by Susan Harris
Charles Village is a real Baltimore neighborhood, one that knows how to put on a Garden Walk. A tour by another name, “walk” seems more casual, and this one certainly was. It helped that there weren’t hoards of tour-goers in these tiny gardens, so people mostly seemed to know each other and almost everyone served refreshments. It was a neighborhood party! All very friendly, and lots of residents expressed pride in Charles Village.
Before we see the backyard gardens on the Walk, check out these colorful and creative front yards in the neighborhood – I love ‘em!
Tour by Alley
Unlikely as it sounds, all the gardens on the Walk were accessed from the alley, and streets became irrelevant. Which reminded me of this article about Baltimore’s alleys being closed off, and how that’s changing the neighborhood. Very interesting urban planning issues are raised by the controversial act of gating both ends of alleys.
But let’s get to the gardens on this, the 31st Annual Charles Village Garden Walk. There were 23 in all, including a Victorian church garden and the multi-faceted garden at the Barclay School. The residential lots all seemed the same size, but some had additions and decks extending over the garden, and it was fascinating to see how unique personalities were expressed in these tiny city spots. Most gardens attempted privacy and enclosure, while some homeowners combined with their next-door neighbor to create one almost communal space. Urban gardening to the max!
Above left, the view to the alley. Below right, numbered Charles Village t-shirts hung from gates to mark each garden on the Walk.
One Charles Villager told me she can walk to everything, even the dentist. Looks like a great place to live.
Now a quick note about the photography. After driving an hour to the Charles Village part of Baltimore for this tour I discovered I’d left my camera at home – doh! But something I didn’t forget was my little Flip camcorder, so I recorded snippets of all the gardens, then grabbed still photos from each one for the photo array you see here. So excuse the low-quality photos but hey, at least they’re not cell phone photos!