Gardens in Sconset on Nantucket Island

Just north of the village of Sconset, Sankaty Head Light is an iconic Nantucket sight.

In mid-September, we traveled to Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, US, to attend the wedding of my godson.  Like the coast of Maine, Nantucket has absolutely gorgeous gardens everywhere you look.  However, the most beautiful gardens we found were in the town of Sconset (formally Siasconset) on the east coast of the island.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


Sconset beach is empty in mid-September, and there was plenty of parking.  It is so beautiful that we went there twice during our long weekend on Nantucket and spent hours walking the shore.

Sconset was settled in the 17th century as a fishing village with many of the cottages dating from the 18th and 19th century when there was a whaling station located there.   In the late 1800s it started to become a destination for summer visitors, but homes were built in the style of the original fishing shacks.  Today, although the historic architecture has been preserved, the “fishing shacks” sell for between $1.5 and 3 million.


A view of the village of Sconset from the beach.

The little village of Sconset is overrun with tourists in the summer, but in mid-September it was empty.  Here are some of the lovely gardens we found there:


a path through the village “paved” with oyster shells


A typical Sconset cottage featuring Nantucket style gray shingles with white trim.



Roses on trellises adorned many roofs, and plants like the hydrangea in the photo were chosen to complement architectural features like this pink doorway.







This garden was particularly beautiful, especially the lichen on the fence.






Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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14 Responses to “Gardens in Sconset on Nantucket Island”

  1. In the 3rd and 4th from the last photos, was that climbing hydrangea on the front of the cottage? I would worry that the trellis wouldn’t be enough to keep them from attaching to the shingles. Your pictures are stunning! TY!

    • Anne, The vine on the house with the rose colored hydrangeas on either side of the front door looks like climbing hydrangea or Japanese climbing hydrangea (Schizophragma), which is a little lighter. I am not sure what it would do to the shingles, but it looks like it has been there a while. I read a study that said vines actually protect the houses and trees to which they attach themselves, not sure if that applies here. Carolyn

  2. Michael Kammerdiener Says:

    Carolyn,   Beautiful pictures, as always.     Michael  

  3. Stephanie Says:

    Just lovely! Thanks SO much for sharing these beautiful beach homes.

  4. Ronnie Giarraputo Says:

    May be your most beautiful post…and that’s saying something!

  5. Loved the pictures. The hostas and ferns I purchased in the spring from you all made it through the summer and am looking forward to next season and them getting larger. Thanks.

    • Steve, Glad to hear that your plants are doing well. It was a deceptive summer with so much rain until the middle of August or so to make us complacent and then hot and dry. Even with the rain we had last week, the soil is so dry that I am very thankful it is raining today. Carolyn

  6. I really loved looking at your extraordinarily beautiful photos of Nantucket gardens! Reminded me of how much I love that island.
    Thank you!

  7. It has been several decades since I was last on Nantucket, and I was not a gardener then. Seeing these beautiful garden scenes makes me want to go back.

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