Hydrangea Fest Offers Rare Look at the Private Gardens of Cape Cod
Double-hung windows with white frames. Brick chimneys that rise from steeply pitched gabled roofs. Second-story dormer windows, porch pillars, and classic brown shingles. Cape Cod homes are more than just a by-product of the storied New England vacation destination — they’ve inspired an entire architectural style.
But while Cape Cod homes are certainly identifiable by their specific brand of curb appeal, they are equally well known for their landscaping. From manicured lawns to decorative shrubbery, sprawling grounds to ornate fountains, the private gardens of Cape Cod celebrate the natural flora and fauna of the area — especially the white, pink, and blue hydrangeas that bloom across this coastal destination. Yet with most located on private property and not accessible to the public, these secret gardens remain just that — a well-kept Cape Cod secret.
The 2019 festival will run from July 12 through 21 and allow festival attendees a peek inside some of Cape Cod’s most breathtaking private gardens. Sure, sculpted bushes and ivy trestles may be slightly out of your personal budget — but whether you’re searching for a social media backdrop or a personal design inspiration, these beautiful garden tours are a bargain at just $5 per garden per person. Better yet, all proceeds benefit local non-profit organizations.
- Opening Night Party at Cape Cod Beer
- Hydrangea University
- Barnstable Education Foundation Garden Tours
- Garden Tours to Benefit Sturgis Library
- Annual Secret Garden Tour
- Unsung Hydrangea Stars
- Pruning Demonstrations
- Chatham Garden Club Tours
- Heavenly Hydrangeas Talk and Book Signing
Explore all of the Hydrangea Fest events here!
But the 60+ garden tours are only one part of Cape Cod’s annual Hydrangea Fest. The festivities start the night before the event’s official opening, as Cape Cod Beer hosts a kick-off party on July 11. Free to attend and open to all, the event will bring together locals, gardeners, nonprofits, and organizers of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest for a celebration of their hard work (and of the fun to come). The opening night party will also give attendees a chance to sample Cape Cod Beer’s Hydrangea Cocktail, available at the Hyannis brewery for the duration of the festival.
Other popular features of Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest include Hydrangea University, where participants can learn everything there is to know about the star of the ten-day festival. For the fourth year, Heritage Museums & Gardens will host this interactive half-day event, with expert speakers that include horticulturists and botanists from across the country. When the sessions conclude, guests can stick around for a tour of Heritage’s exquisite on-site gardens led by docents from the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society, during which they’ll get to see the Cape Cod Hydrangea Display Garden and North American Hydrangea Test Garden, where experts from across the country plant, grow, and study new hybrid strains of hydrangeas. In total, Heritage Museums & Gardens is home to eight different species and more than 170 cultivars of hydrangeas.
Whatever you choose to do during the day, make sure to work in some stops along the Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest Cocktail Trail. During the festival, each participating bar and restaurant along the trail will offer their own take on a hydrangea-inspired cocktail. Make it a point to try every drink before the festival ends…just maybe not all in one day.
The Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest will take place July 12–21, 2019, with gardens open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Monrovia Plants, Star Roses & Plants, Agway of Cape Cod and Cape Cod Beer.
This post is funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism