History buffs, architecture aficionados, and curious lookie-loos have anticipated the Providence Preservation Society’s annual Festival of Historic Homes, a 40-year tradition of exclusive access to some of the city’s notable old properties. While the event was cancelled last year, this summer offers a special opportunity to experience neighborhood gems in a way they haven’t been before.
“The Festival of Gardens was envisioned as an outdoor event that would work under even the most conservative guidelines,” explains Brent Runyon, executive director of PPS. “By focusing on gardens, this gave us a great opportunity to show off a different side of our historic, vibrant city.”
The Festival of Gardens is presented in partnership with The Garden Conservancy, whose mission aligns closely with PPS and preserves, shares, and celebrates gardens across the country. On June 12 and 13, visitors will be able to tour a selection of six private gardens at historic homes, plus a community garden and a garden stewarded by PPS since the 1930s.
These aren’t your average backyard beds: Discover features like a 21st century garden folly (a decorative structure popular in English and French landscape); a ‘70s interpretation of an 18th century boxwood parterre garden (geometric designs formed by ornamental plantings); and mid-century modern outdoor sculptures by distinguished artists with RISD connections. Visitors will even stumble across fruit trees, a hops trellis, and beehives, merging beauty with function.
Beyond city gardens, PPS defines these spaces as “urban sanctuaries” created by their green-thumbed homeowners. Purchase your tickets at ProvidenceHouseTour.com for self-guided and guided private tour options.