In Boston, after a long, sticky summer day in the middle of August, there’s nothing quite like stepping out of the city bustle and into one of the oldest gardens in the country. Located in the center of the city, the 24-acre Public Garden located within historic Boston Common was the first botanical garden in the United States. Who could resist lingering in the long, cool shade just before sunset?
The garden is Victorian, and besides the expected roses, features formal beds, statuary and a surprising number of tropical and ornamental plants and flowers.
Apparently, the Victorians were fascinated with showy, large plants, and the park has beds filled with palms, crotons and other ornamentals.
I have to say, as a Southern Californian who lives among tropical plants, it was strange to find flowers like hibiscus, ferns and cannas in Bean Town.
Besides the floating swans,
classic fountains and imposing statues,
the draping willows set the serene mood.
The park has about 600 trees, many of them different types of elms. All are labeled. (Some of them were used for public hangings in the 19th century.) Besides beeches, chestnuts and ginkos–and even a Sierra Redwood–the park has flowering trees, such as dogwood, crab apple and magnolia. I bet this park looks like an entirely different place in spring, and fall, and winter.
The Swan Boats, which you can cruise the serpentine pond at 2 mile s per hour during a 15-minute ride, are one of the most popular features. But the true stars are the ducks.
That is, assuming you had a happy childhood and were read Make Way for Ducklings by your parents. This is a bronze statue of the famous Mallard family in the park.
Boston is a city that seems more beautiful to me every time I visit. If you get to go, it’s worth a stroll through this historic garden!