Belmont Victory Gardens At Rock Meadow

The Belmont Victory Gardens are one of the largest and oldest continually active community gardens in the Boston area. They cover two acres of land, with 137 plots ranging in size from 12 by 12 feet to 50 by 50 feet.

The Gardens are located in Rock Meadow Conservation Area along Mill Street, which spans 70 acres of meadow, wetlands, streams and woods. This area is part of the Western Greenway, a corridor of undeveloped green space linking Belmont, Waltham, and Lexington. Rock Meadow has been designated by the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife as “an important grassland conservation area” that provides significant habitat for plants and animals. As a part of this Greenway, the crops and flowers grown in the Gardens benefit from and support the rich biodiversity of the area.

Mission of the Victory Gardens

The mission of the Belmont Victory Gardens is to provide accessible space for gardeners that is part of an active, supportive, gardening community. We are also a contributor to Rock Meadow conservation and committed to the education of gardeners on sustainable organic methods.

How to Apply for a Victory Garden Plot

Returning gardeners may complete a 2024 Registration Form and mail or hand deliver it with your check payment to the Town of Belmont, Attn: Mary Trudeau, Belmont Conservation Agent, 19 Moore Street–Homer Building Belmont, MA 02478. To be put on the waitlist for a garden plot, contact Mary Trudeau at or 617-993-2667.

How are plots allocated?

Returning gardeners who want to switch plots have seniority and are granted first choice of any available gardens in the spring. This is done in the order in which requests to swap were received.

After the swaps are complete, new gardeners from the top of the wait-list select from the remaining available plots.

How much does it cost to rent a plot?

Garden fees are decided each Spring but have remained at $75 for a number of years.

Is water supplied to the gardens?

Yes, water taps are spaced throughout the gardens where hoses can be attached. Water is turned on in early May and turned off in early October. Water usage is paid out of the garden fees.

Garden Rules & Information

Rules and etiquette enable community gardens like ours to function & thrive. For more information on the Belmont Victory Garden, please read the 2023 Garden Handbook

Contact Us

To be put on the plot waitlist, contact:
Mary Trudeau
Conservation Agent, Town of Belmont
19 Moore Street, Homer Building
Belmont, MA 02478
Tel: 617-993-2667


Rock Meadow is located along Mill Street in Belmont, between Trapelo Road on the south and Winter Street on the north. To the east of the meadow is McLean Open Space, and to the south is Beaver Brook North Reservation. Paths begin at the parking lot.

The meadow is not actually designated on maps, but the general area can be found by Googling “Beaver Brook Reservation.” Just north of the reservation is a small residential area, and just north of that is an unmarked area that is Rock Meadow.

By bus and on foot: Take the #73 bus from Harvard Square to Waverley Square; walk 2 blocks west to Mill Street, turn right, and walk about 1 mile to Rock Meadow. (Note: There is no sidewalk along Mill Street.)

History of Rock Meadow

Ancient times

Rock Meadow was created by retreating glaciers about 10,000 years ago. It was maintained as a meadow for hundreds if not thousands of years by the native people of this area, the Pequosette Indians, who periodically burned the meadow to attract and hunt game.

Colonial Period (17th to 19th century)

The Eaton, Brown, and  Kendall families arrived in the area during the 17th and 18th centuries and were the first white people to settle along Beaver Brook, which runs through Rock Meadow. Over the next 250 years, they and their descendants pastured animals in the meadow and operated wool, lumber, and grain mills on Beaver Brook. Today, the millpond, the 1750 Eaton House, and 1819 David Kendall House (all located south of the present day meadow) are the only legacies of those times.

McLean Farm (1895 to 1969)

In 1895, McLean Hospital (founded in 1811 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and the first mental hospital in the United States) purchased 100 acres of land, including Rock Meadow, and relocated to Belmont. In addition to its campus of buildings, the hospital also created a farm that provided most of the food needed for the live-in patients and staff. In 1927, the facilities included a farmhouse, stone crusher, cow barn, dairy barn, silo, slaughterhouse, pump house, greenhouse, two piggeries, and two stables. But by the 1940s, so many men had been called to the war effort that the farm was shut down for lack of farmhands. After the war, food production and distribution changed so much in the region that the farm never reopened. In 1969, the hospital sold the land to the Town of Belmont. An abandoned dairy barn, located just south of the meadow, is the only remnant of the McLean Farm.

The Victory Gardens

Belmont’s community gardens were first established during World War II and known as victory gardens. Victory gardens were part of a nationwide effort promoted by the federal government to ease food shortages and boost national morale. At their peak, they produced up to 40 percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States during the war.

Belmont’s victory gardens were originally located near the town center on Concord Avenue at the site of the current high school campus. In 1969, the site was earmarked for athletic fields, and the gardens were moved to the Town’s new conservation land at Rock Meadow.

During the 1970s, a time of “back to the land” and “grow your own,” community gardening underwent a nationwide renaissance.  The United States also experienced its first oil crisis, and gasoline and food prices spiked. Community gardens sprang up everywhere, in vacant inner city lots and suburbs like Belmont.

In the 1980s, the oil crisis was a thing of the past, career building replaced gardening, and interest in community gardens waned. By the end of the 1990s, many community gardens across the country had been bulldozed for other uses. The victory gardens at Rock Meadow were protected from that fate, although more and more plots became abandoned. This was partly because they were in conservation land, and partly because they were literally being grown over, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, out of site from most people except the remaining gardeners.

But around 2003 things began to change, first for Rock Meadow, then for the victory gardens. Deborah Hartman, resident of the Kendall Gardens neighborhood adjoining Rock Meadow, brought together some of her neighbors and other citizens in Belmont to share their concerns about the gradual loss of the meadow to reforestation. They formed a citizens group, the Friends of Rock Meadow, and for two years raised money to help pay for mowing. Then in 2005, they partnered with the Belmont Conservation Commission and raised over $75,000 in matching grants to create a long term management plan.

At about the same time, a surge of interest in the victory gardens began. In spring 2007, there was a threefold increase in applications for garden plots over the previous year; all vacant plots were assigned. In spring 2008, more plots were created to accommodate the demand. In spring 2009, there was a waiting list of 50 people and it continues to grow. 

This overview was written by Victoria Thatcher for The Belmont Conservation Commission. The BCC is grateful to the following people for providing information:  Curtis Adams, Richard Betts, Terry Bragg, Deborah Hartman, Mary Trudeau, and Margaret Velie. Thanks also to the Waltham Land Trust for giving us permission to reproduce their map of the Western Greenway.

Other Belmont Gardens Open to the Public

Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary is a property of the Mass Audubon Society and is located on Juniper Road. The terrace of Habitat's 1914 Georgian-style house leads to formal gardens, a rose garden, and a spacious lawn surrounded by flowering trees and shrubs. The house and gardens are set within an 87-acre wildlife sanctuary of meadows, ponds, and woods.

The Woodland Garden at the Belmont Public Library, maintained by The Belmont Garden Club, is a small woodland garden at the Belmont Public Library on Concord Avenue near the Center. It features native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers and has benches for sitting and relaxing.



American Community Gardening Association has a database of community gardens across the United States, plus many links related to gardening, urban agriculture, and sustainable food.

The Trustees is the largest nonprofit owner of community gardens in Boston, with 56 under Trustees management, totaling 15 acres across eight Boston neighborhoods: Dorchester, East Boston, the Fenway, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and the South End. They help to coordinate activities related to all of the city’s 175 community gardens, touching more than 18,000 individuals and families annually.

2023 Belmont Victory Gardens Plot Map

2023 Belmont Victory Garden Handbook