Pocket Gardens Tour of Portsmouth Returns for Its 32nd Year

Walk the 1.5-mile trail and see all the quaint, creative pocket gardens

Pocket Garden Features

Mid-summer fun featuring gardens, cookies and music? Who could refuse!

The Pocket Gardens Tour of Portsmouth is back for its 32nd year, and it won’t disappoint. Given the historic Portsmouth location, attendees can simultaneously sit in a flower-bedecked park, sip fresh hand-squeezed lemonade, listen to a lively band and watch cargo ships go by.

Organizers emphasize that there’s only one way to see all of the adorable pocket gardens — walk! It is an easy, self-paced 1.5-mile trail featuring over 15 gardens — some with music, some with ribbons, and all with cookies.

Strawbery Banke Museum is co-hosting the tour with the Unitarian-Universalist South Church of Portsmouth as it undergoes renovations this year.

Featuring private gardens dating back 400 years, the self-guided tour loops through Portsmouth’s South End, which was founded in 1623 and still feels like a piece of Colonial America. Behind most of these quaint houses, there are unique, carefully tended gardens. Some types could include a Medieval Knot-style, a formal English garden, or a Colonial mix of flowers, herbs and veggies.

Additionally, local author John Forti will be offering brief talks and book signings throughout the tour, focused on his recently published book, “The Heirloom Gardener.” Forti is currently the executive director of Bedrock Gardens in Lee.

According to the event’s press release, hosts have promised:

  • Novel hardscape and trellis system
  • Professionally designed formal horticultural garden
  • Contemporary garden with crushed stone walkways and patio, a shade garden, an edible garden with 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

Interested garden-goers should plan to visit Portsmouth to see this special tradition up close. The tour runs Friday, June 25 from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, June 26 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Tickets will go on sale in early May and can be found by searching “South Church Pocket Gardens Tour,” or by visiting their tent on Puddle Dock at Strawbery Banke Museum. They are $20 in advance, and $25 on the day of the event.

“For the past 31 years, the South Church Pocket Garden Tour has offered the Seacoast Community an opportunity to explore private gardens throughout the city of Portsmouth,” co-organizers Sue Peterson and Lauren Katz say. “Being able to wander the historic streets and peek into backyards when the early summer flowers are in bloom brings joy to tour attendees each year. We see many folks putting the dates on their calendar and making plans with friends and family to attend year after year. We hope this year, more than ever, offers the opportunity to be out, enjoying the beauty of the area, following the struggles of this past year. Many South Church volunteers begin working on the tour in September and after 32 years we are excited to hold onto the tradition while still bringing new features and excitement to this community tradition.”

Follow on Facebook at Portsmouth Pocket Gardens Tour.

Categories: Home & Garden, Things to Do