Property

Peek Into Eight Secret Gardens Around New England This Summer

If it's time to tour blossoming gardens, it must be summer.


If you’ve found yourself craning your neck to peek over hedges or squinting an eye to look through the gaps of a fence, all to catch a glimpse of a secret garden—there’s no need! These tours open up dozens of private gardens throughout New England, for fellow gardeners and the horticulturally curious to peep behind the scenes of some of the region’s most stunning landscapes.

Take your time ambling through the flowerbeds and pocket parks, and make sure to inhale the pleasing medley of aromas as you go.

newburyport garden tour

Hale-Boncher garden in Newburyport / Photo by John Boncher

Museum of Old Newbury Garden Tour

For the fortieth year in a row, the Museum of Old Newbury will host its annual garden tour. To honor the anniversary, the available sites will include past favorites, as well as first-time features. Visitors can begin at the museum’s own Cushing Garden, then set out to enjoy a cornucopia of summery sights and activities: Take in a plein air painter, spot a winged beauty in a backyard bird sanctuary, learn about the history of money at a Perkins Mint open house, and try out your own green thumb at a plant sale.

$30, Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Museum of Old Newbury, 98 High St., Newburyport, www.newburyhistory.org

Newport Secret Garden Tours

Heading to Rhode Island is already a great way to spend a summer day, and staying around for the weekend is even better. For $25 (or $20 if you order tickets in advance), stroll around up to 10 gardens across three days, and gain some horticultural inspiration from some of Newport’s most exclusive properties. Plus, kiddos can tag along for free. While you’re there, check out some of the city’s glamorous mansions, many of which offer discounted admission prices that weekend.

$20, Friday, June 14 through Sunday, June 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 32 Washington St., Newport, www.secretgardentours.org

A South End roof deck featured on this year’s tour / Photo by Carl Kraenzel

The South End Garden Tour

Treat your senses this June with the Trustees’ 26th annual garden tour of the South End: Sniff the sweet-scented flowers, delight at perfectly manicured roof decks, and tune in to enchanting backyard concerts, with melodies provided by musicians from the Community Music Center. Starting at the South End Branch of the Boston Public Library, the self-guided tour lets visitors be privy to lovely gardens in and around Pilot Block, Rutland Square, Claremont Park, and the Chester Square neighborhoods.

$30, Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 685 Tremont St., Boston, thetrustees.org/SEGT.

Portsmouth Pocket Garden Tour / Photo by CJ Cogswell

The Pocket Gardens of Portsmouth Tour

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the South Church’s pocket garden tour. This year, the tour will focus on two neighborhoods in the city’s north end. The curated jaunt lifts the veil from some of the city’s most charming parcels. Hungry garden appreciators may notice that some of the miniature plots are populated with fragrant herbs and hearty vegetables, along with a rainbow of blooms.

$20, Friday, June 21, 5-8 p.m., Saturday, June 22, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., South Church, 292 State St., Portsmouth, NH, southchurch-uu.org.

Private garden in Salem / Photo by Meg McMahon

A Stroll Through the Gardens of Salem

Though many Baystaters take the train out to Salem during the fall, the city is well worth a day trip long after the leaves stop crunching under our feet. The Salem Garden Club’s tour is one reason to visit, which this year takes place in the oceanfront Willows borough. Inhale perfume-y blossoms and a salty seabreeze as you munch on provided cookies and sip on lemonade. Artists and musicians will be interspersed throughout many of the gardens to make the self-guided walk all the sweeter.

$20, Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Winter Island Road and Fort Ave., Salem, salemgardenclub.com.

provincetown garden tour

Photo courtesy of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum

Provincetown Secret Garden Tour

Artists, this one is for you. This Cape Cod excursion is put on by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and is dedicated to the art of the garden. Not only does the self-guided stroll loop through plenty of stunning residential gardens, but a ticket includes admission to the PAAM and takes care of parking. This year, the 22nd annual event coincides with the final day of the PAAM exhibit “Big Fat Flowers,” which features the botanically-influenced work of 30 artists. Prepare to feast your eyes on some flora, real and imagined.

$40, Sunday, July 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., PAAM, 460 Commercial St., Provincetown, paam.org.

JP Garden Tour / Photo courtesy of The Trustees

Jamaica Plain Garden Tour

JP is filled with green spaces, but there’s only one day when some of its most hidden gardens become open to explore. For the second year, the Trustees are curating a tour of 15-20 of the neighborhood’s lushest spaces, from blossoming pocket parks, to sprawling landscapes. At one backyard garden, see if you can spot all 14 varieties of Japanese maples, 20-plus types of hostas, and more than 45 species of conifers. The day begins at J.P. Licks, though you may want to circle back for a creamy refreshment after rambling around town under the summertime sun.

$25, Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 659 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, thetrustees.org/JPGT.

Rockport in Bloom Garden Tour

For two days this July, Rockport in Bloom grants exclusive access to more than a dozen plots of the coastal community’s most beautiful flora and fauna. Meander through three neighborhoods to glimpse all of the open gardens, and glimpse sculptures and fountains mingling with the blossoms. When you’re full up on flowers, head to the beach with a picnic, or buy some lunch along the seaside.

$25, Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 168 Main St., Rockport, rockportgardenclub.org.