News & Events
Holiday Bell Ringing Concerts
December 10, December 17, December 19, 2013
The Friends of the Public Garden will be sponsoring three free holiday concerts by the Back Bay Ringers, an innovative handbell organization, in December. The concerts will be one hour in length, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, and will be held on the Boston Common on the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets on Tuesday, December 10, at the Brewer Fountain Plaza on the Common near Park Street Station on Tuesday, December 17, and at the beginning of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall on Arlington Street on Thursday, December 19. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (617) 723-8144.
October 16, 2013
The Friends of the Public Garden hosted its annual Members Reception at the Union Club in Boston. More than 130 Members attended to hear speaker Tupper Thomas, former Administrator of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.
Public Garden Ranks 7th Best in Park in Country
June 30, 2013
The Boston Public Garden is the seventh highest ranked park in the United States in the 2013 “Travelers’ Choice” survey published last week by the TripAdvisor website. The Public Garden is the only New England park among the top 25 in the country. Some reviewer comments:
• “You can’t beat it. With the beautiful landscaping and perfect location, there is nothing like a day at the Public Garden!”
• “It was very well-landscaped and maintained. Very pretty to walk through for a leisurely stroll with friends. There were many old statues there and a variety of flowers. Pretty!”
• “We love the Boston Public Garden. It is one of the most romantic places to be by far. The park is wide open and clean and then there are the swan boats in the middle of the park.”
Puppets on the Common Returned to Great Success in August
August 14, 2013
The event was organized by the Friends and was underwritten by the M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust.
The popular puppet show returned to the Common in 2011 after a 16-year absence.
Summer Social at Via Matta
June 12, 2013
Seventy-five Friends of the Public Garden gathered at Via Matta in Park Square for a cocktail reception on June 12th to celebrate the silver anniversary of The Heritage on the Garden and support the Friends. They included (l-r) Friends Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza, Heritage Developer Ron Druker, Christine Letts, and David Letts. The proceeds will support the work of the friends on Boston Common, in the Public Garden and on Commonwealth Avenue Mall. It was good to see old friends and make new ones.
Students Live and Learn History on the Common
June 3, 2013
Activities included:Playing colonial games and learning about colonial crafts: watching a performance of Native American songs and dances; learning how to plant a Native American “three sisters” garden; viewing farm animals; watching a re-enactment of the valor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment of African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War; viewing demonstrations of contra dances and the use of wooden pillories for punishment; learning about Native American flint tool making
“It was great to see kids experiencing our rich history in tangible ways,” said Elizabeth Vizza. “Making History on the Common works because it’s simple yet profound.” She thanked event sponsors Motor Mart Garage and Mass Humanities for their generous support.
2013 Green and White Ball raises $393,00 for the parks
May 17, 2013
Two hundred guests attended the Green and White Ball on May 17th at the Taj. The annual gala raised $393,000 to support the work of the Friends in our three parks. We are grateful to all who contributed and for the leadership support provided by: co-chairs Kate Gilbane, Alli Achtmeyer, Katherine O’Keeffe and Annie Sacerdote; honorary co-chairs Anne Brooke, Barbara Hostetter and Nina Doggett, and the event committee. The majority of the proceeds from the event will support the final phase of the Brewer Fountain Plaza project.
The Friends also thanks the following partners for their generous support:The Taj Boston Hotel, Winston Flowers, Felix Doolittle and Roger Farrington Photography.
May 11, 2014
This beloved annual event on Mother’s Day celebrates the classic children’s story Make Way for Ducklings, about a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on the island of the Boston Public Garden lagoon and the family’s adventures getting there. Each year, over a thousand children dressed as their favorite characters from the story gather on the Common to enjoy face painting, a puppet show, and other entertainment before marching through the Common behind the Harvard Band to the Public Garden. In 2012, Mayor Menino and President Emeritus Henry Lee greeted families and actors from the Wheelock Family Theater read the beloved book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.
April to September
The Swan Boats are the enduring centerpiece of the Public Garden and the only boats of their kind in the world. They were launched in 1877 by shipbuilder Robert Paget, a lover of opera, who had been inspired by the finale of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, when the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. He designed a new boat, with a foot-propelled paddle mechanism enclosed by the figure of a giant swan.
Only a year after the Swan Boats began, Paget died at the age of 42, leaving his wife, Julia, and four children. The young widow assumed full management of the new enterprise, persevering despite the prejudice against women business owners. Her descendants, the fourth generation of Pagets, still operate the Swan Boats, continuing a cherished tradition.
Seven days a week, from early April to late September, the Swan Boats glide in a serpentine course around the lagoon. The fifteen-minute ride, at about two miles an hour, goes around the rocky island made famous in Make Way for Ducklings, under the bridge, and back to dry land. Many famous people have made the quaint voyage, including child actress Shirley Temple, singer Judy Collins, and U.S. presidents Calvin Coolidge and John Kennedy.
For schedules, fares, and more information, check out the Swan Boats website: www.swanboats.com.
The Frog Pond is the year-round heart of Boston Common. In summer, it provides an escape from the heat and a great spot for a picnic. Children splash in the spray pool, while grownups wade in or watch from the grassy slopes. Children also enjoy riding on the colorful carousel nearby. In winter, skaters of all ages stumble, glide, and twirl on the refrigerated ice as lively music fills the air. In spring and fall, the pond becomes a peaceful reflecting pool. The adjacent Tadpole Playground, installed in 2002, attracts a steady flow of youngsters, and the year-round café is a welcome respite no matter the temperature.
In 1995, after decades of decline throughout Boson’s parks, the city constructed a new skating rink and leased the facility to the Boston Common Frog Pond Foundation, created by Thomas Kershaw. Under governance of the Parks Department, the Foundation operated a winter skating program and managed other seasonal activities. This successful arrangement continues under a new operator, the Skating Club of Boston. Click here to learn more about Frog Pond activities.