I spent this last Sunday afternoon following a $20 map around the contours of my neighborhood. It led me to common places I had passed by a hundred times before and paid little notice to, and down narrow winding alleyways that opened up into much loved outdoor spaces normally hidden from public view.
This map was my guide to the neighborhood's South End garden tour, an afternoon put together by the SELROS Land Trust, the organization responsible for the majority of the flourishing community gardens in the area. The tour takes you into some of these community gardens, as well as into public parks with thoughtfully constructed landscaping (often a community effort by its neighbors) and into the private gardens of South End residents with either an impressive green thumb or close working relationship with a local landscape designer in possession of one.
It was a lovely, relaxing way to spend an afternoon — who, really, would complain about meandering through gardens all day? — and the diversity of the gardens was striking. From the carefully arranged and controlled British style gardens that are so popular in New England, to lively, meandering collections of plants that are cared for then allowed to run free, to the plots with neat rows, dedicated to growing food for harvesting, every space had its own unique beauty.
The South End Garden Tour is an annual event held in June of every year. For more information about the land trust you can visit their website
(Images: Kim Lucian)