Smell the roses

Cherished spring tour opens the gates to 6 gorgeous Fort Worth gardens


Hidden Gardens Tour, Garden 3
Photo courtesy of Historic Fort Worth
Hidden Gardens Tour, Garden 6
Photo courtesy of Historic Fort Worth
Hidden Gardens Tour, Garden 4
Photo courtesy of Historic Fort Worth
Hidden Gardens Tour, Garden 5
Photo courtesy of Historic Fort Worth
Hidden Gardens Tour, Garden 1
Photo courtesy of Historic Fort Worth
Hidden Gardens Tour, Garden 2
Photo courtesy of Historic Fort Worth

Historic Fort Worth's Hidden Gardens Tour is one of the city's most cherished outdoor events of spring. The 16th edition, taking place 12-6 pm May 19, will open the gates to six private gardens in the historic Park Hill neighborhood, close to downtown and TCU. All proceeds from the event go toward preservation programs around the city.

As a special touch, during the tour, local artists will paint “plein air” in each garden. Their artwork will be available for sale, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Historic Fort Worth, Inc.

Tickets are on sale now for $25. (Reservations are also still available for a patron party and sunset tour on May 17.) Also, 2019 marks the first year of the Open Doors/Open Gates Weekend, a partnership of the Historic Fort Worth Garden Tour and AIA Homes Tour. Both tours will take place on the same weekend.

Here's a closer look at the gardens, with descriptions provided by Historic Fort Worth. (Addresses will be revealed to ticket-holders.)

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Pollinator paradise

Sitting high above the street, this ranch-style house with a lovely cottage garden showcases a world-traveling owner’s eclectic tastes and love of hands-on gardening.

As in many Fort Worth gardens, the roses here succumbed to disease recently, and slowly their loss is being replaced. But many delightful elements are thriving, and nothing is empty for long in this garden.

In the owner’s words, this really is a “pollinator” garden that is all about transformations. Birds, butterflies, and even goldfish are perfectly at home in this little piece of paradise.

Italian hospitality

There’s plenty of charm exuding from this beautiful Italianate home. Mosaic tiles on the front walk and a covered porch surrounded by archways hint at the luxuries that await one in the very private backyard.

There, an expansive lawn is edged with tall shade trees and lush flower beds. The inviting pool, classical fountain, palm trees, and Italian cypresses are all right at home with the Mediterranean style carried throughout.

A portico with full kitchen makes outdoor living and dining a welcome treat indeed.

Worldy influence

A private courtyard with decorative mosaics softened by grape ivy welcomes one to this pre-war Spanish-style home surrounded by multiple exterior spaces and lovely gardens.

Custom designed wrought iron gates from Mexico open to the beautiful backyard. A fountain with bespoke blue and white Portuguese tiles makes a focal point above the cool, inviting pool.

A recently renovated guest house completes the ultimate in outdoor living amenities that this home has to enjoy.

Historic charm

This stately 1929 home, which has elements of Colonial revival and Italian Renaissance, is a designated Local Historic Landmark. Majestic oak trees in the front and large pecan trees in the back attest to the home’s original intention of gardens of shade for year-round enjoyment.

Curving beds soften the hardscape and allow plants of all kinds to thrive in both sunny and shadowed areas. An original back house has been converted into a rustic wine cottage.

The extensive grounds are home to a lovely pool and “secret” garden, as well.

Tudor inspiration

Curves abound at this lovely Tudor-inspired home. Arched windows with artistic inlaid river rock and stone overlook a graceful circular patio. On the side, a wisteria-covered terrace extends the indoor space into the out-of-doors.

From there, another al fresco living area leads one down brick stairs to the lower level. A built-in outdoor kitchen for entertaining complements the serene pool, making it the perfect backyard for entertaining. Oh, and the family raises chickens here, too.

Rising from the ashes

A devastating fire four years ago took down the original house but didn’t dampen the spirits of the resilient owners. They embarked on a complete change and went with a contemporary design using rough-cut Leuders limestone.

Fortunately, a lot of the garden was reclaimable, which makes the house looks like it has been in place much longer than two years.

The backyard consists of several levels with a westward-viewing upper deck, a new outdoor kitchen, a free form pool, and wooden pathway leading to the lowest level for adventurous admirers to tackle.