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Secret Gardens to Inspire

Collage Cambridge Garden Tour June 2012
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?


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lori Mapes July 30, 2012, 11:35 pm

    Lovely photos as usual Lisa! I would caution you to rethink the grass-less yard. We spent more time and money xeriscaping than we ever did mowing. What about a carpet of sweet woodruff?

    • Lisa July 31, 2012, 9:16 am

      Thank you, Lori. Actually, the grass-free yard is more about environmental considerations. Our little corner of the world is slowly becoming a haven for birds and butterflies.

  • Mary Lou July 17, 2012, 5:51 pm

    I do love a garden tour, but might have to weed more if I were to open up mine! Lovely photos.

  • Beth Garland July 16, 2012, 11:28 am

    Lovely photos, Lisa. The tour sounds wonderful. Not much other than scrub to look at out here.

    • Lisa July 16, 2012, 4:18 pm

      Thank you for the compliment on the photos, Beth. The tour was indeed wonderful, and I’ve already convinced two more friends that they need to accompany me on the next one in ’14.

  • jenny July 11, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I didn’t get the post as a follower but I am obviously seeing the new post. BEAUTIFUL pictures!!! I think I’ll have to grab a girlfriend and go check it out next year.

    • Lisa July 11, 2012, 3:44 pm

      Thank you, Jenny! You’ll have to wait until 2014 for the next Secret Gardens of Cambridge tour, but that leaves lots of time for selecting the best friend!