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The 25th Annual

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Pocket Garden Tour

Tourists are drawn to Portsmouth for its history, culture, and seaside charm. But few tourists know of this insider’s secret – a glorious annual feast for the soul called the Pocket Garden Tour. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the tour, scheduled for Friday, June 20th from 5 to 8pm, and Saturday, June 21st from 9 am to 3pm. Tour occurs rain or shine.

Originally started in 1990 as a way to raise funds for the upkeep of South Church’s own pocket garden, described as “a semi-private haven for passersby”, the annual event has grown over the years. Today some 125 volunteers include not only church members but also garden lovers. They make the arrangements, host the gardens, and bake cookies each year to welcome visiting guests.

Accompany a friend on this lovely walking experience to take in 12 private gardens in Portsmouth’s Little Harbor neighborhood. What you’ll find are delightful nooks and crannies of sweetness and beauty. Private spaces spill over with aromatic flowers, rock gardens, benches and flowering trees. The gardens will keep getting more beautiful as the day goes by. How often are you invited to enjoy such places?

A ticket pamphlet contains all the information needed: a list of the homes’ addresses, plenty of flowery detail, and maps to get around town. The garden walk should last about three hours. You may plan to park downtown and walk the 3-mile round trip. You may also pick up your tickets at South Church and then move your car to a spot mid-tour as described in your booklet.

As well as garden viewing, listen to the sounds of local musicians performing in several gardens – self-indulgence of the best kind – as you refresh yourself with cold lemonade and homemade cookies. You’ll hear solo flutists, jazz guitar – or maybe even a shanty band. Portsmouth history will not be far from your awareness. You’re also more than likely to occasionally see artists at work with paints and pens in the shade of a lovely flowering tree.

Musician and artist schedule:

Friday, June 20, 5–8:

Ray DeMarco, garden 2

Something Else, garden 3

Cathy Okhuysen, garden 5

John O’Sullivan, garden 10

Saturday, June 21, 9–12:

Sea Smoke, garden 2

Something Else, garden 3

Denise Brown, garden 4

Quintessence, garden 5

Mystic Sirens, garden 10

Saturday, June 21, 12–3:

Jon and Emma Booth, garden 2

North River Acoustic, garden 3

Quintessence, garden 5

Penhallow, garden 10

Ticket prices are $20 in advance or $25 the days of the tour. Advance tickets are available at the following retail outlets through June 19:

Outdoor Pride of Rye 261 Central Road, Rye

Rolling Green Nursery Breakfast Hill Road, Greenland

Wentworth Greenhouses 141 Rollins Road, Rollinsford

North Hill Nursery 206 Lafayette Road, North Hampton

Blue Moss 101 High Street, Portsmouth

All Makes Sew & Vac Center 180 Islington Street, Portsmouth

Or, click here to purchase tickets now for pick-up at South Church at the start of your tour.

Visit the Pocket Garden Tour Facebook page for updates and tidbits. (www.facebook.com/PortsmouthPocketGardenTour)

Tickets can be purchased at South Church,

292 State St, Portsmouth