Providence Preservation Society

Festival of Gardens

Public Programs

Preserving the Peoples’ Park, a walking tour of the Japanese and Victorian Rose Gardens at Roger Williams Park

Open to the public since 1871, Roger Williams Park was intended to serve as a restorative escape for those living and working in increasingly urban Providence from the very beginning. Today, the park’s 435 beautiful acres include expansive manicured grounds, public gardens, walking paths, and several historic buildings in full use for public enjoyment. Stroll the park with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about its origins as part of the Urban Parks Movement and the efforts required to maintain this important community resource today.

June 5, 12 pm (limited capacity)


Rehabilitating a Historic Garden: Preserving Living History at Shakespeare’s Head, a virtual presentation by landscape architect Elena Pascarella, PLA, ASLA

What is a cultural landscape and why do they matter? Landscape Architect Elena Pascarella discusses these questions and more in relation to PPS’s own Colonial Revival garden behind the building known as Shakespeare’s Head (the John and Amey Carter house). Pascarella’s firm, Landscape Elements LLC, recently completed a Cultural Landscape Report for this PPS urban garden, one which considers historic character, climate change, sustainability, and visitor access to this 80-year-old garden in need of refreshing. Elena will present her findings and treatment recommendations in this engaging talk about a hidden jewel of a garden in downtown Providence.

June 7, 4 pm
Free and open to the public

Info & RSVP on EventBrite

Putting Down Roots: Revitalizing the John Brown House Museum’s Great Lawn; a virtual presentation by RIHS Executive Director C. Morgan Grefe

The location of more than 100 concerts, the starting point of thousands of walking tours, and a beautiful spot of quiet contemplation for countless visitors, the great lawn of the John Brown House became a shadow of its former self as its ancient elms were ravaged by Dutch Elm Disease. It became clear to the Rhode Island Historical Society, the stewards of the property, that drastic action would need to be taken to bring life back to one of the largest, publicly accessible greenspaces on Benefit Street. In this talk, RIHS Executive Director C. Morgan Grefe will explore how the RIHS approached its revitalization plan and process, known as “Putting Down Roots,” to not replicate this historic landscape, but rather seek inspiration from the past, with an eye to sustainability, climate changes, and the evolving needs of our communities.

June 8, 4 pm
Free and open to the public

Presented in partnership with the Rhode Island Historical Society

Info & RSVP on EventBrite

Outside / Inside: The Public and Private Lives of Houses and Their Gardens, a virtual presentation by RISD Professor Emeritus James Barnes, AIA

This year’s Festival features gardens, rather than houses, but most of them complement beautiful historic homes. While we can’t invite you inside this year, local architect and RISD professor James Barnes will explore how these homes and gardens navigate the relationship between the public life of the street and private lives within. Learn more about the history of these buildings before touring their eye-catching landscapes on June 12.

June 9, 4 pm
Free and open to the public

Info & RSVP on EventBrite

Re-Wilding the City: Urban Landscapes as Integral City Infrastructure, a walking tour of Living Edge and 10,000 SUNS with landscape architect and artist Adam Anderson

There are few more photographed landscapes in Providence than Adam Anderson’s 10,000 SUNS installation, which sets a field of riotous sunflowers against the dramatic city skyline. In 2019, Anderson expanded his landscape vision along the Providence River, with the creation of the nearby Living Edge pocket park that addresses ideas around climate change, community, resilience, and history. Join the mastermind behind these two iconic landscapes on this tour that highlights the ways in which these urban greenspaces enhance and are enhanced by the built environment.

June 10, 5:30pm (limited capacity)
$10 PPS / Garden Conservancy members | $15 non-members

Info & tickets on EventBrite