The Humble Innkeepers’ Garden

Cape Cod Herb Garden Basil

By Pat O’Connell

Photography By Pat O’Connell

Cape Cod Herb Garden Basil
This past year I chose some miniature basil along with some more traditional verities.

There are many locations on the Palmer House Inn’s property where I enjoy spending time, however, without a doubt, our herb garden is my favorite. When we first bought the inn the basic design of the garden had been laid out. There were eight four by four foot plots that had been outlined with cobblestones by the previous owner.  Some of them had been planted with perennials that were well established. There also were two rectangular granite posts at the entrance. However, the entire garden had been neglected for several years. It just looked like a large tangle of leaves and stems. I was not sure where to begin but over the years with lots of trial and error, the design has evolved. I have been to lectures and done some reading and had advice from knowledgeable friends and guests.

The choice of the name for the garden goes back to a time when I had the opportunity to travel in China with one of our daughters. One of the most beautiful places we visited was “The Humble Administrator’s Garden”. It is located in the city of Suzhou and is a miniature garden. It is said to be one of the most beautiful gardens in China. I decided to name our garden in memory of that wonderful trip.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guest rooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring the workshops of our Cape Cod craftsmen, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

June’s Guest Reviews

6.1 Dear Bill and Pat, Thank you so much for a wonderful surprise for my husband. Our 12th anniversary was spent here an you went above and beyond to make our stay romantic and comfortable. We will be back! Thanks so much,
Erin and Tom

6.5 Thank you for a lovely, very special stay at your beautiful inn. The welcome, preparation of rooms, and warm reception were memorable. Thank you! – Leila

6.5 Once again, a lovely stay enjoying such splendid hospitality. “Palmer House” ranks “1st class” without any competition! Bill and Pat will always hold the winning ticket. So, after this – our 3rd visit, we shall now look forward to our fourth. – Dawn and Richard

6.7 There is ho better place to spend a birthday than at the Palmer House Inn. My wife and I have been coming here every year, going on year six. Always relaxing and always a pleasure! See you later this year and into next! – Robert and Lisa-Anne

6.9 Dear Pat and Bill, once again we are back to celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary. We look forward to this trip every year. It is our perfect getaway, even with the chilly weather it was perfect. Thank you for your gracious hospitality. Everything was perfect and the food was delicious. Hope to see you again next year. Have a great summer. Stay well. God’s blessings. – Pat and Paul

6.13 Thank you Bill and Pat for our wonderful stay here in your beautiful inn. Great to get away from it all, we had a very relaxing time! Many thanks, Audrey and Derek

6.14 Hi Pat and Bill, What a beautiful home you have created here. The room was so comfortable, the sheets so soft. We enjoyed the baked French toast with apricots, and the coffee was very good. We wish you both continued success. We now have the perfect getaway spot in Falmouth. – Susan and John

6.15 Bill and Pat, Thanks so much for your warm hospitality and making our wedding weekend so special! Every aspect of your bed and breakfast was wonderful. We really enjoyed our time in Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard as well. Too bad the weather could not last for our ceremony on Monday, but mother nature cannot be controlled. Thanks again and looking forward to our next stay in the future! – Rob and Cara

6.20 Dear Pat and Bill, Serendipity! I have so enjoyed my stay at the Palmer Inn. You, and your lovely staff have looked after me so well. The food was “out of this world” and the room was so comfortable. Thank you all. I hope to return again next year. – Jan

6.20 Bill and Pat, Thank you so much for another great stay at your inn. Everything was perfect – as always! See you next year! – Bob and Peg

6.19 What a wonderful spot! Loved my room – all the special touches – perfect. I will be back this time next year! – Karen

6.7 Dear Bill and Pat, my husband surprised me with this weekend getaway for my 50th birthday. Such a gift to have someplace so special, so close to home. We parked our car when we arrived and never had to get into it again until we left. We walked and took our bikes everywhere. Every tidbit of breakfast was amazing, and not to mention the goodies in the afternoon and the most delicious lemonade I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste. After this weekend, I feel 50 years young! Thank you. – Mary and Kevin

6.24 Thanks Bill and Pat, the last few days were outstanding. – Brian and Bette

6.14 Dear Bill and Pat, Thank you for another wonderful night at your inn. We so enjoyed your breakfast and bike use. Special memories! Thanks again. See you next year! – JoAnn and Dick

6.15 Thank you for letting us enjoy your lovely “Palmer House Inn.” It exceeded our expectations and we had a great time. – David and Caroline

6.19 Had such a good time at this charming B&B that we already made reservations for next year. Thank you for all the personal touches. – Sue

6.21 Dear Pat and Bill, There’s an expression “Can’t wait ’til next year” and this is always the feeling when it comes time to go back home after another tremendous stay here with both of you. For Elsy and I, our stay up here on the Cape starts and finishes only at the Palmer House. Again, thank you as always, stay well, and we always look forward to next summer here at your place. Thanks again, Elsy and Steve

6.27 Dear Pat and Bill, Thank you for pampering us during our anniversary stay at your lovely inn. Comfy bed! – I’m buying some linens to take home! And wonderful food – thanks for the pancake recipe! We hadn’t stayed in Falmouth during previous stops on Cape Cod. We were delighted with all it had to offer. It will certainly be our “home base” during the next visit. Sincerely, Joan and Peter

6.28 Came to the Cape to celebrate our nephew’s wedding and an extended weekend to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. The location was perfect. We explored, relaxed, ate (too much), and enjoyed the comforts of the inn. Thank you! And thank you for the champagne and chocolates. They were a very nice surprise. We had a memorable and romantic anniversary thanks to you. – Jeff and Kristen

November & December Guest Reviews

11.6 Thank you for a wonderful stay. We’ve never had accommodations with so much good will and hospitality. And you rooms are so well equipped – not lacking for a thing!! Our daughter had a wonderful wedding and we are all appreciative of all the small touches that made it possible. – Bonnie and Jim

11.13 After a very difficult two years, with the loss of my father and very good friend, we needed to get away and reconnect. The Palmer House was just what we needed! This inn and our room was more than we had hoped for. Thank you for your hospitality! We truly enjoyed our stay and we are looking forward to another stay next year! – Lisa and Michael

11.13 Beer/Bed/Breakfast Weekend was amazing. We had such a wonderful time, can’t wait ’til we come back. The Palmer House is the only real place I can take a step back and relax. Thanks Pat and Bill. – Chris and Jackie

11.15 We had a very nice stay here at the Palmer House celebrating our 18 year anniversary. Thank you for welcoming us. – Tim and Carrie

11.15 Bill and Pat, we have been coming here since 2012. We absolutely love it here and all the personal touches. We came for ‘Beer B&B Weekend’ which included many fun themed perks and an incredible night at Liam Maguire’s pub with a 3- course meal with paired beets at each course. We loved this weekend and hope the inn participates again! See you next year! Fondly, Rabia and Dan

11.25 Dear Pat and Bill, Thanks for making our short stay here so amazing. We wish we had more time to just stay and relax. This is such a beautiful home and you guys made us feel very comfortable. The breakfast was amazing too! Hopefully we can make it back one day! – Lindsay and Kyle

12.6 Dear Bill and Pat, Thank you so much for your hospitality. The inn is beautiful with such attention to detail. What a beautiful weekend. We hope to come back next year. – Susan and Timmy

12.6 Thank you Pat and Bill for making our elopement weekend beautiful and flawless. All of the little touches didn’t go unnoticed, down to the monogrammed napkins at breakfast. We couldn’t have imagined it any more special. We can’t wait to come back to celebrate our first anniversary with you both! Thank you again! Warm regards, Lisa and Tom

12.5 Dear Pat and Bill, Richard and I have stayed at many bed and breakfasts in our day but I have to say the Palmer House Inn has to be one of the most elegant, with all of the special touches to make your stay memorable and relaxing. We have been to many Christmas strolls in New England but I have to say AGAIN the Falmouth Village and the Palmer House Inn is our favorite! The suite with whirlpool welcoming after the stroll!! The inn had a lovely Christmas tree and decorations. Thank you for your gracious hospitality and best wishes to you. – Rick and Holly

12.14 What a beautiful place you have here in one of the best “downtown” areas on the Cape! Thank you for a wonderful stay and so many nice little touches and extras. It certainly made a December birthday more of a special occasion for my husband. – Elizabeth and Joshua