March 23, and the Atwater-Donnelly Trio with Cathy Clasper-Torch will perform on April 6. 

Photos by Kathy Schnabel.