Hartford Blooms History

More than twenty years ago, on a sister city trip to Ireland, Mayor Mike Peters – amazed at the floral beauty of the Irish towns – challenged City Councilman Mike McGarry with the task of “blooming” Hartford. Upon his return, Councilman McGarry wasted no time in mobilizing Hartford residents as well as neighborhood and community organizations through the development of “Hartford Blooms.”

Spring forward 23 years!

Today, in 2017, Hartford Blooms continues to thrive as on-going beautification project that includes flowering pots in neighborhoods and throughout the downtown area, and operates in coordination with vastly expanded KNOX efforts that include wide scale planting, growing and training operations. Year after year, Hartford Blooms continues to grow. Ashley Street in Asylum Hill … home after home in the West End … Columbia Street – all stunning in their floral and architectural presentations. To date, well more than 100 outstanding private gardens have been identified and honored at the annual Hartford Blooms award ceremony.

In 2014, (20 years after the trip to Ireland), Hartford Blooms initiated its 20th Anniversary Garden Tour – a nine-day showcase of not only Hartford’s outstanding private gardens, but its beautiful public gardens: Elizabeth Park, Cedar Hill Cemetery, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, the Butler-McCook House and Garden, and so many others. The tours were attended by hundreds of individuals, and more than thirty garden clubs and tour groups from throughout New England.

Hartford Blooms 2017

On June 2-5, the 2017 Hartford Blooms Garden Tours will once again show off a palette of color across the city’s public and private gardens, historic properties, corporate and educational campuses. The beautification of Hartford engenders community pride, enhances the city’s image, and encourages others to join in the further botanical development of our city’s diverse neighborhoods and the downtown area.

Hartford Blooms continues to be led by Mike McGarry, who has continued to be a hands-on advocate of Hartford’s beautification. Mike supports the efforts of organizations such as KNOX, the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association (AHNA), Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA), the West End Civic Association (WECA) and encourages residents throughout Hartford to improve their properties through gardening.

The Hartford Blooms Tours take visitors into “secret” public gardens they may have never known existed, to private gardens and, to the sites of Hartford’s iconic architecture. One of this year’s highlights will be a Land Rover Adventure where attendees will tour the surprisingly gorgeous and solar powered “Mount Trashmore” (former landfill in the North Meadows) and the Connecticut River Dike in off-road, four-wheeling fashion. Unfortunately, the “Land Rover Adventure” was cancelled at the last minute by the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). There will be no Land Rover Tours of Mount Trashmore this year. We are very sorry for any inconvenience. 

Also, back is the tour of the Colt complex, concluding with a climb up into the iconic blue onion dome, where visitors will have the opportunity to take in the 360-degree view of the city. Other points of interest include a special tree tour at Cedar Hill Cemetery, the little Park River walk, Parkville’s Design District Open House, and the completed iQuilt walk from the train station to the river.