Children Delighted by Enchanted Castle on Boston Common

FOPG Puppets on the Common, August 22, 2014 by Elizabeth Jordan (5)

Throughout an early morning of raindrops on a summer Friday, tots peered out their windows anxiously to see if clouds would part and blue skies would emerge in time for the a scheduled visit of the royals – and they did! The Boston Common, which has hosted world leaders, dignitaries, and even a Pope, on this day would draw a crowd of young princes and princesses who were there to welcome their kin. To the delight of a group of nearly 200, the Friends of the Public Garden hosted a royal cast from Rosalita’s Puppets, which transformed the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common to present “The Enchanted Castle” puppet show. Children from surrounding neighborhoods, and other parts of the city watched three riveting stories unfold before them as they sang songs and interacted with the performers. The Friends of the Public Garden hosts this event annually, which is made possible by a grant from the M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust.
“It is wonderful to watch the next generation of park users form deeper connections to this treasured greenspace, a space that means so much to our city and our country; it is the first step in helping them to understand why we need to protect it,” said Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “This young group, it seems, is well on their way to understanding the value of trees – when asked as part of the performance what trees give us, hands popped up and they had more answers than one might have expected – and they were really good answers!”

Public Garden Tours Kick-Off in August

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.


Boston Red Sox Coming to Boston Common

Celebrate America’s pastime as the Boston Red Sox, the Highland Street Foundation, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department team up to bring three Red Sox away games to the Boston Common on Sunday, July 27.  Bring a blanket to watch the game on the big screen and cheer on the Red Sox! Everyone is welcome at this free event featuring live viewing of the game, caricaturists, balloon artists, face painters, giveaways, and refreshments.  Special guests include Red Sox mascot Wally, Red Sox DJ TJ Connelly, Announcer Henry Mahegan, Organist Josh Kantor, and the Hot Tamales Brass Band.

Sunday, July 27, 1:40 p.m. – Boston Common, corner of Charles and Beacon Streets, Boston



The Boston Globe: Public Garden’s Roses Delight…


The roses in the Public Garden are cared for by the Friends of the Public Garden Rose Brigade, in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department
Roses in the Public Garden are cared for by the Friends of the Public Garden’s Rose Brigade, in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department (Photo: Elizabeth Jordan)

“When spring finally came, the rose bushes burst into life, rising day by day toward the sun,” according to The Boston Globe piece Public Garden’s roses delight after winter’s bite. The article, written by Peter Schworm, celebrates the dazzling blooms that draw so many to the Public Garden, and tells the behind-the-scenes story of their care.  A volunteer group of the Friends, the Rose Brigade, has been working in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for years to care for these treasured bushes that adorn America’s first public botanical garden.

The Brigade is made up of men and women of all ages. Newcomers are happily welcomed, as are occasional or one-day helpers. Gloves, tools, and instructions are supplied.

During the high season of roses, June through September, the Brigade gathers every Tuesday from 5-7 pm. As the days grow shorter in October we meet earlier. Ad hoc projects occur in April, May, and December. There is a colorful flag to help everyone find where we are working.

Congratulations to our Rose Brigade volunteers and the Boston Parks and Recreation on wonderful blooms this year, and thank you for your efforts to enhance these spectacular sights for all to enjoy.

Public Garden Ranks 5th on TripAdvisor List of Top Parks

Photo: Elizabeth Jordan
Photo: Elizabeth Jordan

TripAdvisor recently ranked Boston’s Public Garden fifth on its 2014 Travelers’ Choice list of 25 top parks.

Boston’s Public Garden is the groomed and formal younger cousin to the more casual and boisterous Boston Common. The first public botanical garden in America, its form, plantings, and statuary evoke its Victorian heritage. This green and flowering oasis in the heart of a great metropolis has become a Boston icon. No visit would be complete without a stroll in the Garden and a voyage on one of its Swan Boats.

The Garden is truly a people’s park and a public pride. It is not only accessible to everyone, but citizens have always played an extraordinary role in protecting and preserving it. Observing the Garden on a peaceful summer’s day with the trees in leaf, the flower beds bright with color, and the Swan Boats tracing their tranquil course around the serpentine pond, you would never think of it as a civic battleground. In fact, it has been an ongoing struggle to keep these twenty-four acres of reclaimed land as a place of quiet beauty for the enjoyment of all.

To take an audio tour of the Public Garden, print or view the mapand log on to the tour.


Bidding Farewell to a Centenarian Elm on Commonwealth Avenue Mall


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A  giant American elm tree that lived on Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets for more than 100 years had to be removed due to Dutch elm disease on Tuesday, June 17.  The Friends remain vigilant in treating the elms in our parks against this disease, in order to protect the elm tree population.  For almost roughly 150 years, trees have been a treasured sight on this historic promenade and in 2013, for the first time in more than 43 years, each planting location on the Mall had a tree.  Originally all the trees on the Mall were elms, and the population was ravaged by the disease. They have been replaced with a variety of trees of similar scale and profile, including disease-resistant elms.

Dutch elm disease has been affecting the U.S. elm population since the 1930’s. The disease can kill an entire elm tree anywhere from weeks to years. The disease is brought on by a fungus that is distributed by the Elm Bark Beetle or via a root graft infection.

To confirm Dutch elm disease, branches are cut out of the tree and bark is peeled back to see if there are signs of streaking
To confirm Dutch elm disease, branches are cut out of the tree and bark is peeled back to see if there are signs of streaking

Signs of Dutch Elm Disease
• Sudden wilting of leaves in branches
• Curling and yellowing leaves
• Branch die-back

When to spot infections
• Spring and Summer

Confirmation of Dutch Elm Disease
• When branches are cut out, look below peeled bark for signs of streaking
• Confirm through lab results

Learn more about the Friends tree care program and how you can help.




Momumental Homecoming for Soldiers and Sailors on Boston Common

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A monumental milestone recently took place on Boston Common courtesy of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.  Cranes facilitated the re-install of four larger-than-life pieces of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The four pieces represent Army, Navy, history, and peace.  They were  were removed 10 years ago for repair and were returned to their perch on Boston Common on May 29.  Onlookers watched as they arrived by truck from Daedalus studio in Watertown where the restoration work was performed.

Designed by architect/sculptor Martin Milmore, the neoclassical Soldiers and Sailors Monument, on top of Flagstaff Hill, is a Civil War memorial in the form of a victory column. At its dedication in 1877, Generals McClellan and Hooker were among those attending, along with two Confederate officers. From colonial to modern times, the hill has been a favorite sledding place for children.

During the winter, several members of the Friends visited the sculptures at the Watertown studio to observe the work.

Restoration work will continue at Soldiers and Sailors into summer, including the replacement of pieces to four plaques at the base of the monument, as well as cleaning.