It’s garden tour season, when kind folks who have committed to months of preparatory planting, weeding, and meticulous plant grooming, open their gardens to strangers, who tromp through looking for inspiration, snapping photos, jotting down plant names and cultivation tips. Every two years the Friends of the Cambridge (MA) Public Library organizes a Secret Gardens of Cambridge Tour as a fundraiser. A childhood friend — who I rarely see otherwise — and I have made attending this event together a tradition, rain or shine. This year there were 22 backyard secret gardens and 3 ‘open secrets’, or blooming spaces visible from the street. The photos in the collage are a mere sampling of the day’s fill.
With the exception of the estate in the top photo, these were modestly sized urban spaces with neighbors just on the other side of chain link and stockade fences. Yet each gardener had created an absorbing distraction that had us forgetting we were in the middle of a city.
We walked and drooled for almost seven hours, and even so, only visited half of the garden spaces on the tour. But wow, did I come home inspired! High points that I want to bring into my own secret garden are: a discreet composting area; a water feature; and a properly laid stone area for outdoor living (reading, entertaining, maybe even writing). As always, I am working towards a grass-free yard, but like the rest of the garden, this is a work-in-progress. The possibilities now feel endless for my little .09 acre bit-o-green.
How about you — do you love a good garden tour? Ever offered your garden up as a participant?