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Meet the trees: Dawn Redwood

October 20, 2015

FOPG Dawn Redwood

The Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is an Asiatic, deciduous conifer that has a storied past and deep Boston roots. This beautiful tree was well known to science from the fossil record – fossils had been found in North America, Asia, and Greenland– but was thought to be extinct. In 1943, a Chinese forester discovered a living specimen, and in 1946 Chinese scientists realized that it was the same plant as the fossil. In 1948, an expedition from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University collected seeds from the original tree, of which many ornamental Dawn Redwoods are descendants.

Dawn Redwoods grew widely in the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs dominated the fauna. They date back 100 million years in the fossil record, but are now restricted to several small stands in China. Classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the fast growing tree is now planted widely at botanic gardens and parks around the world.

Its pale green needles and ferny foliage turn pink and gold to brown in the fall before dropping off. Its conical growth form is distinctive, and it is often planted along waterways or in groves. The specimens in the Public Garden were likely planted in the 1950s.

How amazing that this ancient species, with help from humanity, has recolonized its Mesozoic range after being reduced to a single population!


Claire Corcoran is an ecologist and member of the Friends of the Public Garden Board of Directors. She is a self proclaimed “tree hugger” and dedicated advocate for greenspace in Boston and beyond. Claire lives in the South End of Boston with her husband and three children.

FOPG Online Auction to Close on Oct. 21

October 20, 2015

As the Friends online art auction winds down to a close at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, we thought you might like to see which items are currently topping the list for bids. There are plenty of items left to bid on so don’t let a little competition scare you, instead let it serve as the inspiration to compete for wonderful pieces of art and support the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in the process.

FOPG Online AuctionHere is your only chance to own a scale replica of Mrs. Mallard. This unique, one of a kind piece was sculpted by artist Nancy Schon, who created the iconic “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture in the Boston Public Garden. What an incredibly special gift this would make for a Bostonian, or a visitor, who truly loves one of the most popular pieces of public art in Boston.

FOPG Online AuctonFOPG Online AuctonCelebrate the fall season with this beautiful and unique Katherine Houston Porcelain piece for yourself, or give this as a gift to one of your very best friends! A wonderful centerpiece or accent and will bring warmth and elegance all year round. Handmade and hand over-glazed.

FOPG Online AuctonThis large bowl is made with wood from a Boston Common American elm tree by Artist Myer Berlow.

2015 Members Reception Celebrates Trees and Friends Who Support Them

October 19, 2015

Thanks to all who joined us for the Friends of the Public Garden 2015 Members Reception at the Four Seasons Hotel! It was a night to celebrate trees and our Friends who support them.

Roughly 200 turned out to learn how they are helping 1,700 trees in the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The presentation, Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care, was led by Lyn Paget, Swan Boats owner and Friends Council co-chair. Panelists Margaret Porkorny, longtime greenspace advocate and Friends Board Member; and Friends Project Manager Bob Mulcahy explained the trials and tribulations these trees face while living in the heart of Boston, and how the Friends efforts continue to help them persevere in a stressful city environment.

Friends of the Public Garden 2015 Members Reception

Margaret Porkorny holds up a beetle trap used to capture and track the elm bark beetle, a carrier of Dutch elm disease. She asks the audience to guess how many are on the trap. Comment on this post if you would like to take a guess.

Guests were invited to mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres following the presentation. Our special thanks to the Motor Mart Garage, our lead sponsor for this event.

A Day to Celebrate Trees and Start Bidding for Them

September 25, 2015

Berlow large bowl 1

October 7 will be a day to celebrate trees and support the roughly 1,700 in the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in more ways than one!
Members Reception
Join us at the Four Seasons for our Members Reception at 6:30 p.m. for “Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care,” a behind-the-scenes exploration into our 45-year efforts to help the trees in our three treasured greenspaces persevere in the stressful environment of an urban park. Find out what a dramatic difference your support makes to the health of our park trees.
The discussion will be moderated by Friends Council co-chair & Swan Boats owner Lyn Paget. It will  feature panelists  Margaret Pokorny, a greenspace advocate and Friends Board member, and Friends Project Manager Bob Mulcahy.

Please RSVP at 617-723-8144 or by e-mail to by October 1. The event is free for members, but space is limited. You can join the Friends or renew your membership at this event! Reception with refreshments to follow program.

Online Art Auction 
The Friends Online Art Auction will also kick-off at 12 Noon on October 7 featuring art pieces made of Boston Common elm wood and other fun objects. Visit our online art auction page to view the auction catalog.
We hope you join us for a wonderful evening to celebrate our trees and will be inspired to bid to support their care!

Update on White Memorial Restoration and Boston Common Advocacy

September 25, 2015

The Friends is embarking on a campaign to restore the George Robert White Memorial

Photo: Elizabeth Jordan


We hope you had a terrific summer and are ready for what is sure to be a spectacular fall. Thanks to all of you who joined us for our Summer Party and came out to support our treasured greenspaces!

The past few months have been a busy time as people flocked to our parks to take full advantage of these wonderful outdoor spaces. We also took full advantage of the favorable weather to care for trees, turf, and sculpture, and move forward with special projects. If you missed it, you may be interested to read the Boston Globe article, They get the gunk off Boston’s outdoor treasures. Yes, Friends, you are the “they” who make it possible for the “gunk” to come off!

This year’s harsh winter delayed our restoration work on the George Robert White Memorial fountain in the Garden, and construction is now slated to begin in spring of 2016. We are eager to bring the water back to this historic fountain and will keep you updated on timing.

We continue to advocate against overuse of our parks and use that damages them, in particular the Boston Common. This weekend (September 26 and 27), the Boston Freedom Rally (also known as Hempfest) will return to the Common. We heard your concerns loud and clear about the poor condition the Common was left in following this event in previous years, and your safety concerns while visiting this neighborhood park, especially with your families, during the event. Thanks to the over 50 of you who wrote letters of concern to Parks Commissioner Chris Cook. Please continue to send us your feedback, share it with the Commissioner, and report it to the Mayor’s hotline or through the City’s new 311 system, which also offers a smartphone app. Visit to learn more.

We look forward to seeing all who can come to our annual Members Reception on October 7th at the Four Seasons Hotel where we have a wonderful presentation planned for you, “Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care.” That evening we will also kick-off an online art auction featuring pieces made from Boston Common elm wood.

Again, thanks to all of you, whose support makes it possible for us to care for our wonderful parks.


Anne Brooke, Chair
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director

What’s New at the Boylston Street Border?

September 24, 2015


Did you notice that the Boylston Street border of the Public Garden is looking better than ever these days? Phase III of a multi-year project recently brought plant improvements to the edge of this popular strolling path. Passersby will notice reorganized plants and new shade-tolerant varieties.

For those who have traditionally enjoyed the sport of puddle jumping on this path, that activity just became more challenging. More than 200 feet of drainage with new low drainage points will help reduce pooling water. For visitors who prefer a more relaxing stint in the Garden, three new benches will soon be available to provide a place to pause and soak up the view. Views are not available for sponsorship, but benches are! Contact the Friends office to find out about the opportunity.

We encourage our Friends to check out this latest facelift made possible by your support and let us know how we did!

Photos by Alysha Griffiths.

Interested in Joining Our Team?

September 9, 2015


Do you love the Public Garden, Boston Common, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall? This may be your chance to join the team that works to preserve and enhance them. The Friends of the Public Garden is seeking an Executive and Development Coordinator.

The Executive and Development Coordinator supports the work of the Executive Director and Director of Development in a variety of administrative and management functions. Of primary importance is support for the effective functioning of the Friends board and committees, donor database management and donor relations support, and volunteer management. Reporting both to the Executive Director and Director of Development Director, the responsibilities of the position include:

Administrative Support

Record-keeping and Expense Tracking Support
In coordination with accountant, accurate tracking of expenses and revenue for each mailing, fundraising event, campaign, etc.; monthly reconciliation of donor financial records with accountant records

Board and Committee Support
Meeting scheduling; meeting materials preparation; coordinating to ensure accurate recording of meeting minutes; attending selected committee meetings and support minute recording as needed; maintaining current board and committee lists

General Office Functioning Support
Phone support as needed; ordering of supplies; oversight of equipment maintenance needs (phones; computers; printers); management of small mailing projects

Receptionist duties including providing excellent customer service to members of the public who visit the office

Vendor and Materials Production Support
Making vendor calls and obtaining estimates; oversight of materials production (printing jobs, invitations, programs)

Assistance with managing Executive Director’s schedule
Membership, Database Management and Donor Relations Support

Membership Mailing and Online Support
Research, obtain and create mailing lists; coordination of mailing projects with printer and mailhouse; tracking and recording of responses; preparation of statistical reports; facilitation of note writing by committee members; oversight of online donation process including updating of online giving page and tracking of statistics on online giving for each electronic appeal;

Database Management
Accurate tracking and recording of donations in database; mastery of complex reports in Donor Perfect; research and application of ways to improve use of Donor Perfect; management of donor lists

Donor Relations Support
Conducting of donor research (individual, foundation and corporate); preparation of prospect reports; drafting of custom thank-yous for editing with little guidance; phone calls to donors as needed; management of annual report donor permission process

Volunteer Support

Recruit and supervise office volunteers/interns/Co-Op students
Train all above in relevant technology and office systems
Event Support

Event Logistics Support
Obtain site and catering details, effectively manage rsvp process; prepare materials for exhibit tables or events; solicit in-kind donations as needed (food, services, items)

Event Management Support
Help recruit volunteers to staff FOPG tables; staff events as needed and supervise volunteers


Education – Bachelors degree

Minimum three years professional, related work experience

Minimum 1 year fundraising-related experience (can be volunteer work)

Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite applications; ability to master fundraising databases with ease and to train others

Familiarity with online fundraising technology and adding/editing website content

Superior attention to detail and accuracy in writing and record-keeping

Experience leading and motivating volunteers

Ability to multi-task

Organized, self-motivated and self-directed

Flexibility and ability to work collaboratively and harmoniously in a small office environment; availability for occasional evening meetings and events

The ideal candidate will be someone who desires a career in a nonprofit organization.

Please submit a resume and cover letter to Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza at No calls please. Local candidates only.


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