Boston’s Hidden Gardens

If you’ve got an hour to spare, you find the great outdoors—in the middle of Boston! Boston is full of hidden natural treasures, green spaces are hidden in plain site, tucked away in corners near the heart of the city.

With dozens of urban wilds, cloistered rose arbors, secret gardens, and secluded parks just steps off the beaten path, there’s always a place near you where you can take a hike, gaze at flowers, or just relax and enjoy sitting in the green scene.

Boston’s biggest hidden natural treasure, the Allandale Woods urban wild in Jamaica Plain sprawls over 86 acres—but you can’t see it from the street! The only marked official entrance to the site is from a parking lot behind the Annunciation Church. Enter there, and you’ll walk into a different world.

Allandale Woods/ Meg Muckenhoupt

Allandale Woods/ Meg Muckenhoupt

Boston’s urban wilds are pockets of wild land around Boston where you can see what the city looked like 400 years ago; forests, marshes, meadows and streams. The Allandale Woods’ urban wild’s extensive trails travel through a shady oak-hickory forest full of wild blueberries and huckleberries, a cattail marsh, and past scenic Rock Pond.

If you’re in a more formal mood, the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Back Bay Fens awaits you. Nestled inside a high yew hedge, the Kelleher Rose Garden is bursting with more than 200 varieties of roses with blossoms on display from June through November. Stroll through the arched entrance and you’ll enter a colorful, secret world of graceful arbors, shady seats, and rich fragrance.

Want a bit more variety? Two blocks away from the Kelleher Rose Garden (and three blocks from Fenway Park!) is Ramler Park, a half-acre gem on Peterborough Street. While the park’s center is designed for quiet relaxation with a neat lawn, a shady arbor, and a stately fountain, Ramler Park also attracts dozens of species of birds with native plantings including white pines and sweet gum trees, bayberries, dogwoods, crabapples and hawthorns, and wildflowers.

Ramler Park/ Meg Muckenhoupt

Ramler Park/ Meg Muckenhoupt

 For even more hidden gardens, look up! Boston’s roof gardens give you a city view with a twist. The Shops at Prudential Center shelter two parks above the city: the South Garden along the Huntington Arcade, and the Sitting Grove adjoining the Mandarin Oriental Boston hotel. The popular South Garden features a sprawling lawn, a fountain, and colorful plantings of roses and perennial flowers. Tucked away at the edge of the Shops, the spacious Sitting Grove offers a quiet, shady space to relax. 

Prudential Sitting Grove/ Meg Muckenhoupt

Prudential Sitting Grove/ Meg Muckenhoupt

The natural world is waiting. If you want to find more places like this, go buy the app!