If you #enjoytroy, have a (green) thumb, and a bit of curiosity, but didn’t get your steps in at yesterday’s Hidden Garden Tour, boy did you miss a good thyme.
Making its 19th run yesterday, the Troy Hidden Garden Tour is technically a fundraiser to benefit Troy’s Prospect Park, but it’s so much more than that. It was my first time attending, and for a $10 ticket it’s an incredibly unique opportunity to explore Troy from a different vantage point.
You can channel your inner Sherlock by checking out otherwise off-limits-yet-completely-gorgeous historic properties, mingle with fellow hidden garden tourists and the gracious and hospitable gardeners themselves (chocolate mocha cupcakes, anyone?!), get your steps in (I clocked a few miles, holla), develop an appreciation for the urban gardens, and leave feeling a little more inspired by the magic that can happen in a 20’ x 30’ backyard blank canvas. When I tell you the possibilities are endless, I mean it.
Although it goes down every year, rain or shine, (just ask Jack), we seriously couldn’t have asked for a better, more picture perfect afternoon to set out on foot and live vicariously through the talented and lucky gardeners who planted some roots worth talking about. Who has two green thumbs and knows how to create an alternate reality in their own backyard? The urban gardening wizards of Troy, that’s who. My thumbs are green with envy just thinking about these unassuming, private sanctuaries in the city.
The self-guided style walking tour featured close to 30 private backyard gardens in the Historic Sage College, Washington Park, and adjoining neighborhoods of downtown Troy.
It’s the ultimate, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” lesson, personified. IMHO, there’s no better way to explore a new or familiar city than by walking and taking time to stop and
Instagram smell the roses, and the Hidden Garden Tour is one of those rare days where you can be a tourist in your own neighborhood.
Prepare to be wowed as you cross the threshold between sidewalk and secret garden, wondering if you took a wrong turn and fell down Alice’s rabbit hole because you are now in another world, far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Troy.
Urban gardeners proudly showcased their beautiful gardens and tranquil retreats with a welcoming vibe making you feel less like a nosey intruder, and more like an old friend. Some even had snacks, wine and homemade cupcakes!
You know their hidden urban gardens are a labor of love inspired by the idea to create an oasis of their own, achieved by an immeasurable amount of blood, sweat and tears.
These wizards create the most inviting and relaxing spaces, and once you step foot into these lush escapes, you won’t ever want to leave.
I was genuinely shocked at how many people participated –the streets and alleyways were swarming with hordes of hidden garden PIs going gaga over the leafy hideaways. This year’s maps outlining the route and participating properties were printed on bright magenta paper, and it seemed everyone had one in hand, accessorizing like the world’s greenest gang (Watch out, Bloods and Crips, you don’t want to mess with the Friends of Prospect Park!).
Schenectady hosts a similar event, alternating every year between touring the secret gardens of the historic Stockade District and the GE Realty Plot, but damn, after attending my first (and definitely not last) Hidden Garden Tour in Troy, Schenectady really needs to step up its game! Of course, I’m referring to the tourists, and not the gardeners, because wow, there is some amazing talent along the Mohawk, jus’ sayin’.
Moral of the story: Peace, quiet, and privacy can be hard to find amid the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas, but there’s no challenge that good design can’t tackle. While we all don’t have the time, space, or disposable income to landscape the sh*t out of whatever patch of earth we call our own, events like Troy’s Hidden Garden Tour might be just the inspiration we need to transform an otherwise dull backyard, littered with mismatch camp chairs and a rusty fire pit, and turnip the beet. Turn those dandelions into damndelions.
I admit, this post isn’t robust with pictures I took myself, but that’s just because I was so focused on bringing you the experience via Instagram Stories on the 2BD Instagram account, so thanks to the social media savvy IG users who posted to Instagram using #troyhiddengardentour. If you’re craving the firsthand experience (duh), then by all means take a few minutes to stop and smell the roses by hopping on over to the 2BD Instagram Story before they expire tonight.
Troy’s gardens are full of secrets, and honestly that’s probably why they’re so darn good. Hosta la vista, baby. I will see you again next year!
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