July 6, 2011

South End Garden Tour Highlights

Posted by Kristin

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon getting a sneak peak at some of Boston's finest private gardens in the city's South End. I've been trying to make the South End Garden Tour for the last four years and finally made it accompanied by my brother, who lives in nearby Jamaica Plain.  The majority of the urban gardens are on small city lots, some of them no bigger than a small patio area. It was inspiring to see what people did in such small spaces (can you say design ideas).  Feast your eyes on the following fine flora.

After getting my tour pass marked by staunch-faced gate keepers very nice volunteers, I walked into a backyard setting much like what you see below.

A typical view of an urban apartment's backside (oh-the booty jokes that are running through my head right now).

However, surrounding my brother and I were lush, flowering landscapes that were anything but urban.

This little oasis greeted us first.

Not too shabby for urban living.

A nice spot for a little wine maybe?

One of the aspects I enjoyed most was seeing some unique design ideas, some to add dimension to the space and others to take advantage of vertical space.

A unique use of a mirror adds depth to a small space.

Another mirror that was especially useful in adding depth because of the reflected water.

A brilliant idea for taking advantage of vertical space to grow herbs. A very simple DIY idea that could even work on an old door or window.

And of course there were just straight up beeee-uuu-tiful plant combinations and stellar solos.

Love the combination of the yellow (lady's mantle, hakonechloa grass), blues (Colorado blue spruce), and bright pinks and whites (astilbe).
A nice combination of bright colors in a shady corner (hostas, variegated dogwood, ferns, coral bells, boxwood, ivy).

Love the buttery apricot color (climbing rose?).

Coleus always has a spot in any garden.

Happy zinnias.

An allium in all its glory.

 One of the real highlights was the innovative use of space found on many rooftop gardens. From ornamental flowers to edibles, these homeowners managed to create really beautiful, welcoming, and functional spaces.

I could live with this view (Notice the flag. It was the day of the Stanley Cup parade. Go Bruins!).
A nice family of colors and textures with some edibles tucked in.

Say hi to Jon, my brother, and some horse troughs turned planters with shade-producing bamboo. Plant this stuff where you want it- it grows like I consume chocolate- fast and furious.

Check out this containerized veggie garden. Even those of us not graced with a yard can grow our own food (and these folks will have tomatoes coming out of their ears soon).

Luscious leafy lettuce....mmmmm.

If these daisies don't make you smile your name must be Sue Sylvester (any Glee fans out there- holla!).

And last but certainly not least, we were privileged enough to view a private park (yes I said private park) in the middle of a quadrant of apartment buildings.  Established and maintained by a neighborhood association formed in the 1970's, these gardens truly transported you out of the city and into a lush, inviting back yard, complete with a cellist and artists. Let's just say me and my flip flops felt a bit elementary in this swanky landscape.

Check out the size of that purple beech- it kinda steals the limelight from the cellist.

Not a bad place to paint, I'd say.

Enjoy these treats until next year's garden tour!


  1. What a beautiful site! I'm so inspired. Thanks for the garden tour :)

  2. Love the door or window idea with the herbs..I might have to try to make one of those =)