Photos from the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill
Among the centuries-old bricks and cobblestones of Beacon Hill, small clusters of green are barely visible.
Urban gardens occupy the spaces where outhouses, trash pits, and wood sheds were once necessary. They’re guarded by ivy-clad walls and cast iron gates, keeping out visitors of all species.
But on one day every year—the third Thursday in May—many of the small gardens open up for tours. Since 1929, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has organized a Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill tour rain or shine.
“When it was getting started, tickets used to be one dollar,” says Amy Wilson, communications chair for the Garden Club.
While tickets today go for $45 and up, Wilson says this year’s event broke a ticket sale record, selling hundreds more than last year.
The annual event brings thousands to one of Boston’s most expensive neighborhoods.
“I like the architecture,” explained a four-time visitor from New Hampshire. “There’s a lot of Boston history and you can get up close to it.”
A total of 10 gardens opened for tours, and four non-Garden Club members offered views of their gardens through open gates. This year, four new gardens were added, and highlights included several living plant walls and a newly built pergola.
Thanks to the multitudes of aging, brick buildings that tower over many Beacon Hill gardens, the majority of them are covered in shade. Despite this, there was a wide variety of plants on display besides shade-tolerant hostas and hydrangeas. Alliums, roses, tulips, azaealas, peonies, and others flourished in pots, in flower beds, and beside fountains.
Garden designs ranged from a Japanese-inspired three-level patio to a modern oasis with an outdoor fireplace. Many of the spaces embraced the potential for al fresco dining, and one garden had a designated corner for beekeeping.
Below, peruse the hidden gardens of Beacon Hill, crowd-free.