Tag Archives: Boston Parks Department

Sorry to see her go… Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak Retiring


Hello Gardeners!
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.


Boston Garden Contest – Entry Deadline July 12th

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! 

FlowersonthestoopResidents 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.

ImpatiensMy 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. 

Tree Garden June 26, 2013This morning I replanted my tree garden with yellow snapdragons, white and purple petunias, grasses and Blue Dwarf argeretum in the Ageratumfront 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!  

8.21.11 Garden - Right ViewA 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.
Good luck!

Mandevillas and Dahlias – A Boston City Garden Finalist?

Street-side Tree Garden with mandevillas, dahlias and petunias
It’s official. I submitted my street-side tree garden into the City of Boston Garden Contest tonight.  There’s still time for other Boston residents to enter.  The deadline is Wed. July 18th at 5pm.

This summer has been a tough one for my garden.  Today’s submission reflects my fourth planting since April.  That’s well over my usual quota of planting through early July.
My current garden has lush, Red Mandevillas and Purple Dahliasred, mandevillas, purple dahlias, bright purple and yellow petunias, pink impatiens and lots of English ivy.

My fingers are crossed that my garden earns a Finalist position.  I’d love the judge to see the colors, textures and beauty that exists on a sidewalk in the middle of the city.  Good luck to all the entrants!

Boston Garden Contest Deadline Extended!

My Street-side Tree GardenHello All:
Good news!  The deadline for the City of Boston Garden Contest has been extended!  Nomination forms with photos are now due by Wednesday, July 18th at 5pm.
I encourage every City of Boston gardener with a window box, container garden or flowering yard to enter to win that Golden Trowel.  Just fill out an entry form online and submit as many as five (5) photos of your garden space.
Details about the contest and the nomination form are at: http://cityofboston.gov/parks/gardencontest/
Good luck to all!

Enter Mayor Menino’s Garden Contest – Deadline July 13th

Want a little recognition for your beautiful city garden or a neighbor’s garden? Is there room on your mantle for a Golden Trowel?
Come on, take a chance and enter Mayor Menino’s Garden Contest!  Simply take a few dazzling photos of your buds in bloom and fill out a nomination form. The contest is open to all Boston residents, businesses and organization gardens with amateur status.  Deadline is July 13th!  Five finalists are chosen in 10 categories.  Site visits are conducted to determine the winners.

I’ve entered the Garden Contest for the past two years.  Year 1 – my garden was a finalist. (I was so proud.  Even laminated my certificate)  Year 2 – nothing.  (I was robbed!  That’s my tree garden entry below.  Wasn’t it pretty?) 
So it’s Year 3.  And I’ve got my eyes on that Golden Trowel.  
I’m planting a few more flowers in my garden bed this week.  Need to expand the color palette.  There is currently way too much purple in my garden – purple pansies, purple petunias.  Going to spruce it up with some yellow and white daisies and red astilbe.  Maybe even a pink mandevilla or two.  I’ll share my submission photos in a few weeks.

“Boston’s gardeners work long and hard to beautify their homes, businesses, and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “This contest recognizes and honors these green thumbs who are helping to improve our city with their talents.”
Click here to get a nomination form.  Deadline for entries is July 13th.  For more information, call Lauren Patrick at 617-961-3051.  Good luck!

Boston Flower Show Preview Party – Come Join Me!

Hello All:
Every year I love going to the Boston Flower Show.  It’s like Oz.  Filled with vibrant colors, whimsical designs and dreams and ideas for another wonderful gardening season…

The stage is set for another great show from March 14 – 18 at the Seaport World Trade Center.  The theme is “First Impressions.  Adding WOW Factor to Outdoor Spaces.”
While I love the show, I don’t like the enormous crowds, the hot hall or craning my neck to catch a glimpse of some of the exhibits.

Let me share with you how you can see the show – at its most fresh and at a leisurely pace – and help a very worthy cause!

On March 13th from 5:30pm to 8pm, there is a fundraising Preview Party at the Seaport World Trade Center for the 2012 Boston Flower & Garden Show.  The proceeds from the Preview Party will help restore Boston Parks Department’s Greenhouses, where plants are grown for the Public Garden, Boston Common, and dozens of neighborhood parks.

Special guests, entertainment, delightful food and beverage and a silent auction make this an exclusive and enjoyable opportunity to view the show’s gardens and exhibits before the show opens to the general public the following day.

Tickets are $100 each before February 14, $125 per person thereafter.  Ticket includes admission to the private party, exclusive viewing of the Flower Show’s gardens and the chance to meet the designers, open bar, complimentary hor d’oeuvres reception, live music, and one ticket to return to the Flower Show later in the week.

Download a ticket order form today by visiting www.bostonflowershow.com/preview-party/.

I’ll be there with my mom and husband smelling the roses!   Hope to see you there!Janine seated on a stone wall with yellow, pick and white flowers in the background