The Secret Garden Tour began just beyond this banner. The Hammond Harwood House Staff handed out brochures and gave gentle direction to attendees.

Secret Garden Tours are always fabulous and fun. The 2018 Hammond Harwood House Secret Garden Tour was a welcome surprise. When tourist’s come to the Nation’s Capital, the first and sometimes last stop is the National Mall. If you garden and love history, Maryland has something to offer as well. The Secret Garden tour has made a believer out of me.


Built in 1774, the Hammond Harwood House is an Anglo-Palladian home in Annapolis Maryland. Beautifully preserved and built for Mathias Hammond, the Hammond Harwood House is known for its 18th and 19th-century artifacts. Tours are offered that discuss everything from the structure’s history to the enslaved people to the paintings. This National Historic Landmark is open Wednesday through Monday, Noon to 5:00 pm. With a modest fee for the tours, the gardens remain free of charge.


Homeowners refreshing their landscapes for a worthy cause.

The Secret Garden Tour raises money that goes towards more in-depth educational programming. On the Hammond Harwood House website , one can find the numerous programs that are offered. With support from great companies like Oehme, Van Sweden and What’s Up Magazine, as well as numerous individual donors, I can see how this is a great investment. When I saw the guidebook with a colorful, well laid out design I knew I was in for a treat. With advertisers like Homestead Gardens, Beechbrook Landscape Architecture, Bartlett Tree and Sandy Spring Bank (to name a few) this Secret Garden Tour was just what I needed on a gray Saturday afternoon. I was not disappointed.


Along the way, one could see the effect of being along the way for a Secret Garden Tour. Every nook and cranny had a spot of color.

There were 15 homes on the tour. Ranging from bungalows to estates in the historic part of Annapolis. Wandering through the private yards and sometimes through low hanging alleyways, each home had a Docent to answer any questions.

Ruth Clausen, Docent on The Secret Garden Tour was amazed I knew the REAL Ruth Rogers Clausen, noted Author and Fellow GWA member.

Some of the Docents shared aspects of the gardens that one might not consider.  Hidden in a quiet nook at the first garden, I discovered an Olive tree. All along the way, the Docents shared special aspects of each garden.

While on the journey of the Secret Garden tour, I also looked at other gardens. One must have open eyes to appreciate the horticultural jewels found in the gardens of Annapolis.

Each garden captured the Patriotic style and spirit of Annapolis gardens.


You could not ignore this horticultural eye candy as you walked down the street.

Like the Georgetown Garden Tour, the Secret Garden Tour route allowed the attendees to wander through intimate neighborhoods, ducking under low overhanging alleyways and paths narrow enough for one. The anticipation as delightful, as I sought out the floral cutouts defining the exact locations.

Each home on The Secret Garden Tour had a distinctive floral cutout with a number. Keeping track is important when the weather was less than perfect. 15 gardens, looming rain clouds and spotty drizzle, would not stop this die-hard gardener.

I peeked over white picket fences, looked beyond the narrow view and sought out Docents that beckoned me while dodging lite raindrops. I was not sure if I would make it to all of the Secret Garden Tour sites. Each site had eager Docents, willing to share the highlights of each intimate space. Marylander’s are quite friendly and I love a good conversation, but I was on a mission and had to press on.

A basic azalea border can be clean and beautiful. A easy way to prepare for Tour Day.

A colorful combination of Fuchsia, Begonia and Sunpatience. Mounted in dappled shade, by August this container will be quite voluptuous.

Even along the linear walkways, the Hydrangea’s soften the wall, the purple door draws your eye and beckons passersby’s to enter.

This Secret Garden shared a healthy mix of shrubs and perennials. Tastefully done and definitely a Secret Garden. You would not know this was back here…

Approaching the final house, I captured a rabbit posing on the driveway beckoning me to more Hydrangea bushes around the bend.


Discovering the Secret Garden Tour as well as the Hammond Harwood House was such a treat. One of the deals in purchasing a ticket for the Secret Garden Tour was half price membership. I took advantage of this and look forward to exploring more of Annapolis, the gardens. the historic homes and the food.

This was the BEST burger EVER!! The staff was welcoming and allowed me to linger over the Lavender Fields of Kentucky

I paused at Dry 85. The tag line is Bourbon, Beer and Provisions. Not a beer lover, the Lavender Fields of Kentucky was divine. The burger was cooked to perfection and the special local seasoned fries were finger-licking good. So good, I will be back, even if there is no garden tour. I create a garden party wherever I go.

Next year, I will make room on my calendar to attend The Secret Garden Tour of Annapolis and seek out other authentic garden tours throughout the State. Oh those Maryland Gardens, will be my Garden Party battle cry. Some of the best, authentic local gardens I have seen so far in Maryland.

This is the herb garden and grilling area. This way the herbs are a mere few paces away for ease of cooking.


To find out more about events like the Secret Garden Tour click here:

To find out more about growing Hydrangea’s click here:

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