Category Archives: Uncategorized


Back Bay in Bloom – Photos to Brighten a Dark Day

This gallery contains 9 photos.

TONIGHT! Want to be a Landscape Designer? Panel Discussion at BPL

Design with NatureSorry for the short notice but there is a great panel discussion tonight (March 6th) at the Boston Public Library called “So You want to be a Landscape Architect…or Landscape Designer.”

The event is free and the discussion will take place at the Boston Public Library Orientation room from 6pm-7:30pm.  Three landscape architects and two landscape designers at different points in their careers will discuss their education, practices, and thoughts about the field.

Heather Heimarck, Director of the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, will moderate.  For anyone interested in landscape design, this event is not to be missed!


Gardening Experts Speak May 5th in Boston!

Come get great advice and a dose of inspiration to make this year’s flower garden your best yet!
Join us Saturday, May 5th from 10am to noon for a lively, information-rich workshop called “Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.” 
This second annual City Garden Ideas event will be held in the auditorium of First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, at the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough. 
Our featured speakers are talented, professional horticulturalists: Ellen Abdow, owner of Perennial Gardens, and Tom Smarr, The Garden Concierge and former Superintendent of Horticulture at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  What can you expect?  Plenty! 
Ellen will create a beautiful container garden right before your eyes.  She’ll share gardening wisdom and offer insights into the hottest trends. Tom will offer up gardening basics on tools, soil, sun and choosing plants that thrive in every season.  He’ll also talk about vertical gardening.  That’s when blooms go up and up. 
Register at  The cost is just $25!  There will be plenty of time for questions and answers, loads of handouts and door prizes!  This event is not to be missed!
If you have questions, call 617-267-6500 or email me at  Hope to see you there!

Magnolias in Bloom in Boston

Magnolias - Close up March 2012Ah, magnolias!  
Just had to share a few photos of the trees blooming along Commonwealth Avenue.  High temperatures in mid March pushed open the lush petal cups.  This year the blooms seem even more eye-popping and the sweet aroma intoxicating.  These trees were planted in 1963 through the efforts of the Garden Club of the Back Bay’s  Laura Dwight.  Thank you Laura! 
Magnolias along Commonwealth Avenue - March 2012Up and down the street, people were whipping out camera phones and snapping fancyMagnolia, Azalea, Architecture along Commonwealth Ave lenses on more professional cameras to capture the showy blossoms.  Some just stood still, eyes closed, inhaling the scent.   The sight slowed me down and I took a breath with them.
Unfortuntately, the falling temperatures last week shocked the fragile petals and most are now droopy and dappled with brown. Don’t despair!  The trees on the north side of Commonwealth Ave are just now coming into bloom.  It’s well worth a trip in to Boston to see them!  Beyond the magnolias, daffodils, azaleas, pansies, crocuses and tulips are in bloom as well and will vie for your attention. 

Special Note:

The Garden Club of the Back Bay is celebrating its 50th anniversary by sponsoring the sale and planting of 50 ‘Moon Glow’ white magnolia trees. They are Magnolia with Close up Bloomsavailable at a special price of $500 per tree and will be planted in the spring of 2013. The club will arrange for an arborist to plant the trees in front gardens with an open site. The club will also subsidize the planting of magnolias in other open sites in the neighborhood. 
I am a member of the Garden Club and wholeheartedly support this effort! 
To read more about the project, and print an order form, click here.

City Garden Ideas – Happy Spring and Topping 10,000+ Views!

City Garden Ideas LogoHappy Spring!
Thanks to you, City Garden Ideas just exceeded 10,000 views! 
Wow! I’m grateful for your visits, comments and active social sharing.  I love that my photos are showing up on Pinterest!  Keep on pinning!
I’m  excited to offer more useful, relevant and fun information about gardening in small urban spaces to new and seasoned gardeners.
If you haven’t subscribed to the blog yet, please do.  It’s easy and free!  The sign up form is on the site’s front page. Expect to receive info-rich blog posts with expert advice, helpful tips, local workshops, contests and more! 
SPOILER ALERT (not really):
My next blog will give the skinny on soil.  Talk about neglected.  What’s in the Prepping Soil at the Tree Gardenground or in that flower pot is expected to be the perfect home for growing plants – without any additional care or feeding.  The truth is, soil needs attention and care well before any planting gets done. If you want a healty garden, then get the dirt on soil!
And thank you, thank you, thank you again for your support.  I’m shooting for 20,000 views by the end of the year.  Withyour help, it will happen.  Happy gardening!

And the winner is… Daffodils!

Congratulations to Gail!
Her comments on planting hundreds of bulbs for a sea of spring daffodils wins our contest and two tickets to the Boston Flower Show!

Did you know that daffodils symbolize friendship?  I love their bright yellow color and trumpet-shaped structure!

Thanks to everyone reading this blog and posting comments!  More garden information and advice from area experts coming soon!
For information on the Flower Show, click 2012 Boston Flower Show.  The show runs from  March 14 – 18 at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Brainstorm the Future of Agriculture in Boston – Jan. 30th

Boston Skyline with two boatsHere’s an interesting opportunity for Boston urban gardeners raising food crops… 
On Monday, Jan. 30th, you can give your opinion and help envision the future of Boston’s urban agriculture by attending a Kickoff and Visioning meeting from 6 – 8:30pm at Suffolk University. 
The Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives is launching a new project to update the Boston Zoning Code to support Urban Agriculture (UA) city wide. UA is small scale farming that makes healthy, fresh food more accessible and empowers Bostonians by creating economic opportunity.
Urban farming includes:

  •  rooftop greenhouse agriculture
  • aquaponics (fish farming)
  • community farms
  • farm stands (LOVE THESE!)
  • composting
  • and other fresh food-producing endeavors.

Keynote Speaker:
Will Allen holding a fishWill Allen, Founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., former pro athlete, and 2008 McArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” recipient for his work on urban farming and sustainable food production.

Meeting Specifics:
Monday, January 30, 2012 6-8:30PM
Suffolk University, Downtown Boston, 73 Tremont Street, 9th Floor*
* Must bring I.D. (Drivers license, credit card) to clear security.

To learn more about the BRA’s Rezoning for Urban Agriculture Initiative , go to:

Happy 2012 and Flower Sculptures by Will Ryman

Hello and Happy 2012!
It’s been a busy first two weeks of the year!  I moved into a bright, new office on Marlborough Street and just couldn’t get my act together until now to blog…  Consider me back in action!
Fairchild Botanic Gardens with Red Flowers in BackgroundHere’s a good story…
Just before the holidays, I visited my dear friend Joy near Miami, Florida.  As a special treat, she took me to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. What a wonderful place!  Gorgeous, leafy trees and delicate flowers in bloom.  Wide lawns, curvy paths and a lovely lake.  There are plinking waterfalls found off spongy paths filled with shadows and earthy smells.  Amid all this beauty, there were odd, curvy shapes of red on the land and floating in the lake.   It wasn’t until we came upon a very tall (30 feet) and willowy sculpture of red roses by Will Ryman, that we realized that the red bits were petals “blown off” the enormous roses.  Delightful!  I’d never heard of Will Ryman before but I have become such a fan! Sculpted Red Roses  Take a look at this CBS Sunday Morning segment on Ryman’s installation in New York City’s Park Ave.
Red Roses Up CloseI’m going to advocate with the good people at the Rose Kennedy Greenway to see if a Ryman installation is possible here in Boston next winter.  What a boost to the spirit these roses would bring to Boston during its darkest and dreariest days.  Pictures of the Icon 2011 Yellow Roses by Ryman are below.  The red roses are called Origin 2011.  FYI: All the roses are shaped from fiberglass, stainless steel and marine paint.  Enjoy!Yellow Roses by Will RymanYellow Petals on the Lawn

Gifts for the Gardener? Winter Courses at NE Wild Flower Society

Hello all!
The run up to Christmas has been crazy!  I’ve still got a long shopping list… Hope you are finding joy in the season! 

If you need a gift for a gardener in your life, perhaps a January class at the New England Wild Flower Society would be a good present.

Below are two suggestions.  Get more information at

Saturday, January 21, 2012, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Winter Botany, Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA. Instructor William Kuriger, Ph.D., includes a classroom lecture on the taxonomic characteristics of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous and evergreen plants in winter, including hands-on identification of twig and plant specimens, followed by a walk around the site to put your classroom knowledge to work. Fee: $82 (Member) / $98 (Nonmember) Pre-registration is necessary, contact the registrar at 508-877-7630, ext. 3303.

 Monday, January 23, 2012, 2:00 p.m. tea, 2:30-4:00 p.m. program, Soil: Where Geoscience Meets Botany, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. Soil has been called “the bridge between life and the inanimate world.” Instructor Janet McDonough helps us gain new appreciation for this backbone of our landscape. From its origins in the glacial era, explore the characteristics of soils in New England and how they affect the plants in our landscape. How is soil made? What are the components of a good soil, and what easy methods can gardeners use to tell what amendments are needed? From geology to biology, get all the dirt on soil. Fee: $10 (Member) / $15 (Nonmember). Pre-registration is necessary, contact the registrar at 508-877-7630, ext. 3303.

Holy Hosta, Batman! 2011 Garden Lessons and Finds #2

Leafy green hostasWhen I was young, the driveway to my childhood home – a multi-family in Quincy – was lined with a low stone wall. In the short  bed behind the wall, big, green, leafy hostas grew about every three feet.  I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the plant itself. To me it was something to run at and jump over.  It’s big, bushy mound of leaves were hurdles and I made it my own personal Olympic event.  Needless to say, I always won the gold.  I’m smiling at the memory…
Aphrodite hosta with white flowerThis summer, I discovered the real beauty, variety and usefulness of the hosta.  There are hundreds of species in every shape, size, color and texture.  Choosing a favorite is tough!  Best of all hostas grow in shade and sun!   A rare find for city scapes. So the hosta earns #2 in my 2011 list of Garden Lessons and Finds
Hostas are easy to grow and shade tolerant.  They can do well in 3/4 to full sun.  According to the American Hosta Society (yes there is one),  a general rule of thumb is “the greener the leaf, the less sun necessary for the plant to grow well.”   The corollary to this “rule” also seems to work; “the more yellow and white in a leaf, the more sun necessary for sufficient photosynthesis to allow the plant to thrive.” And, some hosta growers have discovered that additional moisture will help a hosta survive in higher light levels!
The plant is native to Japan, Korea, and China and was first imported and grown in Europe in the late 1700’s. By the mid-1800’s, hosta were growing in the United States.  Hostas are available at most garden centers and are worthy additions to any city garden – shady or sunny.    Check out the American Hosta Society for more information.