If you hear quacking on Mother’s Day in the vicinity of the Boston Common and Public Garden, it is likely to be coming from a little feathered friend of the human persuasion. The Friends of the Public Garden will celebrate Mother’s Day with Boston-area families during its annual Duckling Day event on Sunday, May 11th. This celebration, based on the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, has been a Boston tradition for more than 20 years. Attendees are encouraged to dress like characters from the story, and they don’t disappoint! Children of all ages are seen fashioning whimsical attire from feathered boas to hand-made costumes, many designed especially for this occasion. The fun-filled family event line-up includes a puppet show, craft activities, magic show, and a special reading of the book Make Way for Ducklings by actors from the Wheelock Family Theater.
Every year, children take part in the day’s parade through Boston’s most picturesque parks, dressed like characters from the story. Led by the Harvard University Marching Band, the parade that follows activities on the Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand will end in the Public Garden near the famous Make Way for Ducklings sculptures.
What you need to know:
· Register at www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org. (Savings are offered for online pre-registration.)
· On-site registration and event begins at 10:30 a.m. on Boston Common.
Do you have a second generation duckling? We are seeking families who went to Duckling Day as a child and are now bringing (or planning to bring) their own children this May. Please e-mail Karin at email@example.com.
Barbara Dunay’s name has been on the same mailbox in the same apartment building in her Beacon Hill neighborhood since she moved there in the late 1960s. It is the place she calls home. Recently, she admitted quite candidly that for several years she had been eyeing another location nearby. Barbara imagined what it might be like to have her name displayed on a plaque there, and as she frequently read names of others in the vicinity, she wondered how they made it happen. It was a bench! “I always thought the cost would be prohibitive, but it was actually very reasonable,” said Barbara. The cost may have been especially reasonable considering that this particular bench was made somewhat famous in the movie Good Will Hunting.
In 2013, Barbara bumped into a neighbor in her building and the conversation turned to the benches in the Public Garden that she couldn’t get off her mind – the views of the lagoon were fantastic. Lucky for her, that neighbor was Steve TenBarge, who last spring began working as a Staff Accountant for the Friends of the Public Garden; he had the answers she was looking for. He told her of the Tree and Bench Sponsorship Program which offers the public the opportunity to take part in the stewardship of the parks the Friends supports – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Several months later, Barbara’s new plaque was placed in front of the bench she selected in the PublicGarden, where her name will be displayed for the next 15 years. The inscription: A place for Barbara and her pups to pause,” in memory of the dogs who often accompanied her through the years on strolls through the Garden. Her current dog Kobe, a rescue from the Animal Rescue League of Boston, seems to be happy with her choice.
The Public Garden has been recognized as a 2014 “Editors’ Choice 2014 Home & Garden Award” winner in Yankee Magazine’s March/April issue. This exclusive designation recognizes Yankee’ editors’ favorite New England home & garden shops, public gardens, garden ornaments & furniture, garden accessories, and restaurant gardens.
“This special recognition of the Public Garden is a testament to the good work of the Parks and Recreation Department’s staff and to the many people who support the work of the Friends of the Public Garden,” said Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden, a parks advocacy group formed more than 40 years ago to protect and enhance the Public Garden, Boston Common, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. “We have been fortunate to play a significant stewardship role in collaboration with the Parks and Recreation Department to maintain this historic green space and facilitate wonderful enhancements.”
Boston’s Public Garden is the first public botanical garden in America, established in 1837. Its form, plantings, and statuary evoke its Victorian heritage. Today, the rich green landscape includes more than 500 trees, representing dozens of species and more than 100 varieties. The Garden is also home to significant sculptures, arguably two of the most notable being George Washington on horseback dating back to 1869, and the ducklings sculpture which celebrates Nancy Schön’s bestselling book Make Way for Ducklings. The much-visited statue of mother duck and her ducklings represents the part of the story in which they journey to an island in the Garden’s lagoon. The Public Garden is also well known for another set of Boston icons that reside there in warmer months, the Swan Boats, which take passengers for rides on the lagoon.
Needless to say, 2013 was a tough year for the Boston Marathon. However, in true #bostonstrong fashion, we are looking forward to making the 2014 Marathon the best one yet! We are thrilled to be represented in the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program by Team Friends of the Public Garden. Spurred on by the tragic events of last year, our team is determined to finish all 26.2 miles of the marathon while also raising money for care of the historic parks we support – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Team Friends of the Public Garden members are: Brian Ladley, Kate Norris, Robert Rogers, Lori Shoemaker, and Kristina Vetter. This fabulous group of five will be running for their love of the race, their love of the city of Boston, and the strong connections they share with our parks. Whether they grew up in Boston or have just moved here, they are eager to lace up their running shoes to participate in what is expected to be one of the most historic marathons of all time.
The Boston Marathon takes place on April 21st, Patriot’s Day. Leading up to the main event, we will be highlighting each individual team member of Team Friends of the PublicGarden. Be sure to check back to learn more about our team members and support their Boston Marathon run and the parks! Contributions of any size are most welcome and will help the Friends continue to care for our treasured green spaces.
We asked Sarah Hutt, our Collection Care Manager at the Friends to give us a list of sculptures in the parks we support (the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall) that we might highlight in honor of Women’s History Month. Visit these sculptures by women and sculptures of women to celebrate the month. She also reminded us of this terrific video, Boston Women’s Memorial: A Story in Images from the Women’s Heritage Trail.
- Edward Everett Hale (1912) by Bela Lyon Pratt
- Triton Babies Fountain (1922) by Anna Coleman Ladd
- Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1927) by Theo Alice Kitson
- Small Child Fountain (1929) by Mary E. Moore
- Boy and Bird Fountain (1934) by Bashka Paeff
- Bagheera Fountain (1986) by Lilly Saarinen
- Make Way for Ducklings (1987) by Nancy Schon
- Leif Eriksson (1887) by Ann Whitney
- Samuel Eliot Morisson (1982) by Penelope Jencks
- Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1973) by Ivette Compagnion
- Women’s Memorial /Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, Phillis Wheatley (2003) by Meredith Gang Bergmann
We hope you will enjoy these works of art to commemorate this month, and throughout the year. If you have a favorite piece or a story to share about your experiences with these works of art, we would love to hear from you.
More than a dozen trees will be removed from the Boston Common and Public Garden this week by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. We wanted to let our members and larger community know that the Friends of the Public Garden is aware of this project and has been communicating with Parks and Recreation about it. The Friends is in agreement that the removal of these trees is necessary for the betterment of the parks. The majority of the trees are Norway maples, an invasive species and are diseased and in a state of decline. All remaining trees have structural defects that warrant removal. In addition to tree removal, stump removal of all these trees as well as several existing stumps will be taking place shortly after.
Students from Emerson College recently made a field trip to the offices of Friends of the Public Garden. The group met with executive director Liz Vizza for a brief overview of the history of the parks, significant pieces of sculpture on display, and challenges associated with caring for these historic parks and their art.
Vizza explained the importance of collaboration with the City of Boston and how the public-private partnership makes it possible for the parks that the Friends works to maintain – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall – to be well cared for, and in some cases enhanced significantly. When she asked the students how many of them had visited the Brewer Fountain Plaza in warmer weather most nodded in the affirmative. The Boston Parks & Recreation Department restored the fountain in 2010. The Friends of the Public Garden launched a privately funded, $4 million companion project to revitalize the plaza and the parkland leading up to the State House. Vizza cited the project as an example of the positive things that can happen when the public and private realm work together to restore a significant piece of public art and create a vibrant public space, and said it’s a win-win for residents, visitors, the parks and art!