MALT’s annual tour of lush private gardens returns

by Carla Robinson
Posted 5/26/22

Mt. Airy Learning Tree’s ever-popular annual fundraiser, the Hidden Gardens Tour, is back this year. 

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MALT’s annual tour of lush private gardens returns


After two years on hold due to COVID, the Mt. Airy Learning Tree’s ever-popular annual fundraiser, the Hidden Gardens Tour, is back this year. 

Scheduled for Sat., June 4, this year’s lineup will include a variety of private gardens - but you won’t know which ones until the day arrives, as the suspense is part of the pleasure. They’ll range in type from sustainable, traditionally English, built out of found objects, pollinators, edibles, and one garden so abundant it became a flower farm. 

“This is a big deal for us, to bring back this beloved tour,” said Janet Gala, MALT’s executive director. “People really love this event. They come back year after year, bringing their sister or their brother or their friend….It’s almost part of their spring ritual.”

The tour is self-guided and includes gardens in Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, Germantown and Wyndmoor, so attendees will need a car. Each stop will have expert gardeners available to answer questions. Tickets are $29 if you register, $35 if you pay on the day of the tour.

“This is totally a volunteer driven event,” Gala said. “Each of these gardens belong to homeowners who are opening up their homes to welcome people into their spaces, and support the Learning Tree. We also have volunteer garden ambassadors on hand, who are showing up to help. That’s really pretty extraordinary.”

According to Gala, tickets are selling fast. She’s already sold almost 200, which would have been a typical turnout in previous years, and registrations are still coming in. 

“I think people are really hungry to get back out and participate in events like this,” she said.

The Mt. Airy Learning Tree enrolls more than 5,000 students a year in 750 classes, including everything from art to cooking, t'ai chi to glassblowing, rowing on the Schuylkill to poetry, computers, and learning how to become a Zoom master. 

“Our goal is to connect neighbors to neighbors, and to connect them to the community,” Gala said. “We’re a very social group, and a great way to meet people.”

While the group is based in Mt. Airy, students come from Chestnut Hill, Germantown, Roxborough, Wyndmoor and Glenside as well. 

“We hold almost 30 percent of our classes in Chestnut Hill,” she said. 

When COVID came along the group coped by offering classes online. But more and more people are seeking to return to in-person classes, Gala said. 

“For the fall, 33 percent of people chose to enroll online. That number shrank to 30 percent in the winter, and this spring it's down to 25 percent,” she said. “People want to come back together, that’s what we’re seeing.” 

Pick up your information packet and map at Ned Wolf Park, located at the corner of McCallum and Ellet Streets in Mt. Airy between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon. Gardens will remain open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm., Tour is rain or shine. In the event of heavy rain, the event will be moved to June 11.

Sponsors include Sweet Sassafras, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, Flowering Dogwood, Chestnut Hill Hospital,  NewCourtland,  Abington Friends School, Philly Office Retail, George Woodward Co., Univest Financial, David Brothers Landscape Services and Eric Prine Real Estate.

To register or get more information, go to or call 215-843-6333.