Just learned that
Boston Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak is retiring from her position. I had the good fortune to meet Toni for an informational interview in 2010 after I left my corporate job. Even today I dream of becoming a park ranger. 🙂
The Commissioner shared her career journey and offered a candid assessment of opportunities in the Parks Department and other area organizations focused on parks and open spaces. I was impressed with her knowledge, her warmth and her down-to-earth attitude. Not long after that meeting, I started this City Garden Ideas blog. Thank you Commissioner for your advice and guidance. I wish you well in your next chapter!
The Friends of the Public Garden is joining with Boston Park Advocates to celebrate retiring Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak on February 26, from 5 – 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Admission is $10, and space is limited. Please rsvp by February 20 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thank-you-to-toni-pollak-tickets-6825494237. I’ll be at the party. Please come and celebrate the Commissioner and all she has done to maintain and beautify our city.
Hello City Gardeners!
Here’s a great opportunity to see some wonderful city garden spaces!
On Saturday, July 27th from 2 – 5pm, more than 25 Fenway Victory gardeners will open their gates to visitors.
Come view beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, picnic in the meadow, play bocce, learn new gardening tips and get inspired! Sounds like great fun!
There will be a sprinkler for kids of all ages to run through…come on down! The gardens are located in Boston. A map will be available at the flagpole. Rain Date July 28th.
For more information, call 617-267-6650 or visit www.fenwayvictorygardens.com.
Hello Fellow Gardeners!
It’s time for the annual City of Boston Mayor’s Garden Contest! I love this contest and encourage everyone in Boston with a front, back or side garden, window box or container garden to enter!
Residents and businesses can nominate their own or a neighbor’s garden. Why not make someone’s day? Only gardens planted by amateur gardeners are eligible. Just think, in a month or so you could be the winner of a coveted Golden Trowel! Deadline for entry is Monday, July 12th.
My tree garden needs some work to be contest ready. The impatiens I planted in late April are dried out, sprawling and spindly. However, the lavender, catmint and ivy are doing just fine.
This morning I replanted my tree garden with yellow snapdragons, white and purple petunias, grasses and Blue Dwarf argeretum in the front corners. All the plants come from That Blooming Place (TBP) on Route 53/Washington Street in Weymouth. They don’t have a website but don’t let that stop you from stopping by. The hanging plants are gorgeous and there’s a great selection of healthy potted plants!
A few years ago my tree garden earned an honorable mention in the Mayor’s Garden Contest. Unfortunately, tree gardens are no longer eligible for the Contest. I’m not exactly sure why but it’s a real shame. I’m going to enter anyway and try to get them to open this category back up.
Gardening around a street tree actually helps the tree. It is getting good soil, water and attention. You just shouldn’t mound soil around the base like a volcano because it may suffocate the tree and flowers or ground cover should be planted, never shrubs. Shrub roots could interfere with the tree roots.
Enough about me… Here are the Contest specifics:
Fill out the application form and attach or send up to five (5) photos. The judges will use these photos to narrow the entrants to five finalists per category. Site visits by the contest judges will determine the winners.
Applications can be mailed or filled out online. Go to www.cityofboston.gov/parks/gardencontest.
Photos and forms are due July 12, 2013 by 11:59PM. More details are at GardenContest@cityofboston.gov or call 617-635-4505.
Posted in Boston Gardens, City of Boston Garden Contest, Contests, Flowers and Plants, Local Beauty, My street-side tree garden
Tagged Boston Parks Department, Choosing Plants, City of Boston Garden Contest, Contest, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
Looking to learn more about landscape design, construction and drafting?
Heather Heimarck, a long-time friend to City Garden Ideas and the director of the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, sent along the Institute’s Summer Course catalog – Summer 2013 COURSE OFFERINGS
Check out the short, hands-on classes at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley. Think about attending the course by painter and a historian, Ma Qingxiong. Students learn about Chinese landscape design and try their hand at doing oriental brushwork. Take a look at Ma’s website http://www.maqingxiong.com
The Institute is offering many other courses including a three-week introduction to design intensive, M-F, in July. Heather says it can be very rich to immerse oneself that way. If you have any questions, call 617 585 0100. Be well!
Posted in Expert Advice, Landscape Design Courses, Landscape Designing, Places to Visit, Recommendations, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged Boston Architectural College, City Garden Ideas, Expert Advice, Heather Heimarck, Landscape Design Courses, Landscape Institute
Before you plant your Spring window boxes, containers or street-side tree gardens, please read this! Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens, is offering her 5 top tips for a successful flower garden.
As a featured speaker at two City Garden Ideas workshops, she famously introduced the phrase ‘Thriller, filler and spiller,’ the three flower components for a winning container, to the audience. Watch Ellen in this YouTube video from the 2012 CGI workshop.
Here are her 5 top tips:
Tip 1. Look, listen and learn from all the gardeners that have come before you and the gardens all around you. Indulge in some good books. I always buy the ones with the most pictures. (Janine likes The Well-Tended Perennial Garden). Subscribe to magazines and gardening blogs to learn about the latest trends and tricks of the trade. Go on garden tours in the city, attend the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days garden tours. See what you like in other peoples gardens, copy, and make it your own. Mass Horticultural Society, New England Wildflower Society and the Arnold Arboretum all have excellent lectures and courses throughout the year jam packed with great information.
Tip 2. Be honest: Make an accurate evaluation of sun vs. shade, and plant what’s best geared for those light conditions. There are so many interesting cultivars of plants for any light conditions. Read the labels, ask your local garden center for advice and guidance, and plant accordingly.
Tip 3. Food and water: Proper soil and nutrition grows healthy plants. Build a solid foundation and plants will grow easily. Take the time to evaluate your soil and add organic matter to create nutrient rich growing environments. Invest in good potting soil for hanging baskets and potted plants that drains quickly found at your local garden center. Water regularly, not too much, and not too little. Ask for expert advice, and use it!
Tip 4. Change your mind: If you don’t like the way your planting looks, change it out. Try something new. A garden is never finished. Be willing to take chances. Have fun, relax, and grow what makes your heart go pitter patter.
Tip 5. Use every inch of space you have: Stuff every centimeter of your space with plants. Mount shelves on the walls, hang baskets off the railings, try vertical gardening. You can grow almost anything in a pot, just remember that a plant in a container is totally dependent on you for water and food.
Ellen started her business in 1993 and she and her team actively design and install gardens in Boston and out in the suburbs. To learn more about Ellen and Perennial Gardens, visit www.perennialgardens.net.
By the way, that’s my tree garden 🙂 in front of the Perennial Garden truck. Happy planting!
Posted in Boston Gardens, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Landscape Designing, Recommendations, Spring Beauty, Sunlight, Window Boxes
Tagged 5 Top Gardening Tips, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Perennial Gardens, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
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Congratulations to Cinta Burgos! Her entry to a recent City Garden Ideas post has earned her two tickets to the April 24th Vertical Gardening lecture by Patrick Blanc at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Tickets are still available for this lecture by Mr. Blanc, considered the inventor of the vertical garden. I encourage interested gardeners to attend.
Here is part of Ms. Burgos’ winning entry: “I am very excited about the vertical garden and the MFA Patrick Blanc talk in April. I would love to go to the talk, but mostly to go with another garden enthusiast. My question to him would be – can you make a vegetable garden a vertical garden and how do I do that on my 6th floor balcony with one brick wall, western exposure and all these seasonal changes? I love growing flowers and seeing plants to start to regrow leaves in the spring but my biggest joy has been the 5 years that strawberries have continued to regrow, the herbs that come back after winter, and picking my own lettuce, tomatoes and beans. That is about all I have been successful at on my Beacon Hill balcony but I would love to use the vertical space as well.
Congratulations Cinta! Email me at email@example.com with your address and I’ll send your tickets along. See you at the lecture!