All over the East Bay summer is in full bloom, and there are few things more relaxing than wandering a garden path while admiring the sights and scents of the natural world. Tours are available across the state, but there may be some in your own backyard you have yet to explore. Whether following a guide or browsing at your own pace, visiting a garden can be a natural fit for the whole family.
This glorious array of gardens has been showing off its blooms since the turn of the 20th century when the original owners expanded their botanical collection to include florals from far and wide. Visitors adore the vibrant colors and picturesque landscape from the ornamental stonework and shrubbery to the rainbow of blooms in the Rose Garden. Catch a breeze off the bay as you walk these breathtaking grounds, past the towering Sequoia and through the bamboo forest. Guests may sip into simpler moments with tea and scones on the porch, for an additional fee when available. 101 Ferry Road, Bristol
Step onto grounds fit for a fairy tale in the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the country. Neatly trimmed shrubs take shape into friendly animals and figurines of all kinds. Visitors marvel over the 16,000 daffodils dotting the land – in between snapping a selfie with the verdant lion and unicorn topiaries. Open daily to the public, take a walk with the whole family through the delightful annuals and shrubs painting this picturesque retreat from spring through autumn. Tickets are available online to stroll this dreamlike destination where guests are even encouraged to pack a picnic. 380 Cory’s Lane, Portsmouth
Rhode Island’s very own secret garden sits on just more than an acre. The garden shares its labyrinth of paths filled to the brim with an impressive mix of shrubs, trees, and flowers. Explore the shaded hideaway where curtains of florals cover trimmed hedge walls and find beds of pastel foliage in the Yellow Garden that offer their sunshine even on the cloudiest of days. Reserve your garden visit or register a garden club tour online. 510 W Main Road, Little Compton
Early June: Open House at Electric Moon Peony Farm
For the first two weeks of June (exact details TBD at press time), the farm opens its fields to the public on select days. Visits are offered as an opportunity to observe the growing habits, flower color, and fragrance of individual peony varieties and learn about which might be best for your own garden. Select flowers are available for EMPF cutters to harvest for you to purchase. Cash only. 43 Old Harbor Road, Little Compton
June 12-13: Gardening with the Masters Tour
Twenty-six private gardens designed and maintained by URI Master Gardener
volunteers will be open to the public for the tenth biannual Gardening with the Masters Tour. Tickets cost $30 and include admission for one to the gardens on both tour weekends, a new smartphone app, and a link to a guidebook with garden descriptions. Gardens on the tour include East Providence, Newport, Portsmouth, and nearby Seekonk. Rain or shine.
June 18-20: Back in Bloom: A Ballroom Floral Fantasy
The Salon and Ballroom of Rosecliff will be transformed in this reimagined presentation of The Newport Flower Show. The Salon will feature the very popular Botanical Arts design classes, The Ballroom will showcase floral designs, and the Terrace will serve as a conservatory garden space and feature al-fresco exhibition tables created by local event and floral designers. Advanced ticket purchases only.
July 9-11: Secret Garden Tours
Bring your wellies, umbrellas, and raincoats because Secret Garden 2021 Summer Garden Tours only happen three days in July, require tickets, and run rain or shine. Enjoy access to lush private gardens in Newport with magnificent landscaping, fountains, pools, waterfronts, and more. Two time slots are available each day, beginning in Storer Park off of Washington Street. Tours are self-guided and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit RI public schools. Newport
As always, we recommend checking websites for updates, restrictions, or accommodations prior to visiting.