Charbrook is located on 100 acres of the historic Stimson dairy farm and successional hay fields in central Massachusetts. Situated at the foothills of Wachusett Mountain, the site is a diverse mosaic of New England landscape typologies. In 2003, Stephen Stimson Associates began to think about this landscape in a new way: as a testing ground and a way to integrate research into our practice.
The firm established Charbrook Nursery for native tree and shrub cultivation. Low-lying wetlands, wet meadows and successional fields, and glacial drumlins offer a rich environment for siting selected species in response to the farm’s micro-ecosystems. Our design projects benefit from this unique knowledge of planted form, growth and habit.
Since the establishment of the nursery, a long-term master plan for Charbrook Farm has been undertaken. The Massachusetts Mid-State Trail runs through the nursery hayfields, and connects the farm trails to the Audubon Sanctuary at nearby Wachusett Meadows. Historic stonewalls are being rebuilt, and an agricultural arboretum and demonstration plots for indigenous plant communities are a work in progress. The re-introduction of livestock and grazing will support the management of the meadows. Charbrook is a project that has the potential to transform old farmland with new growth, form a partnership with the profession of landscape architecture, and become a new model for living and working within the New England landscape.