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Peek Into Your Neighbor’s Backyard Oasis: Our Summer Garden Tours Preview

In this garden off Eastern Point Road in East Gloucester, the expansive lawn ends in patios situated under dwarf apple trees along the water’s edge. (Greg Cook)
In this garden off Eastern Point Road in East Gloucester, the expansive lawn ends in patios situated under dwarf apple trees along the water’s edge. (Greg Cook)

As spring turns to summer, we’ve reached the peak of garden tour season across the region. Here we offer a full schedule plus a photographic preview (below) of three of the tours:

- The South End Garden Tour in Boston on June 21 is a self-guided tour of more than 30 private gardens, rooftop terraces, neighborhood parks and community gardens. It highlights the wonders gardeners are able accomplish in tight spaces.

- Rockport’s Hidden Gardens tour on June 20 and 21 visits 17 gardens near the seaside community’s downtown—from kitchen gardens to meditational retreats to a backyard cottage oasis framing the harbor.

- The Gloucester Garden Tour on July 12 showcases 12 elaborately landscaped estates, many with spectacular ocean views along the city’s Back Shore. The features range from formal hedges to Japanese gardens to rolling lawns running down to the rocky coast.

Schedule

June 20 and 21: Rockport’s Hidden Gardens tour

June 20 and 21: Portsmouth Pocket Garden Tour in New Hampshire

June 20 to 22: Secret Garden Tours in Newport, Rhode Island

June 21: South End Garden Tour in Boston

June 21: Danvers Garden Club Enchanted Gardens tour

June 26: Garden Conservancy Open Days tour of Nantucket

June 27 and 28: Wareham Garden Club “Scents of Summer” garden and kitchen tour

June 28 and 29: Nashua Garden Tour in New Hampshire

July 9: Green Briar Garden Tour in Sandwich

July 9: Garden Conservancy Open Days tour of Martha’s Vineyard

July 12: Gloucester Garden Tour

July 12 and 13: Gardens of Pittsfield tour

July 13: Secret Garden Tour in Provincetown

Aug. 10: Garden Conservancy Open Days tour of Marblehead

Sept. 5 to 7: Secret Garden Tours in Newport, Rhode Island

Greg Cook is co-founder of WBUR’s ARTery. Talk about your favorite gardens with him @AestheticResear and Facebook.

Not far from Massachusetts Avenue, the South End tour features four abutting, private gardens behind Victorian brick row houses. They don’t have fences between them so they combine into one expanding urban oasis of patios, flowers, shrubs and trees. (Greg Cook)
Not far from Massachusetts Avenue, the South End tour features four abutting, private gardens behind Victorian brick row houses. They don’t have fences between them so they combine into one expanding urban oasis of patios, flowers, shrubs and trees. (Greg Cook)
At the end of the four abutting gardens near Massachusetts Avenue is a circular English garden of perennials. (Greg Cook)
At the end of the four abutting gardens near Massachusetts Avenue is a circular English garden of perennials. (Greg Cook)
Another stop on the South End tour is the Sensory Garden Outdoor Classroom at the Carter Development Center, a Boston public school on Northampton Street for children ages 12 to 22 with severe to profound cognitive and physical challenges. The students also are medically fragile. Of the school's 25 students about 20 are in wheelchairs, says Principal Marianne Kopaczynski. (Greg Cook)
Another stop on the South End tour is the Sensory Garden Outdoor Classroom at the Carter Development Center, a Boston public school on Northampton Street for children ages 12 to 22 with severe to profound cognitive and physical challenges. The students also are medically fragile. Of the school's 25 students about 20 are in wheelchairs, says Principal Marianne Kopaczynski. (Greg Cook)
The Carter School’s Sensory Garden Outdoor Classroom, finished in 2007, offers winding paths (edged with white for clarity for visually-impaired children), fountains and sprinklers that are triggered by the students’ touch, and handicapped-accessible swings. (Greg Cook)
The Carter School’s Sensory Garden Outdoor Classroom, finished in 2007, offers winding paths (edged with white for clarity for visually-impaired children), fountains and sprinklers that are triggered by the students’ touch, and handicapped-accessible swings. (Greg Cook)
Exploratory stations at the Carter School’s sensory garden are built at heights to allow students in wheelchairs to dig in dirt and sand. Note that the flowers just above the trays match the color of the station—red, orange, yellow. (Greg Cook)
Exploratory stations at the Carter School’s sensory garden are built at heights to allow students in wheelchairs to dig in dirt and sand. Note that the flowers just above the trays match the color of the station—red, orange, yellow. (Greg Cook)
“They’re in wheelchairs. They never get to smell, play, touch,” says Carter Development Center Principal Marianne Kopaczynski. “Kids can come down, the grass touches them, so they can feel it.” (Greg Cook)
“They’re in wheelchairs. They never get to smell, play, touch,” says Carter Development Center Principal Marianne Kopaczynski. “Kids can come down, the grass touches them, so they can feel it.” (Greg Cook)
Worcester Street Community Garden, which has been active for more than three decades, is featured on the South End tour. (Greg Cook)
Worcester Street Community Garden, which has been active for more than three decades, is featured on the South End tour. (Greg Cook)
On the Rockport tour, one house on Broadway has a kitchen garden (broccoli to blueberries), active bee hives (at right), and a stone fireplace with built-in grill. (Greg Cook)
On the Rockport tour, one house on Broadway has a kitchen garden (broccoli to blueberries), active bee hives (at right), and a stone fireplace with built-in grill. (Greg Cook)
The Broadway garden also features islands of flowers and bushes designed to create outdoor “rooms.” (Greg Cook)
The Broadway garden also features islands of flowers and bushes designed to create outdoor “rooms.” (Greg Cook)
The public Reading Garden behind the Rockport Public Library features (at right) spectacular clematis vines. (Greg Cook)
The public Reading Garden behind the Rockport Public Library features (at right) spectacular clematis vines. (Greg Cook)
Off Main Street in Rockport, a narrow stone path between downtown buildings opens onto a meditational garden offering wisteria, climbing hydrangea, roses, clematis, and a cherry tree. (Greg Cook)
Off Main Street in Rockport, a narrow stone path between downtown buildings opens onto a meditational garden offering wisteria, climbing hydrangea, roses, clematis, and a cherry tree. (Greg Cook)
Rockport’s Millbrook Meadow Park began as the mowing field of the first English settler Richard Tarr in the 1690s. Later it became the site of a saw and grist mill, and other industry, until 1938 when it became a town park via “the intervention of the Rockport Garden Club,” a sign explains. (Greg Cook)
Rockport’s Millbrook Meadow Park began as the mowing field of the first English settler Richard Tarr in the 1690s. Later it became the site of a saw and grist mill, and other industry, until 1938 when it became a town park via “the intervention of the Rockport Garden Club,” a sign explains. (Greg Cook)
The Rockport Garden Club, which organizes the Hidden Gardens tour, maintains the flower plantings at Millbrook Meadow Park. (Greg Cook)
The Rockport Garden Club, which organizes the Hidden Gardens tour, maintains the flower plantings at Millbrook Meadow Park. (Greg Cook)
In Rockport’s Dock Square, a cottage garden is hidden behind the Judi Rotenberg Studio. It faces the harbor and offers views of Rockport’s landmark red fishing shack Motif No. 1. (Greg Cook)
In Rockport’s Dock Square, a cottage garden is hidden behind the Judi Rotenberg Studio. It faces the harbor and offers views of Rockport’s landmark red fishing shack Motif No. 1. (Greg Cook)
The garden behind Judi Rotenberg Studio is framed by a picket fence that borders the town boat launch ramp. (Greg Cook)
The garden behind Judi Rotenberg Studio is framed by a picket fence that borders the town boat launch ramp. (Greg Cook)
The Gloucester tour includes the rolling seaside lawns of abutting homes off Eastern Point Road in East Gloucester. The grass ends (pictured at the very top of his article) in patios situated under dwarf apple trees along the water’s edge. (Greg Cook)
The Gloucester tour includes the rolling seaside lawns of abutting homes off Eastern Point Road in East Gloucester. The grass ends (pictured at the very top of his article) in patios situated under dwarf apple trees along the water’s edge. (Greg Cook)
A birdhouse punctuates an island of flowers in this East Gloucester garden. (Greg Cook)
A birdhouse punctuates an island of flowers in this East Gloucester garden. (Greg Cook)
A restored antique swan-fountain is the centerpiece of a formal boxwood hedge garden filled with geraniums behind an Orchard Road home in Gloucester. (Greg Cook)
A restored antique swan-fountain is the centerpiece of a formal boxwood hedge garden filled with geraniums behind an Orchard Road home in Gloucester. (Greg Cook)
Tall trees frame the end of a wide lawn behind a home on Gloucester’s Grapevine Road. (Greg Cook)
Tall trees frame the end of a wide lawn behind a home on Gloucester’s Grapevine Road. (Greg Cook)
A planter of flowers serves as an accent among the granite outcroppings in front of the Grapevine Road home. (Greg Cook)
A planter of flowers serves as an accent among the granite outcroppings in front of the Grapevine Road home. (Greg Cook)
Stone paths wind through the Grapevine Road property. (Greg Cook)
Stone paths wind through the Grapevine Road property. (Greg Cook)
A pergola and seating patio frame hydrangea climbing a granite wall in this garden along Gloucester’s Atlantic Road. (Greg Cook)
A pergola and seating patio frame hydrangea climbing a granite wall in this garden along Gloucester’s Atlantic Road. (Greg Cook)
An urn of flowers sits at the center of the entrance walk to the Atlantic Road property. The other side of the house has spectacular views of Gloucester’s Back Shore. (Greg Cook)
An urn of flowers sits at the center of the entrance walk to the Atlantic Road property. The other side of the house has spectacular views of Gloucester’s Back Shore. (Greg Cook)
A stone wall frames the vegetable garden and pergola in the Atlantic Road property. (Greg Cook)
A stone wall frames the vegetable garden and pergola in the Atlantic Road property. (Greg Cook)
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