Recently, some friends and I went on the Newport RI “Secret Garden Tour.” A ticket purchased in advance was just $20, and the proceeds went to charity. It was also an opportunity to explore the historic and lovely “Point” section of the city, since all the gardens were located there, within walking distance of each other.
Actually, that was the best part: walking around The Point, where most of the wooden houses were built in the 1700s, and charming vignettes like this one abound.
The houses are close together, so the gardens are quite small. Some were delightful – with garden ornaments as interesting as the plants themselves. As for the plantings, I adored the shape of one azalea, which, we were told, is 110 years old, and there were some wonderful trees like the venerable copper beeches in the garden of a B&B.
Other gardens, though, were not “tour ready” in our opinion. They needed dead heading and weeding, and no one could tell us anything about the individual plants if we had questions. At least two of the gardens touted specimen trees in the brochure, but when we asked about them, in one case the tree had been cut down and in the other, it had been “moved somewhere else.”
Overall, the tour was worthwhile, especially since our ticket money went to a good cause. I guess I was expecting more on a horticultural level – and docents who could answer our questions about the plants.