Garden Conservancy Open Days

I interrupt our summer break with a note on a weekend activity that is completely civilized, highly enjoyable and free (mostly) of discussions on current events.

Tour Private Gardens
courtesy of the
Garden Conservancy Open Days Program

Is there a better way to spend a high summer's afternoon?

Follow a meandering garden path

and gaze at the garden's envy-inducing home?

Why, yes. I love a Maine coast cliff walk followed by a lobster roll and a glass of chilly white. When that option is not on the table, I will happily tour a private garden.

The west end of the garden on Garvin Hill.

Pink hydrangea!

Across the US and all summer long, the Garden Conservancy invites the public to view America's best private gardens. I am looking forward to several Boston area gardens this weekend.

Click 2016 Open Days for the national schedule, there is sure to be one near you.

Private gardens are works of love, and in some cases, decades of care, like the Hunnewell in Wellesley. Open this Saturday for the first time, four generations of Hunnewells have stewarded this estate garden. It is supposed to have the best topiary north of Ladew Gardens. 

It looked like this in 1909.

Click this link for info on visiting The Hunnewell Gardens.
Photo via The Garden Conservancy site.

The homes these gardens adorn are not on the tour, but some are architectural gems well worth seeing, if only from the exterior. So if you are interested in design, architectural and landscape, these garden tours are an exceptional opportunity.

Like last summer's tour of the garden on Garvin Hill in Chichester, NH., a hilltop compound home to a multi-generational clan. Except for the above of Hunnewell and the one below of Bonair, all pics in this post are of Garvin Hill and taken by the author.

The elder generation lives in the historic main house, built in the early 1800s.

The front of the property is all turf, which at first was a little disconcerting (what, no garden?). Until we realized this is the view from the front walk. Holy Cow! The gardener (homeowner) told us Mt. Washington is visible on clear days. No question then as to why the gardens are in the rear.

There is an idyllic expanse of green between the main house and

I wonder how old these trees are? What a fabulous setting for afternoon tea. Or a picnic.
The white structure on the left is an addition to the main house done in the early 1900s.

the pool house.

The next generations live in a modern home on the far side of the pool house, as seen here from the garden.

The extensive gardens in the rear stretch all across the property.

It was a privilege to tour The Garvin Hill garden. Well worth the drive up to New Hampshire.

Our plan for this Saturday is to tour Hunnewell first since it's never been open before. If I avoid a meltdown (the forecast is in the 90s and humid, of course) we will continue on to

Photo via The Garden Conservancy site.

Bonair, a five-acre Italianate garden in Sherborn.

Of course, not everyone is a garden enthusiast crazy enough to venture out in the midday sun. But I'm sure you'll have a great weekend anyway!

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan


  1. How utterly beautiful. I don't think we have anything at all like this up here.

    1. But your Pacific Northwest has many charms. I hope to visit one day. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. It must be wonderful to have a look at such beautiful gardens!
    Your photos are lovely. I like especially the pink Hydrangeas, but the first, intriguing, photo is perhaps my favourite. What is it that we see behind that gorgeous tree: the sky, distant fields, a lake or the sea...? Fabulous.

    1. Thank you! It's sky -- the garden is slightly downhill from that tree.

    2. The more I look at that photo, the more I like it. :)

    3. Thank you! Easy to take pictures in a beautiful garden.

  3. Welcome back, dear Linda, you have been missed! The photos are gorgeous of the magnificent gardens. I am going to run to Old Nave to see if they have and of those snazzy shoes left! Have a great week.

    1. Thanks, Katie! I wish the little girl that owned those shoes had been in the garden. Girl after my own heart. Shoes. Very important!


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