Take a Stroll, Learn About Trees

This Wednesday, July 11 the Boston Urban Forest Council is excited to present the Summer Tree Stroll, a special botanical tour of the Boston Common and the Public Garden and the third in a seasonal series. As the hot sun falls and the humidity lifts, the evenings become perfect for a liesurely stroll through these delightful parks.

 Join us to learn more about the diverse selection of trees that reside in Boston’s public spaces. Discover how a Californian Redwood thrives in an East Coast environment, or how to distinguish an Oak from an Elm. Whether you’re an out-of-towner or a Boston resident of 20 years, we can guarantee that you will learn something new.

We will meet at the Boston Common’s Brewer Fountain at 6:30pm and the tour will continue until 8:00pm. If you would like to register for this event, please call 617-542-7696 or email info@bostonnatural.org. The Summer Tree Stroll is free and open to everyone!

The Friends of the Public Garden and the Boston Parks & Recreation Department are partnered in sponsorship of this event.

Our Top 5 Photo Picks for Spring 2012

We’ve had such a lovely spring in the Public Garden and Boston Common. During this time of year, many people come from all over the world to experience Boston’s historic beauty and we’re honored that our parks can be a part of it.

Lots of our visitors have shared their gorgeous photos of the Public Garden and Boston Common via our Twitter account (@FOPG). We’ve been more than happy to post them to our Twitter and Facebook pages! Several photos from the spring have been a big hit, so we decided to compile a list of our top five Twitter photos from those who have visited our parks this spring! Enjoy!

The following photo from @erikendress was taken on April 23rd in the Public Garden. As you know, we can’t get enough of the Swan Boats and neither can our Facebook friends and Twitter followers! This photo of the beloved boats in the Public Garden received lots of “likes” on our page. Great work, @erikendress!

Our next great photo came from @ialhazza on the same day as the first snapshot, April 23rd! This photograph was also taken in the Public Garden–this time at night. Visitor @ialhazza was walking through the Public Garden and decided to take a great picture of the Garden. Once it was uploaded on Twitter, we posted it and the photo immediately became a hit on Facebook. Thanks for the great picture, @ialhazza!

Spring is a vibrant and pretty season in the Public Garden. We love planting flowers and watching them bloom as the weather gets nicer. One of our favorite pictures from the springtime features three different rows of flowers from the Public Garden. When @circleoftwo posted the photo to Twitter on May 2nd, we knew we had to put the snapshot on Facebook and Twitter for our friends and followers to see! I think we can all agree that @circleoftwo took a beautiful, colorful picture.

This spring was a special one for us because we were able to reveal the new Brewer Fountain Plaza in Boston Common on May 2nd! We had a wonderful time celebrating the completion of the fountain with Mayor Menino and many other Bostonians.  Shortly after the re-opening of the Brewer Fountain Plaza, @erikastweet posted this picture on Twitter. We decided to relay the image to our Facebook and Twitter accounts and we’re glad we did. Nice work, @erikastweet! We love our renovated Brewer Fountain and this picture!

Last but not least, @lindsyluu took one of our favorite springtime pictures from the Public Garden on April 18th. We love seeing what happens to the trees in between the winter and spring. This snapshot from @lindsyluu is definitely one of the best tree shots we’ve had all spring! All in all, great work!

Do you have a favorite photo from the spring? Remember to tweet us with your best shots of the Boston Common and Public Garden as summer approaches! Who knows, maybe your photo will end up on this blog!

The Friends of the Public Garden Celebrate the Brewer Fountain Plaza!

On May 2, 2012, the Friends of the Public Garden, Mayor Thomas Menino and other Bostonians gathered at the Brewer Fountain Plaza to celebrate its historic re-opening in the Boston Common. The new plaza officially opened by Park and Tremont streets.

The renovation of the Brewer Fountain Plaza is just the first part of a $5 million project to restore parts of the Boston Common. The beautiful 22-foot fountain was refurbished with help from the city of Boston as well as private donors. Along with the fountain renovation, the festivities celebrated the new amenities within the Common. This project also helped raise money for benches, pathways and lots of curbs for the area surrounding the fountain. The grass leading from the fountain to the State House of Massachusetts, known as Liberty Mall, was improved tremendously over the course of the project. The Mall now has brand-new irrigation and fresh soil that Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak compared to the grass at Boston’s beloved Fenway Park.

The Brewer Fountain Plaza also has a few unique additions that will make even more special to the people of Boston. There will be lots of new chess tables with umbrellas as well as newsstands with papers, magazines and books to read! The Brewer Fountain Plaza will also have a fabulous piano available for the enjoyment of Bostonians during the nice weather! The piano, an Ivers & Pond model, was built in 1885 and designed by Ted Furst for the outdoor conditions in the park. It has an electronic keyboard, a mixer and professional speakers–the best part is that they’re all solar powered! The atmosphere of the Brewer Fountain Plaza will be even more fun and enjoyable for anyone who visits.

At the ceremony, spectators heard from Henry Lee, Mayor Menino, Councilor Salvatore LaMattina, Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak and others, including representatives from the Friends of the Public Garden. The event included placing items in a time capsule, which will be buried in the Common to commemorate the project upon its completion next year. During the event, participants were serenaded by Cettina Donato on the piano and Dana Oakes’s beautiful trumpet.

The Friends of the Public Garden would like to thank Henry Lee, Mayor Menino, Salvatore LaMattina, Antonia Pollak and everyone else who made this amazing event possible! We hope to enjoy the Brewer Fountain Plaza and all of its renovations for many, many years to come

Movin’ On Out!

After nine successful years at 87 Mount Vernon Street, we are excited to announce our move to a new office at 69 Beacon Street.  This office will be an amazing new space for us, located directly across from the Boston Common and the Public Garden. The new office will allow staff expansion and more supervision for the Brewer Foundation Plaza renovation project taking place on the Common.

Aside from more office space and a conference room, the Beacon Street location also has a storage area for the archives belonging to the Friends of the Public Garden. For years, President Emeritus Henry Lee has kept these special artifacts at his home—now we will be able to preserve and feature them in one place!

We would like to thank our friends at Sovereign/Santander Bank who have made the move possible by donating this space to us. We also appreciate the effort and creativity of our members, who have graciously volunteered their time to plan and design our new office as we prepare to move in during the early spring.

Brewer Fountain Construction Moving Forward

The Brewer Fountain construction project began as a vision to rejuvenate Boston’s public space. The Boston Common is central to the community and has always been an enjoyable public venue. Renovations to the Brewer Fountain and surrounding plaza, which are being completed in several phases, will serve to enhance this already welcoming space.

The first phase of the project is to restore the fountain itself, which was completed in May of 2010, and to construct the surrounding plaza, make landscape and hardscape improvements including a new storm draining system, irrigation system and pathway improvements.  This portion of the restoration should be completed in time for Spring. Currently, posted signs provide information about detour routes and the anticipated completion date. Come springtime 2012, the Brewer Fountain Plaza will include folding chairs and tables-some with umbrellas- a reading room, a gourmet food truck and, an additional perk, live piano music during lunch.
In phase two, more hardscape and landscape improvements are scheduled. These changes will match improvements made to the Common along Tremont St and in front of the Lowes theaters and Ritz Carlton. New fencing and a green strip will separate the park from Tremont Street. The original fence that provided a barrier
between the Common and the street was taken down at the turn of the 20th century while the subway was being built. Today the park and street seem to bleed into one another; the addition of a green, grassy strip will restore a sense of separation, defining the Common as its own space and an escape from the city streets. The pathway improvements will enhance the connection from Park St. station to the Brewer Plaza and help define the alignment of the Liberty Mall pathway. This final phase should be complete sometime in spring 2013. 

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Some of the construction you’ve seen is not related to the fountain renovation. The MBTA is also doing some work on the Common, installing a head house for a new elevator, providing increased handicapped accessibility to the Park Street Station. That project is expected to be finished in fall of 2012.

When the project is complete visitors to the fountain will be able to enjoy a delightful space with an incredible view of the State House.

Brewer Fountain Closer to Completion Every Day!

The Brewer fountain and plaza are beginning to show signs of completion. Newly planted elms give the plaza a welcoming air and also help to define the space, creating part of the outdoor room of the Brewer plaza area. The informal bosque of trees behind the Brewer truly help frame the fountain as a terminal point.
Brewer Fountain
This exciting panorama shows the Brewer Fountain as it sits within the newly planted elm trees.
Below is an image of one of the Homestead Elms recently planted in the plaza. In maturity, these fast growing elms will reach a height of almost 60 feet and have a branch spread of almost 35 feet. Dark green leaves will turn a rich yellow in fall. The elms will serve to accentuate the Liberty Mill pathways and will help enhance the designated axis between the State House, Shaw Memorial and the Brewer Fountain.
Just one example of the newly planted Homestead Elms.
It will be such a wonderful change to be able to stroll up to this beautiful fountain. The project grows closer to completion each day and we are all eager to be able to enjoy the enhanced beauty of the Brewer fountain and the space in which it sits.  It is an exciting time to see the project come together. There will be many changes happening in the construction site over the next few weeks, check back here for updates!
This image shows the actual grade of the Brewer plaza once completed.

32 Elms to be planted at Brewer Fountain Site!

Just yesterday, 32 Homestead Elms arrived on site at the Brewer Fountain Plaza, with planting scheduled over the next several days. Those looking forward to the completed project should see this as a large step in the right direction. Many noticeable changes to the observer of the Brewer Fountain progress will be taking place over the next month. As this project reaches for completion the site will appear more and more refined and begin to show what everyone has been waiting for.

Trees on site and ready to be planted.

The image below is a panorama of the Brewer Plaza. What is significant about this image is that for the first time the design intent of the plaza can be clearly shown.

An earlier image shows the detail of the plaza radius curbing.