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Tree-threatening Insect Trapped in Boston

August 12, 2014
Emerald Ash Borer Photo credit:

Emerald Ash Borer
Photo credit:

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) recently announced that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was detected in a trap at the Arnold Arboretum. The EAB is an invasive insect that has wiped out tens of millions of ash trees in the Midwest. The Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall are home to a total of 58 ash trees.

The Friends is monitoring this news and has reached out to officials to offer support.

DCR and DAR officials are working in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Forest Service to take a number of swift proactive steps aimed at slowing the spread of the invasive beetle, including:

  • Defining a quarantine area that would only allow the movement of certain wood products under certain conditions;
  • Conducting a delimiting survey to help identify the extent of the infestation;
  • Working with stakeholders to ensure they know how to properly treat or dispose of infested trees and materials; and
  • Maintaining a ban that has been in place against bringing any firewood into state parks and forests.

“The presence of Emerald Ash Borer in our state represents a serious threat to our ash trees,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “We are taking swift action to address the infestation, educate the public, and work to mitigate any impact an infestation could bring.”

If you are interested in receiving updates on activities related to the EAB on the Boston Common, in the Public Garden, and on Commonwealth Avenue Mall, please email

In August of 2012, EAB was detected in Berkshire County in the Town of Dalton.  In November of 2013, EAB was confirmed in Essex County in the Town of North Andover. DCR instituted county-wide quarantines of Essex and Berkshire counties shortly after the EAB was discovered. To date, 23 states across the country have confirmed detections of EAB.

Friends 2014 Summer Party Delights

August 11, 2014


Thanks to everyone for making our Summer Party such a wonderful event, and to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for providing a fabulous venue for it. More than 100 park benefactors turned out on Wednesday, July 23rd to support our organization and its work on Boston Common, in the Public Garden, and on Commonwealth Avenue Mall.  The event raised just under $10,000.  Learn more about our projects at

Visit our Facebook album to see more photos from the event.


Discovering Premier Seating on Boston Common

August 11, 2014

Benches on Liberty Mall view from behind
Summer days are lively on Boston Common, and the Clover Food Lab truck regularly attracts dozens of lunchtime diners to Brewer Fountain Plaza. Soothing sounds of trickling droplets of fountain water blend with piano music, performed by Berklee College of Music students, to create a seasonal backdrop worth savoring.

Securing a shaded table and chair under an umbrella, there temporarily for day use, is a fortunate find as the lunchtime crowd settles in, yet few know that the truly premiere seating is actually located a few feet away on the perimeter of the granite plaza. The inside track on the 10 benches, so-called “seats of honor,” is that they, and the nearby benches on the Liberty Mall path, are part of a select set of Boston Common benches available for permanent sponsorship. There is no term limit on sponsorship. Each bench has a plaque that identifies its sponsor or a person being celebrated in some way.

As the $4 million restoration of Brewer Fountain Plaza comes to a conclusion this fall, a time capsule will be buried that includes names of all donors of this project. The deadline for donations to be included in the time capsule that will be buried to commemorate this project is Monday, September 15th. There is only one bench in the “seats of honor” area available for sponsorship, and three on the Liberty Mall path.

Sponsoring a bench not only supports the care and maintenance of America’s first public park, it is a way to have a dedicated seat there 365 days a year, even if it is in name only. For information on sponsoring these last available locations, please call 617-723-8144 or email

Public Garden Tours Kick-Off in August

July 30, 2014

Snip20140730_4Join the Friends of the Public Garden for a walking tour of Boston’s iconic Public Garden. Learn about the history of America’s first botanical garden, and celebrate the plantings, sculpture, and memorials that make this a favorite destination for local residents and visitors from near and far.  The garden has won numerous awards through the years.  Most recently, it ranked 5th on TripAdvisors list of top parks across the nation and was awarded an “Editors’ Choice 2014 Home & Garden Award” by Yankee Magazine.
Non-members: $15.00
Members: Free

August 12 – 5:30 p.m.

September 23 – Noon & 4:00 p.m.

Call 617-723-8144 for more information and to make reservations.

The Friends of the Public Garden has been caring for the Garden along with the Boston Common and Commonwealth Avenue Mall for 44 years, in partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.


Spa Days for Ladies and Gentlemen on Commonwealth Avenue Mall

July 16, 2014

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Spas are popular destinations where ladies and gentlemen visit to seek care for their outer layers. What happens when the epidermis in need of care belongs to a lady or gentleman made of bronze? That’s a question for Sarah Hutt, Collections Care Manager for the Friends of the Public Garden, who designs and implements spa regiments for bronze figures on a regular basis.  The Friends cares for more than 40 pieces of sculpture and memorials on Boston Common, in the Public Garden, and on Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Recently, on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Boston Women’s Memorial ladies; Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, and Lucy Stone; and the statues of Leif Eriksson and John Glover were cleaned as part of the Friends ongoing maintenance program. The figures of the Women’s Memorial were washed and waxed.  On the Glover and Eriksson statues, “the bronze is protected with a coating of Incralac, a shellac-type coating used for bronze, which is then covered with layers of wax,” according to Hutt.

If cleanings and treatments are not done on a regular basis, the coatings break down and the bronze can be damaged when it is exposed to air and other elements.  “The bright green colors you sometimes see on statuary are the visible signs of oxidation, which means that piece is at risk of suffering serious damage. However, a little green tint is normal because there is a green colorant called a “patina” used to color the wax and give the statue a weathered look,” says Hutt.

It can cost a few hundred dollars to perform preventative maintenance on these works of arts, but once the damage passes a certain point, it could cost thousands to get it back in good condition.  “Fortunately our proactive cleaning program has stabilized the collection and is saving the bronze works for generations to come,” adds Hutt.

Off-Leash Dog Area Builds Community

July 15, 2014

Boston Common Off-Leash Dog Area

Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari

Boston Common area residents are using the new Boston Common Off-Leash Dog Area, and as for their four-legged friends it is a tail-wagging experience all around. In this specially designated area of America’s first public park, marked by signage, dogs are allowed to go off-leash.  What makes this program unique is that it does not require a fence; it is the first area of its kind to be approved by the city. Kimberly Annon, Beacon Hill resident and member of a group The Common Canine, visits Boston Common daily with her dog “Eighty” and finds that she is part of a “regular” group that generally follows the same schedule. “We are glad to have a space to bring our dogs where they are not breaking the rules,” says Annon. “Stopping in this area at the same time every morning and seeing the same people and their dogs really builds a good sense of community,” she adds. The Friends, in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and dog owners from the community who formed into the Friends sub-group Common Canine, developed the plan that provides meaningful recreation for dogs on Boston Common, protects turf and plantings from overuse, and minimizes interference with other users’ quiet enjoyment of the park.  Approved by the Parks Commission in 2013, the Program aims to engage dog owners as active stewards of the park, to establish and enforce clear rules and expectations around dogs in the park, and to create a long-term, sustainable mechanism for restoring and renewing those areas of the park that are used for dog recreation. Dog owners and The Common Canine group have plans to ramp up their involvement in upcoming community events to let other dog owners know about the area and how they can support it.  

5 Hot Reasons to Attend a Cool Summer Party

July 15, 2014


1. Spend a tropical evening in Bangkok without traveling 8,500 miles
2. Chill out in cool Mandarin style on a hot summer night
3. Savor delicious gourmet hors d’oeuvres
4. Enjoy a warm welcome from dozens of Friends
5. Toast our historic parks with a cool beverage while you support them!

The Friends of the Public Garden will be hosting A Summer Party at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s Bangkok Room on July 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm. Join us to celebrate summer! Proceeds from the party will help the Friends preserve and enhance the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Tickets $75, are available for purchase online or by calling 617-723-8144.


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