Neighborhood Garden Clubs Find New Ways to Make Ends Meet

As gardens and greenspace have become more essential than ever before during the pandemic, it’s also made fundraising for groups like the Beacon Hill Garden Club and the Garden Club of the Back Bay, which were both forced to cancel in-person events last year, more challenging and subsequently compelled them to find new and creative ways to make ends meet.

The Beacon Hill Garden Club had to cancel the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Tour, which typically draws around 2,000 visitors to the neighborhood, last year due to the pandemic, but it’s returning this year, albeit as a virtual event this time.

Molly Sherden, president of the Beacon Hill Garden Club, said the Hidden Gardens Tour would take place as a virtual event debuting June 30 and feature seven gardens, at least two of which have never been seen before on a previous tour.

The idea was inspired by the virtual tour that the Concord Museum hosted last year, which, Sherden said, proved to be a successful outing for them. So Sherden said she reached out to Jennifer Craig, the museum’s development director and “quizzed her about how they pulled it together and did what they did.”

Filming for this year’s virtual Hidden Gardens Tour will take place in May, Sherden said, so “the gardens are in a state of bloom,” and so that the videographer will then be allotted a full month to edit the video before its release.

While Sherden looks forward to the Hidden Gardens Tour returning as in-person event, she said, “We hope this will be the one year where people can see it from anywhere in the world.”

Advance tickets for the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Tour will be available at the Beacon Hill Garden Club’s website at for $25 each, or you can buy a ticket and one of the Garden Club’s books for $45, which, Sherden said, is quite a bargain since a book alone retails for $35.

The Garden Club of the Back Bay’s biggest annual event, the Twilight Gala Garden Party, has been cancelled both this and last year due to the pandemic, so the group has launched an annual appeal to help it raise the approximately $20,000 it spends each year to prune and care for city-owned sidewalk trees.

“This year, we knew we couldn’t have an in-person event,” said Catherine Borden, co-president of the Garden Club of the Back Bay, “so we decided to do an annual appeal, although we want to go back to in-person fundraising again at some point.”

Despite the Twilight Gala Garden Party’s cancellation last year, it was still lucrative for the Garden Club of the Back Bay, thanks to the generosity of some supporters.

“We were well into planning for our annual fundraiser last year when the whole world shut down,” Borden said, “and when it was cancelled, many of sponsors and guests converted their sponsorships and ticket purchases into donations, which we very much appreciated.”

To donate to the Garden Club of the Back Bay’s annual appeal to support its tree care efforts, click on

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