As dependable as a prized perennial, garden tours pop up every spring in St. Louis, offering a peek inside some of the area’s most beautiful landscapes. A cherished annual ritual, it becomes even more special when it only happens once every three years.

On June 12, garden lovers visited the eight spectacular private gardens featured on the sold-out St. Louis Garden Tour, presented by Missouri Botanical Garden. The six-hour tour was barely long enough to take in every superb detail, and one issue isn’t enough share it with our readers. Featured on these pages are the gardens of Portland Place, and over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you landscapes reminiscent of global travels from Tahiti to Tuscany.

20 Portland Place

    Anchored by a lawn so perfect it looks like it should be vacuumed rather than mowed, this garden reflects the balanced harmony of the Georgian Revival manor designed in 1927 for the son of David Francis, former St. Louis mayor, Missouri governor and U.S. ambassador to Russia. The verdant panorama is framed by precisely trimmed hornbeams, boxwood and azalea, with a back wall hedge of Southern magnolia and climbing hydrangea.

28 Portland Place

    A majestic pin oak has welcomed visitors to this naturalized woodland for more than a century, providing abundant shade for a secluded white garden ‘room’  just inside the gate. Steps away, a gently winding path is lush with naturalized perennials, including bee balm, Japanese anemone, bear’s britches and oak leaf hydrangea. The garden’s sculpture collection includes works by celebrated American artist Ella Tulin. With the serenity of a sylvan lake, a glistening black-bottom pool blends seamlessly into the natural setting.