Artists Get Ready for this Year’s South End Garden Tour

By Beth Treffeisen

As the time ticks down to the start of this year’s South End Garden Tour, gardeners are putting finishing touches on their gardens. To document all of the hard work, artists are preparing themselves to spend the day in the outdoors to sketch and paint the gardens and green spaces that make up the South End.

On Saturday, June 17, the tour will begin at The Berkeley Community Garden and features a robust mix of private backyard gardens, small pocket parks, and some interesting green spaces and courtyards in the Union Park, Eight Streets, Old Dover, and SoWa corners of the neighborhood.

Throughout the day artists will be seen in the gardens painting. During a reception following the tour,  a sale of their wet works will be on display.

To prepare for the upcoming tour, the following three artists will be participating.


Landscapes to gardens

Julia Purinton, will be one of the artists found on the garden tour this year. This will be her fifth time participating in the event.

“I love doing it!” said Purinton. “I’m praying for good weather.”

Her work typically focuses on landscapes that distill a narrative rather than descriptive intent. Purinton usually does her work in the studio from sketches and photographs over a period of weeks or months. She strives to produce an image that evokes a memory and sense of a moment.

During the garden tour Purinton said she usually does several very small 2×2 pieces of artwork that reflect the garden.

“I don’t typically paint gardens so it is always a fun exercise,” said Purinton.

But, during the garden tour, the time constraint and outdoor elements make it much harder. Purinton said that is hard to work with the limited depth of field, there is shifting light and a lot of brick that she usually doesn’t paint herself in her nature themed landscapes.

“It is a fun event,” said Purinton. “People come through and chat about the garden, the artists and even the neighborhood politics.”

Bold colors to

elaborate gardens

Marian Dioguardi an East Boston resident, has been on and off documenting the garden tour since the first time artists were introduced about five years ago.

Dioguardi’s artwork is known for her paintings of simple objects such as cups and laundry lines, in brave, bold and intensified colors.

“It is a completely different style in the gardens,” said Dioguradi. “The color language remains the same but the experience is totally different.”

Dioguardi who is used to doing still lives and inanimate objects said that painting gardens has a lot more to think about with the shifting light and outdoor elements such as the weather.

“I like to refer to painting gardens as extreme painting,” said Dioguardi. “It is hard to make a painting in four or five hours. It is like an athlete doing a triathlon.”

Dioguardi said she enjoys talking to the people in the garden who asks her questions about her artwork.

As a gardener herself, she enjoys seeing how other people design their gardens.

“I find the experience to be very wonderful,” said Dioguardi. “It is a honor for people to let me peak into their lives this way.”


Urban landscapes

to greener gardens

Elizabeth Taylor, an artist of the South End will be joining the South End Garden Tour for her sixth year.

Her paintings typically portray the urban landscape of the Back Bay or the South End. She also does portraits and drawings.

“It is very social and you get to see people you know,” said Taylor. “You also get to see peoples homes and gardens – it is very neighborhood like.”

Taylor said that painting gardens is quite challenging because you don’t know what the weather is going to be along with having to bring all of the tools such as the easel and paint outside.

Taylor is a gardener herself and grows vegetables and flowers at the Harrison Ave., Trust garden in the South End.

In addition, Taylor thinks this event would be great in neighborhoods across the city.

“It takes a little bit of organizing and if you have enough people to participate in it, it’s great,” said Taylor. “I think every neighborhood should have one.”

The tour begins at The Berkeley Community Garden (corner of Tremont & East Berkeley). Admission to the reception and sale is included in the tour admission.

Celebrating Father’s Day a day early special deals will be available for Dads at the tour. You can buy your ticket online and save at

Advance sale tickets are $24 for Trustees members and $30.00 for nonmembers.

Day of tour tickets will be available at the Tremont Street entrance to the Berkeley Community Garden for $28 Trustees members; $35 for nonmembers

(All tickets will be held at the Trustees tent at the Berkeley Community Garden entrance)

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