If gardeners are ever truly green, it is probably with envy, an emotion that commonly overtakes them when they see someone else's garden.
That's never more true than on garden tours, when you pay for a ticket to see gardens that are nicer than yours.
Home and garden tours clutter the calendar in late May and early June, when the weather might still be mild and the gardens are at their peak of color and freshness.
Saturday and Sunday in Reservoir Hill, Charles Village and Annapolis' Murray Hill neighborhood, many "little gems" will be on display on self-guided walking tours.
It is the 15th year for the Historic Reservoir Hill tour, featuring 35 homes and gardens. Temperatures of more than 100 degrees last year limited the crowd to about 300, down from a peak of 500 the year before, said organizer David Horn.
"But they are talking upper 70s, low 80s and clear," he said. "Perfect."
The neighborhood associations in Bolton Hill and Reservoir Hill charge $10 each day for the user-friendly tour of six city streets. Maps and balloons mark the way. The money is used for community projects, including renovating park areas and funding community garden projects with students from John Eager Howard Elementary School.
This year, the tour will also feature craftspeople on Park Avenue selected from among Baltimore's best and wine sales from Boordy Vineyards.
Tickets are available at the corner of Park Avenue and Reservoir Street. Houses and gardens will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
This marks 30 years for the Charles Village Garden Walk, a tour of 30 backyard gardens from 20th Street to 25th Street between Howard Street and Guilford Avenue. It is part of the weekend's Charles Village Festival, but the gardens are only open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the Garden Walk Booth at Charles and 29th streets.
And in Annapolis, the historic Hammond-Harwood House is sponsoring a tour of the "secret" gardens in Murray Hill, gardens that are totally or partially hidden from street view.
Most of the 13 gardens are new to the tour, which is in its ninth year and drew 2,500 visitors last year, despite rain. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the tour, but are good for both days. They can be purchased online at hammondharwoodhouse.org (click on "Special Events") or by calling 410-263-4683, ext. 10.
The tour starts at Acton's Landing on Richard's Lane, the development that took the place of the old Anne Arundel General Hospital. Other gardens are on Shaw, Franklin and Thompson streets, Southgate and Taney avenues and are open Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
If you decide to take one of these tours, don't be discouraged if what you see doesn't compare to what you have. This isn't a competition.