Duckling Day Highlights

The weather could not have been more perfect yesterday for the annual Duckling Day Parade in honor of Mothers everywhere on Mother’s Day. Children dressed as their favorite ducklings enjoyed a magic show, facepainting, balloon animals and more as they waited for the parade to begin on the Boston Common. At noon when the Harvard Band began to play families lined up excitedly and began to retrace the steps of the characters from Robert McCloskey’s beloved Make Way for Ducklings. The day ended with a dramatic reading of the book by the Wheelock Family Theatre. As an added bonus Jane McCloskey was there to sign her book “Robert McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures” as well as a few copies of her father’s work.

For more photos from the event click here!

Duckling Day Highlights:

1. Magician Peter O’Malley wowed the crowd on the Boston Common:

2. Rhondella Richardson of Channel 5 news wore a festive yellow dress to welcome families to the event:

3.The Wheelock Family theatre provided post-parade entertainment with a dramatic reading of
Make Way for Ducklings

4. Jane McCloskey signed copies of her book about her father as well as copies of Make Way for Ducklings.

Romeo and Juliet return to the Swan Pond

What a beautiful day to welcome Romeo and Juliet back to the Swan Pond! After spending their winter at the Franklin Park Zoo the swans, who have been nesting together for ten years, were released back into the pond this morning. They enjoyed quite the reception complete with a parade, a few words from Mayor Thomas Menino and cookies shaped like swans to honor the pair’s return.  After a few words from Park’s Commissioner Antonia Pollak, Mayor Menino explained to onlookers that these swans symbolize what is at the heart of this great city and said that he considers spring to have officially begun now that they are home safe.

For their part, the swans seemed eager to return to their home, they were hardly able to sit still as they waited for the doors to their crates to be opened. Upon returning to the water they glided serenely away, but under that graceful calm you could tell the swans were happy to be home.

Following the ceremony observers were invited to enjoy delicious swan shaped cookies and lemonade provided by the Four Seasons Hotel. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning. For more photos from the event visit the Friends of the Public Garden facebook page:

Return of the Swans

Photo courtesy of Marek Szczepanek

Plans for 24th Annual Return of the Swans event at the Public Garden have been newly updated!* Please join us this Monday, May 7th to celebrate Romeo and Juliet’s reintroduction to their summer home. They had previously migrated south for the winter—to the Franklin Park Zoo! As Boston’s two favorite swans Romeo and Juliet enjoy quite the homecoming celebration even Mayor Menino will make an appearance to welcome them back!

At 9:15am, we will host a parade beginning at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street (right near the Make Way for Ducklings statue). Led by a brass band, the parade will conclude at the Boylston Street side of the lagoon where the official ceremony will begin at 9:30. Additional entertainment and refreshments provided by the Four Seasons Hotel and H.P. Hood LLC will also be available.

We are so excited about this event, and we expect it to add a little extra fun to Boston’s Monday morning!

For more information, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department will be happy to take any calls (617-635-4505), or you can visit their Facebook page:

*As of May 4th, 1:10pm

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

Margaret Pokorny to be Awarded with Park Partners Award

Friends of the Public Garden Board Member, Margaret Pokorny, will be awarded the first annual Park Partners Award at the 2012 Boston Flower & Garden Show’s Preview Party hosted by Boston’s Parks & Recreation Department. The party will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center on Tuesday, March 13th.

The entrance to last year's Flower and Garden Show

Funds raised at the event will be used to grow and plant flowers in all neighborhoods of Boston, and to improve conditions in the city’s greenhouses at Franklin Park. The Parks & Rec Department wants to emphasize the importance of flowers in the city, as residents often don’t have a front or backyard. Last year, the Parks department was able to plant nearly 121,000 bulbs around the city!

At the Preview Party, Margaret Pokorny will be honored for her dedication in beautifying the Commonwealth Ave Mall. The award will be presented by Mayor Thomas Menino.

“Margaret has gone above and beyond in order to preserve the quality of life in the neighborhood by advocating for policies which protect trees and encourage use of Commonwealth Avenue Mall by residents and visitors,” said Mayor Menino.

About Margaret Pokorny – A hands-on booster for Boston’s parks, Pokorny’s personal slogan is “Born to Prune.” Her in-depth knowledge of her neighborhood parks was evident in her final thesis in the Radcliffe Seminars program in Landscape Design in 1992: a history and master plan for Commonwealth Avenue Mall. She was mentored in the project by her friend and neighbor, the late Stella Trafford, known as the Grande Dame of Boston parks for her own involvement with Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Public Garden, and Boston Common.

Pokorny worked with Trafford on issues related to the Mall, and became an active
member of the Board of the Friends of Copley Square, the Friends of the Public Garden, and the
Board of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. She also served as Co-President of the
Garden Club of the Back Bay and joined the Board of The Esplanade Association when it was
founded in 2000.

Tickets for the event are still available to purchase either online or by calling 617-635-4032.

Boston Remembers 9.11

Yesterday marked the 10th year since the 9/11 attacks. In Boston, the day began with Mayor Menino placing a wreath on the 9/11 memorial in the Public Garden. It was a touching ceremony from beginning to end. Nearly 3,000 flags were planted prior to the commemoration, to honor the memory of each life lost. The color guard marched through the garden and formed an arch around the crowd. Weeping family members were invited to leave flowers on the monument following the placement of the wreathe by the Mayor and 17-year-old Nicholas Walsh, who lost his aunt to the attacks. After the formal ceremony the monument opened once more to the public. Volunteers provided graphite and paper for name etching and also gave Bostonians an opportunity to write letters to the families affected by the attacks. Letters began, “To a family I’ve never met” and contained messages of love and hope. Guards remained posted at the memorial throughout the day.

Duckling Day: A Huge Success

Photos Courtesy of Michael Dwyer

From start to finish, this past Sunday’s Duckling Day event was a major success. Hundreds of families showed up on Mother’s Day to the Boston Common with their little ones decked in their duckling-themed finest. Magic tricks, crafts, and face-painting kept the ducklings entertained before the big parade. At noon, the lively Harvard University Band and the Duck Tour mascot wound throw Beacon Hill leading the families through the Make Way for Ducklings route. The parade ended at the famed duck statues where Mayor Menino greeted the participants and the Wheelock Family Theatre thrilled the crowd with spectacular dramatic readings of the story.

The Friends of the Public Garden would like to thank all of those who attended and assisted with this event, allowing this beloved Boston tradition to once again become a family memory for many.