Six Garden Tours in New England to Check Out This Summer

Stop and smell the roses in the South End, Provincetown, and beyond.

South End Garden Tour / Photo by Peter Bowne

‘Tis the season of garden tours, when generous, green-thumbed New Englanders prop open the gates to their yards for all to enjoy. Here, we’ve selected six tours you shouldn’t miss this summer.

The South End Garden Tour

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Trustees’ much-loved South End Garden Tour. The event is self-guided, and gives viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into more than 20 backyard gardens, courtyards, and pocket parks designed by novices and professionals alike. Highlights this year include an alleyway-turned-garden and a stunning living roof. Plus, if you volunteer as a garden sitter for two hours (sounds rough) you’re rewarded with a free ticket.

$30, Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., starts at the South End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 685 Tremont St., Boston, trustees.org/segt.

Newport’s Secret Garden Tours

This three-day garden tour extravaganza is a rare opportunity to peek into the yards of the Newport mansions that haven’t yet been converted into museums. From Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, garden lovers can explore the gardens of some of Newport’s “most prestigious properties,” according to organizers, including a few on famed Bellevue Avenue. A $25 ticket gets you in all three days, meaning you can turn a Rhode Island day trip into a flower-filled weekend.

$25, Friday, June 15 through Sunday, June 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 32 Washington St., Newport, secretgardentours.org.

The Portsmouth Pocket Garden Tour

Take a 1.5 mile stroll or bicycle ride through the time-honored streets of historic Portsmouth, where pint-sized gardens will be yours to marvel at. South Church’s 29th annual Pocket Garden Tour winds through the West End, and features columbine, salt mist roses, allium, and more.

$25, Friday, June 22, 5-8 p.m., Saturday, June 23, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., South Church, 292 State St., Portsmouth, NH, southchurch-uu.org.

JP Garden Tour / Photo courtesy of the Trustees

Rockport in Bloom

Plan a day trip to Cape Ann for “Rockport in Bloom” this year—and keep a copy of our Rockport guide handy when you go. The festival’s self-guided tour threads through nine gardens in three neighborhoods. Some frame views of the ocean, while others feature one-of-a-kind granite sculptures that hearken back to Rockport’s granite industry history. Plein air painters will be positioned in some gardens, recreating the vibrant petals and grasses on canvas.

$25, Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, 10 a..m.-4 p.m., Rockport, rockportgardenclub.org.

The Jamaica Plain Garden Tour

New this year is the Jamaica Plain Garden Tour, hosted by the Trustees and modeled after their popular South End Garden Tour. The first annual tour winds up and down the charming streets in JP’s Sumner Hill and Central neighborhoods, offering a peek into the backyards of the historical homes there. In addition to formal gardens, the tour will also feature more compact urban spaces and natural woodland landscapes. Look forward to fountains, stonework, and specimen plantings inspired by the nearby Arnold Arboretum.

$30, Saturday, July 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., starts at J.P. Licks 659 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, trustees.org/jpgt.

Provincetown Secret Garden Tour

Not only does Provincetown’s 21st annual secret garden tour provide access to elegant, salt-misted private gardens around town, but it also offers free admission to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, as well as free parking (a rarity in P-Town, for sure). The self-guided tour loops through a residential neighborhood. When you’re done exploring, the PAAM picks you up, free of charge, for a ride back to the museum or to your car.

$40, Sunday, July 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., PAAM, 460 Commercial St., Provincetown, paam.org.

Provincetown garden photo by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner on Flickr/Creative Commons