About the Friends

Caring for Boston’s First Public Parks

The Friends of the Public Garden works to preserve and enhance Boston’s first public parks – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. These iconic green spaces in the heart of Boston help to define our city and attract millions of local, national, and international visitors every year. Some delight in a Swan Boat ride in summer or glide over the ice at the Frog Pond in winter. Many others participate in sports, celebrations, performances, and protests, or simply find respite from the busy urban environment amid surroundings of great natural beauty.

These parks are the front yards of their neighborhoods, the stage of the city, and have provided enduring memories for residents and visitors to Boston now and throughout the centuries.

The Friends plays a vital role in the stewardship of these parks. We work closely with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to provide and fund the best possible professional care of their irreplaceable collection of mature trees, sculpture, and fountains. We also act as advocates, speaking out for the protection of these parks against misuse and encroachment and educating the public about park issues.

Our 2,500 members come from more than 100 communities across Massachusetts and 31 states.

Our Accomplishments

  • Renovating Brewer Plaza and parkland in the southeast corner of the Common, the largest park renovation effort ever undertaken by the Friends, or entrusted to a nonprofit park partner by the city
  • Planting over 600 specimen trees
  • Providing essential tree care, including pruning and treatments to combat Dutch elm disease
  • Creating a tree inventory to document and track annual tree care
  • Funding landscape embellishments, such as new benches, fencing, lighting, and the Swan Boat Landing
  • Restoring fountains and sculpture, including the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial on the Common and the Ether Monument in the Garden
  • Implementing an annual program of sculpture maintenance in the three parks
  • Installing the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture
  • Helping to establish and giving annual support to the Park Rangers program, which provides interpretative guides and guardians for the parks, saving the program from elimination in 2003 with major funding
  • Maintaining the rose gardens in the Public Garden
  • Participating in the development of the 1996 Boston Common Management Plan
  • Contributing to the design of structures on the Common, including the park information kiosks, Visitor Information Center, Frog Pond pavilion, and head houses for the Common garage
  • Establishing the Skating in the Park Fund for the Public Garden lagoon and the Boston Common Frog Pond