By Julie Moir Messervy
If you’ve never had an opportunity to tour the private gardens hidden behind high brick walls or at the end of narrow alleys in Boston’s beloved neighborhood on a hill, tomorrow is your chance. The Beacon Hill Garden Club, formed by twenty residents with a love of horticulture in 1928, continues to open its gates to 12 hidden gardens and four “ribbon” gardens viewed from the street. It is a self-guided tour that takes place rain or shine. Tickets cost $35 in advance and $40 the day of the tour—look for them at select Charles Street stores.
The Beacon Hill Garden Club Releases a New Book
If you can’t get to the tour this year, then by all means buy a copy of the just-released book, Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places. Besides being so happy that several JMMDS-designed gardens are featured in its pages, I am also thrilled with the book’s content. Rather than looking at case studies of specific gardens, the book highlights the elements of these tiny urban shade gardens, teaching us about character, walls, paving, levels, gates and doors, ornaments, furniture, and more.
Not only are the photographs handsome (by Peter Vanderwarker and Thomas Lingner/The Able Lens), but the writing delights as well. Here’s an example that reminds us of the original purpose of these hidden gardens:
“Since the back yards of our houses were originally strung with laundry lines and used as outdoor kitchens and for privies, we can credit the gradual improvement in indoor plumbing, city services and household appliances for allowing us to inherit, and bequeath, the gardens of today…”
You can buy the book at the tour or contact the Beacon Hill Garden Club on their website.
The three gardens shown above are projects on which JMMDS was involved.