Explore Rhode Island Gardens

Summer events and tours around the state perfect for nature lovers

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Across Rhode Island, summer is in full bloom, and there are few things more restorative than wandering a garden path, admiring the sights and scents of the natural world. Tours are available all over 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 green spaces can be a natural fit for the whole family.

 

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

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

 

Green Animals Topiary Garden

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 spring – 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

 

Kinney Azalea Gardens

For nearly 70 years, visitors have been enjoying the 500+ varieties of azaleas and other flowers, shrubs, and trees at the backyard property of Tony and Elizabeth Kinney Faella. Photo-enthusiasts will love the picturesque Moon Gate, along with the Wildflower Walk, Troll Bridge, and other sights. Peak visiting times are May through June but gardens are in bloom all summer. No entrance fee, but donations keep it all going; find the donation box at the entrance with a $25 donation fee suggested for professional photographers. No pets. Open during daylight hours. 2391 Kingstown Road, Kingston

 

Lavender Waves Farm

Picture yourself on a stately gazebo surrounded by 4,000 plants and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped onto the luscious lavender fields of the French countryside. Sitting on 14 acres, the lines of lavender – spanning 10 different varieties – share the ground with animals like sheep, alpacas, a donkey, and peacock. Lavender lovers can purchase tickets online for farm events or shop the artisanal lavender-infused soaps, lotions, and scrubs available at the farm stand. Guests may also book a stay in the luxurious farm suite overlooking the lavender field and enjoy your very own rustic and chic retreat. 3814 Commodore Perry Highway, Wakefield

 

Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

Take a stroll on your very own self-guided tour through the lush landscape of Roger Williams Park. Lose track of time spotting koi fish and traversing the quaint wooden bridges over still waters in the Japanese Gardens. Or, find your way to New England’s largest public indoor display gardens at the Botanical Center. Guests also love waving hello to some residing goats and meandering through the Rose Garden’s paths peppered with over 100 varieties of the familiar flora. With an easy-to-walk design, this destination surely delights at any age. Floral Avenue, Providence

 

Sakonnet Garden

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 blooms 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 visit or register for a tour online. 510 West Main Road, Little Compton

 

URI Botanical Gardens

Peruse the grounds that have been pleasing passersby since 1992 with its carefully crafted array of blooming buds. Catch a glimpse of roses studding the paths or make your way to the perennial garden where butterflies flutter. Open every day from sunrise to sunset, the gardens are a tucked away treasure on the university’s sprawling campus. Be on the lookout for events, educational workshops, and tours put on by the URI Master Gardeners. 6 Greenhouse Road, Kingston

Check websites prior to visiting for any updates, restrictions, or accommodations. Private gardens may not be ADA-accessible.

 

Special Events

Early June: Open House atElectric 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 for staff 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 are $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. Statewide and nearby MA & CT. 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 showcase 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

Keep your wellies ready because Secret Garden 2021 Summer Garden Tours only happen during 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 each day begin in Storer Park. Tours are self-guided and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit RI public schools. Newport

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