Cape Cod’s quintessential garden showpiece, the fragrant hydrangeas, are in full bloom. For those with a penchant for peeking over picket fences to see the neighbor’s outdoor oasis, you now have the chance to explore these lush yards—no binoculars required.

From July 6-15, take in all the grandeur of the Cape’s signature flower and exquisite gardens at the annual Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, with daily tours of private gardens big and small from Bourne to Provincetown. All gardens are created and maintained by each homeowner, and proceeds go to a variety of nonprofit organizations.  There are also workshops, lectures, and events set up as part of the festival.

As you marvel at the bright blossoms, keep in mind that hydrangeas are fickle flowers. Some varieties, including the pink and blue ones, change hue depending on factors in the soil, including pH, so consider the gardener and all their work when you stop to admire the colorful bouquets.

Here’s how to make the most of the festival:

Admire Hidden Gardens
The highlight of the expertly cultivated festivities is seeing the work of dedicated gardeners across the Cape who work nights and weekends to keep their plots in tip-top shape. Delight in hidden green spaces with sculptures, koi pond, bird sanctuaries, organic spaces that serve as both floral and edible gardens, butterfly gardens, and of course, the star of the show - big, bold hydrangeas. The private garden tours will benefit over 20 nonprofit organizations.

Take a Workshop
Want to turn a black thumb green or learn about the history of these bright flowers? There are lots of workshops all week long. Heritage Museums and Gardens holds their third annual Hydrangea University, with speakers offering guidance on everything from pruning tips and inspirations to keep your garden looking lush, to instruction on maintaining perfect color.  There’s also a book signing with Joan Harris (July 10). Hyannis Country Garden has a full program both weekends including how to keep your hydrangeas happy. Highfield Hall and Gardens will show you how to display these beauties with a flower arranging class. They’re also hosting a plant sale (July 15).

Hit the Cocktail Trail
For those who want to imbibe between blooms, several bars and restaurants across Cape Cod are serving Hydrangea-inspired cocktails for the duration of the festival. Choose from the likes of the Happy Hydrangea from Cape Cod Beer, the Frozen Hydrangerita from the Grand Cru Wine Bar, and The Royal Treatment from the Cape Cod Package Store, among others.

Explore Gardens of Provincetown
Provincetown Art Association & Museum hosts its grand event on the last day of the festival. On Sunday, July 15, garden gates are thrown open (for attendees) across town for the 21st Annual Secret Garden Tour. The self-guided tour through private gardens is organized in a walkable loop through a residential neighborhood.

Kick Off the Festival with a Bang (or Bloom)
Mingle with other gardeners and those that appreciate them at the opening night party at Cape Cod Beer (July 5). It’s free to attend and open to the public.

For a full list of events and garden tours, visit