Corners of Beacon Hill truly feel like a scene from that enchanting childhood movie, A Secret Garden. “What wonderful world is behind here?” you find yourself asking, much like Mary Lennox and Colin Craven. Usually you can see a tiny peep through the gate, and my imagination takes over from there, envisioning the most remarkable sanctum possible, lined with lush green grass, sprightly rose bushes, and the most comfortable hammock imaginable.

So of course I had to pack up Lux and go on the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill tour. This one-day annual event is a self-guided tour costs $30 and included sixteen gardens, all in the relatively tiny area of Beacon Hill.

At each stop you were greeted by a friendly local gardener wearing a cheerful yellow apron. Doors were flagged with little yellow banners so you could spot them from down the hill.

I loved these old windows and brick pattens. This garden was mostly shaded so everything was green and somewhat Japanese inspired.


This seemed enormously clever and fun to me: a garden behind a garage door. There were several of these! When the car is pulled out, you practically have a courtyard. And: you still have a parking spot at the end of the day!

This tiny alley approaching one of the gardens had been lined with little glass vases:Image

and around the corner you could see: the sweetest sun-dappled playspace:


I took this photo from a garden that had been there for sixty years! That’s how you get trees like that in the city—inherited gardens.


And here: this sunny corner wasn’t on the tour but this is really my type of hideaway. Simple, unmanicured, the greens are growing as they like, and the sun is just pouring in. I hope whoever owns this corner gets to bask here frequently, with a friend and a glass of lemonade. And maybe a cat. And stack of books…

To be honest, finally getting to see a few of these places was really good for me. I didn’t walk away jealous and wishing I could add another $2,000 to our monthly rent so I too could have a well-terraced square foot of my own. After seeing a few of the gardens, a friend and I took our babies to the Common to let them frolic. There was sun and shade everywhere, school kids to watch, new construction to examine, and fresh cut lawns. It was lovely, free, and open to everyone. And that is a true oasis.