Surveying Vegetation on the Public Garden Lagoon Island


(L-R) Bobby Moore and Liz Vizza inspect the trees
(L-R) Bobby Moore and Elizabeth Vizza inspecting trees on the island in the Public Garden lagoon (Photo: Beth Jordan)

With just days before the water was scheduled to fill the lagoon in the Public Garden, Friends Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza and Public Garden Committee Chair Bobby Moore made a muddy trek to the lagoon island to survey the vegetation. In particular, they wanted to find out how a special “Moon Glow” Magnolia virginiana, planted last year, fared through the harsh winter months. The tree was a gift of the Garden Club of the Back Bay and was the first of 50 planted in the neighborhood to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary, and the original planting of magnolias along Commonwealth Avenue.

Vizza and Moore were pleased to see that the tree, at the northern edge of its range, survived the winter despite some minor vandalism. The Friends consulting arborist assessed the tree for winter damage and did some corrective pruning. The Friends will continue to monitor the tree throughout the growing season. It is one of 1,700 trees cared for by the Friends in the Public Garden, Boston Common, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. To learn more about the Friends tree care program, visit

Liz Vizza (front) and Bobby Moore access the Public Garden island just days before it is filled for the season
Elizabeth Vizza (front) and Bobby Moore access the Public Garden island just days before the lagoon is filled for the season  (Photo: Beth Jordan)


A New Magnolia Will Glow in the Garden

The Public Garden’s family will soon be blessed with a beautiful new addition: a Magnolia Virginana “Moon Glow”. The Garden Club of the Back Bay has graciously donated the tree in celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2013.

For almost 50 years, The Garden Club of the Back Bay has made it a special tradition to adorn the streets of Commonwealth Avenue with magnolia trees. According to organization’s facebook page, their mission is:

“to promote civic beauty and horticultural improvements, to advance and encourage the art of gardening and study, to cooperate with other organizations, agencies and instrumentalities in furthering the interests of gardening and conservation, to improve and ornament the streets and public squares of the City of Boston by planting and cultivating ornamental trees…”

On average, the club has planted 10 trees per year along the streets and manages the pruning for about 30 other trees in the city.

“We couldn’t be more honored to plant our first magnolia tree in the Public Garden, a space that epitomizes successful, beautiful green space in the heart of the city,” said Jackie Blombach, Co-president of the Garden Club.

Public Garden Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza

Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden has strategically chosen to plant the magnolia tree on the lagoon island, a visible and special location in the park.


What exactly are Magnolia Virginana trees & how will you be able to spot the “Moon Glow”?

Magnolia Virginana, also known as “sweet bay”, are typically found in the southeastern part of the country. There are over 80 different species of magnolia trees all around the world. The “Moon Glow” is a semi-evergreen with large, glossy foliage. It’s distinctive leaves are bright green on top with silver on the lower side. Once fully matured, the approximate height and spread ranges between 30 to 35 feet. The name “Moon glow” is attributed to its color as it blooms a creamy white, circular-shaped flower with a lemon fragrance.

Magnolia Virginiana "Moon Glow" flower
Magnolia Virginiana "Moon Glow" flower coming soon to the Public Garden

Early spring is the best time to plant these trees. Flowers blossom in the late spring and remain open for weeks, well into the summer season. Stick around for the fall, when moon glow berries will attract songbirds to the Garden.

The Public Garden received the first of 50 magnolia trees that are now up for sale. Trees are priced at a special celebratory discount for $500 each, which includes delivery to the site, professional planting and mulching of the trees for next spring. Trees are available for purchase now and can be ordered through the Garden Club’s web site.

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