The Cummer: Open Days Garden Tour

March 30, 2019 @ 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
829 Riverside Avenue
FL 32204

Explore five gardens in Jacksonville, open for self-guided tours to benefit the Garden Conservancy and The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Highlights include a columned portico, riverfront terraces, formal boxwood enclosed gardens, a classic parterre, and multiple water features. No reservations required; rain or shine.

Four private homes in San Marco will open their gardens to benefit The Cummer.

  • The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 829 Riverside Avenue: Begin the day here to purchase day passes, admission to the Cummer is included. The Museum’s two-and-one-half acres of historic gardens are unique examples of early twentieth-century garden design, featuring reflecting pools, fountains, arbors, antique ornaments, and sculptures. The majestic Cummer Oak has a canopy of more than 150 feet and is one of the oldest trees in Jacksonville. After the tours, plan to have lunch in the Cummer Café. Reservations at the café are suggested; please call 904-899-6022.
  • The McCalla Garden: The gardens here emulate the casual elegance of a French country estate, with rock walls and stone baths adding dimension and leading you from the gate house along paths to the guest cottage and koi pond. Walk through columned portico to the river front terraces and gardens, then along garden paths continuing from the river to the fountain and spa gardens. The holly trees and magnolias were planted in 2003 as construction started. Other plantings include azaleas, bougainvillea, roses and hydrangea.
  • The Hardington Garden: There are a total of six connecting spaces within the grounds: front facing gardens with a “natural” double hedge green barrier in lieu of wall and gates, a south facing music terrace and reflective shade garden, a north facing guest patio and shade area, a rear facing English butterfly garden terrace, patio pool and entertaining terrace, and a Zoysia grass soccer field. The gardens are inspired by the owners heritage and years living in London, and reflect their love of trees and shrubs, in particular American maples, Japanese maples, Drakes Chinese elms, multi-stem loquat (Japanese “plum”) trees, magnolias, holly trees, Camellia sasanqua, ferns, azaleas, and agapanthus.
  • The Slay Garden: Begin at a charming arrival court with plantings designed to complement the style of the house and focus guests’ view toward the beautiful front door of the house. Down the stairs, the entry garden is a more formal boxwood period garden with plants blooming through the year: azaleas, camellias and sasanquas, agapanthus, plumbago and thryallis. This garden flanks the canal and shows off the wonderful live oak trees with their canopies hanging over the water. Follow the brick walk to the back yard, where there is a wonderful surprise. There is no garden here, but instead a wealth of activity of areas for the homeowners’ enjoyment.
  • The Thomas Garden: A classic fountain anchors the plantings in the front yard, where visitors can follow the path through the small rose garden, containing the Lutyens bench, to the secret garden beyond the arch. At the front of the house is a delightful courtyard entry garden. In the back of the home, while the focus is the St. Johns River, enjoyment of that view is enhanced by the addition of a new spacious covered porch at the back of the house and an arbor at the pool, both designed by Richard Skinner & Associates. The garden areas are varied with a classic parterre garden by the porch and a summer flower garden beyond. ‘Belinda’s Dream’ roses flank the arbor, with a small more formal garden to view at the opposite end of the pool. Massive azaleas left by the former homeowner thrive in the shady part of the yard. There is much to enjoy here all year long, and all is enhanced by the owners’ collections of garden ornamentation.

$30 day pass for all four private gardens and the Cummer Museum, or $10 per private garden; children 12 and under free. Day passes are available at the Cummer Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit for more information.

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