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Thousands of blooms and a new garden, Cuban art from two centuries past, a tour of antiquity, and an inaugural fine arts symposium highlight April at R.W. Norton Art Gallery, where admission and events are all free to the public.

In spring, visitors at this museum ramble through 24 galleries that showcase sevencenturies of European and American art, but also spend time outside as well. They delightin walking trails winding across 40 acres of grounds and botanical gardens abounding with seasonal color. Tall, spreading evergreen azaleas, mostly of Southern Indica hybrids, bloom in white, pink, and red, while deciduous azaleas add yellow and orange hues of the sunset.

Color also abounds in the Norton’s new Maple Ridge Garden. This 500-foot-long linear landscape gracefully follows the contours of the botanical gardens’ north ridge. A flagstone path curls through it, where on each side you’ll see aucuba, camellias, daphne, Florida anise, Japanese maples, Lenten roses, and many more plants.

“We’re really proud of Maple Ridge Garden,” comments Kip Dehart, gardens director. “We began work on it over a year ago, but we’ll never really finish it. We’ll always try to improve it, freshen it, and help the plants grow taller and fuller.”

Events for the month also unfold in the gardens on April 2 with “First Saturday Tour”. That day Jennifer DeFratis, tour and special events coordinator, guides her Greco-Roman Outdoor Tour from the lobby to the gardens. There she pauses at plants, pools, outdoor sculptures, even stones that touch on Greco-Roman history, as well as figure in ancient myths and legends.