Only in Portsmouth can you sit in a flower-bedecked park, sip hand-squeezed lemonade, listen to a band play your favorite songs, and watch a hundred-thousand ton cargo freighter cruise by on slack tide.
And only in Portsmouth can you poke around in private gardens that date back 400 years.
This year’s self-guided tour lets you wander through the South End, founded in 1623, continuously a small welcoming neighborhood that could pass for Colonial America but for the power lines overhead.
And behind most quaint houses lurks a unique garden. It might be a take on a Medieval Knot Garden, or a Formal English Garden, or colonial higgledy-piggledy of flowers, herbs, and veggies.
Our hosts have promised “a novel hardscape and trellis system,” “formal horticultural garden, professionally designed,” “contemporary garden with crushed stone walkways and patio, shade garden, and edible garden, vegetables, and fruit trees,” “classic hardscape and patio with interesting shrubs,” “fetching corner lot - shrub, tree and perennial garden” “perennial and shrub garden on banks of South Mill Pond,” “spectacular mix of perennial, shrub and trees, vegetable garden and greenhouse!” “small, but lovely corner walk-by garden tended by three neighbors.”
There’s only one way to see them all. Fifteen+ gardens within an easy 1.5 mile walk at your own pace. Each special in its own way, some with music, some with ribbons, all with cookies!
So plan to visit Portsmouth, the jewel of New England, to see for yourself. Friday June 25 from 5-8 p.m. Saturday June 26 from 10-4. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day-of.
Sponsored by Portsmouth Vacuum, Bedrock Gardens, Eldredge Lumber, Seacoast Dwellings/Remax, and other fine local businesses. Hosted by Unitarian-Universalist South Church of Portsmouth.