Ornamental Onion / Allium giganteum
Three separate groups collaborate to bring us the flowers in the Public Garden’s 58 beds and along its perimeter: the Boston Parks & Recreation department, the Friends of the Public Garden, and the Rose Brigade. We took our inspiration from their work. One of the showier flowers planted by the Parks department in the beds lining the walkway to the pond’s romantic bridge is allium, an ornamental onion that blossoms in late June and thrives longer than tulips. Its later flower helps extend the bloom time of the bulb plantings, and its bauble of purple and stick-straight height—often rising to four feet—adds much-photographed drama.
Sandy Femma Rose / Rosa or Rosaceae
The hundreds of rose bushes in the Public Garden—mostly tea roses and hybrids similar to this one, a Dutch takeoff on the peach Femma rose—bloom in early June under the meticulous care of the Rose Brigade. The Brigade collaborates with the city’s Parks & Recreation department and the Friends of the Public Garden to nurture the Garden’s four rose beds. The group of about 20 volunteer gardeners was founded in 1988 and is still led by Bay Village resident China Altman. Each bed has its own character, such as the bed of fragrant Tiffany roses located on the park’s Arlington Street border. Surprisingly, roses weren’t always in the Public Garden, despite its influence from the Victorian gardens of England; all the current rose beds were planted in 1980.
Fuchsia Anemone / Anemone
This eye-catching exotic flower plays several roles in the Garden, says Boston Parks & Recreation’s superintendent of horticulture, Tom Williams. In addition to providing color and texture to the beds, anemones take the place of tulips after their season has passed. Tulips and rose bushes anchor many of the beds in the garden, with carefully plotted exotic flowers providing much of the color in the park in late spring.
Blue Hydrangea / Hydrangea Macrophylla
Lush, showy hydrangeas love New England's sandy soil and change hue depending on its mineral composition. The popular mophead variety, with its closely set silken petals, appears in a variety of colors, including the popular pink and blue. The Friends of the Public Garden plant and care for the Garden’s trees and many of its shrub beds, including the hydrangeas behind the George Robert White Memorial at the corner of Beacon and Arlington streets.
Menton Tulip / Tulipa
Tulips have graced the tidy beds of the Public Garden in carefully orchestrated waves of color since the 1840s. The tradition continues to the present day thanks to the creative planning of the Boston Parks & Recreation department’s assistant superintendent of horticulture, Tony Hennessy. Hennessy and his team try to add new tulip cultivars while sticking with reliable varieties that please the eye and have an extended bloom time. Tulip bulbs, with memorable monikers such as the Bleu Aimable, Orange Queen, and this pale pink Menton, are brought in from the Netherlands and replanted each November.
| April 23, 2012 | Style & Beauty
text by jessica laniewski; photography by brian klutch; styling by amanda weiner; flowers courtesy of winston flowers