The flower that has marked the month of June has been the PEONY. These puffs of petals have come to have many different meanings--from romance and prosperity to royalty and honor. The Chinese name for peony even translates to "most beautiful. We hope that you have been able to enjoy some of these fragrant blooms during your visits these last few weeks. While there have been many things that we have not been able to predict in 2020, the peonies in our garden our a reminder of the constant beauty of our little corner of the world.
Baby Bunnies in the Garden
This spring we welcomed a family of baby bunnies that one of our gardeners found nesting in his plot. While we try to keep these fury friends at bay during the season, their adorable little faces have been a welcome site to gardeners and visitors alike. Even though the bunnies left their nest when they opened their eyes and had full fur, they can be spotted hopping around throughout the garden. In fact, they have become quite the local attraction for families looking for some fresh air and a respite from quarantining.
Halloween Event Draws Big Crowd
on Gorgeous Day
Pony rides, face painting, delicious baked goods, and more--all on a spectacular Autumn Day. This year's Halloween in the Garden, on Saturday, October 26, was a success by all measures. Congratulations to Evie Scoville who was this year's lead organizer and to her merry band of volunteers who swarmed the Gardens starting early in the morning to set-up, throughout the day coordinating the many activities, and right to the end when it was time to clean-up. An event like this helps fulfill the Gardens mission to create opportunities for community gathering, while the proceeds of the event help to advance the goal of greenspace preservation in Charlestown. Thank you to everyone who contributed their time, treasure, and talent. And if you have any precicious pictures from the day that you'd like to share here, email them to email@example.com, and we'll add them to the gallery.
Garden Tour Attracts 250+ Guests
New Sign Features New Logo for Gardens
The Gardens' most important fundraiser and community event--The Garden Tour of Historic Charlestown--had over 250 guests exploring the streets of our amazing neighborhood on a brilliant June day. By all measures, the event was an amazing success--bringing neighbors together, introducing Charlestown to visitors from other parts of the state and the country, and helping to cultivate a love for all things green.
Adding to festive the atmosphere, the day began with the installation of the Gardens' brand new sign at the corner of Main and Bunker Hill Streets. Funded by a grant from the City of Boston's Community Preservation Act (CPA), the sign replaces one that had stood on the spot for most of the Gardens' 40 years. Two additional, smaller signs will be erected at the gates on Bunker Hill Street near the theater and Main Street, corner of Charles Street.
The sign also features a new logo for the organization--a unique and easily recogizable brand mark that will be gradually introduced across all of the gardens marketing and communications platforms including this website. Watch for the gradual transformation of our visual identity.
After a day's rest, our event coordinators will be busy at work producing the next gathering for the 2019 season: the ever-popular Lobsta in the Gardens.
Another Sellout Success
In spite of the one day rain postponement, it was a full house (or a full garden) on Friday night, July 19, for this year's Lobsta in the Garden. Ann Hargraves, Toni Pollack, Cindy Colpack, Brent Hayes-Hand, and their merry band of helpers served the meal, while many others pitched in on the set-up and clean-up. Thanks to all of them for making it such a great night. And thanks to all those who bought tickets to the event.
Proceeds from the event after expenses go to the work of the Gardens for Charlestown--preserving this precious bit of greenspace, fostering community, providing educational opportunities. There are lots of places you can go out for lobster at this time of year, but few quite as beautiful as our Gardens, with such awesome dinner companions, and the opportunity to to something great for our neighborhood.
Welcome 2019 New Members
Demystifying the Gardens Waiting List
One of the best things about a new season in the Gardens is the arrival of new members. This year we had several plots open up and were able to welcome twelve new gardeners. Evi Scoville and Ann Hargraves ran orientation this year, and welcomed the following gardeners: Christina Martini, Mary McCarthy, Jennifer La, Diane Holmes, Kate Bechtold, Catherine Korn, Natalie Wagner, Gerry Foley, Jaye Hefner. Abbey Murray, Valerie Polk, and Brent Hayes-Hand. If you see someone you don't recognize, don't hesitate to introduce yourself.
And if you're a new gardener, don't hesitate to ask an experienced member any questions you might have. No doubt, all the new members were thrilled to receive word that they'd scored a plot this season. At any given point there are as many as fifty folks on the waiting list, so it requires a little patience, to say the least. To add your name to the waiting list, go to the "Get Involved" page, complete an application, and pay the $10 waiting list fee. The names of those on the list are also published on the "Get Involved" page, which is updated periodically.
As garden plots open up each season, those on the waiting list are offered a plot in the order they were added to the list. Most current gardeners would agree: It's worth the wait. And those on the list receive regular notices of events taking place in the Gardens and are always welcome to volunteer their time and talent and to participate in events.
Welcome Spring 2019!
First Clean-up of the Season
It wasn't the warmest or most beautiful day of the season so far, but lots of great work got done on Saturday, April 13, the first Clean-up of the new season. Thanks to all the volunteers who participated, including the reliable spring bulbs and perennials that are doing their part to make the Gardens look good too.
Open for Business!
Fresh snow had just fallen, and it was a little chilly inside as well as out, but that didn't keep a nice representation of Gardens for Charlestown members from turning out on Sunday, March 3, for the Annual Meeting. Attendees had the opportunity to mingle and catch up with each other, but most importantly, the meeting represents the official opening of the new Gardens Season.
Board President Ann Hargraves led the meeting, offering a President's report that recapped many of the accomplishments of the past year: A successful collaboration with the Working Theater and Artists Group last June (Summer Solstice), a well-attended and wonderfully received Summer Series of food events in the garden, grant-funded improvements to the property, an impactful Tend and Tell program, and upgrades to the Gardens communications and marketing practices. Deb McCarthy presented the financial report for the year, demonstrating how the generosity of members, neighbors and grant makers have put the organization on firm footing. Geoff Phillips McEnany updated the gathering on the accomplishments and needs of the Tend and Tell program (run by the Gardens in conjunction with the Harvard-Kent School). And Chris Schiavone walked the audience through improvements made to the member section of the Gardens website, including a new calendaring app.
Those gathered thanked Terry Suganski and Jessie Reid for their service to the Board. In their tenures on the Board, each brought their unique skills and generously gave of their limited free time for the service of the Gardens organization and the community. And the members voted in the 2019 Board, which now adds Evelyn Scoville and Amy Kennedy Slesar to the Board roster.
Members of the Board are busy right now assigning vacant plots to folks on the waiting list who have looked forward to an opportunity to work a plot in the Gardens. And planning for the Garden Tour this June is in full swing. Keep checking back here for announcements about upcoming events and activities and recaps of what's happened recently in the Gardens.
Halloween in the Gardens
Wet grass and cloudy skies did nothing to dampen the spirits at the Gardens' annual Halloween Festival on Sunday, October 28. Click through the gallery above for snapshots of some precious moments (and adorable children). Keep checking back as we upload additional pics. A big shout out to Jesse Reid who was the lead organizer for the event. And thanks to all the volunteers who donated their time, treasure and talent.
After a 24 hour postponement due to rain, Taste of the Gardens went off without a hitch, 40+ guests enjoying delicious bites served by local chefs and restaurants. Thursday night's cool air and clear skies proved a perfect backdrop for hearty pulled pork sliders served up by the Gardens' own David Nava, crostini and meatballs from Meghan Hargraves' Bread and Ginger, brews from Beer Works, and blue fish pate from Brewers Fork. There were wings from Blackmoor; Trader Joe's supplied some wonderful apps; and Ophelia's Mark took care of our canine friends. Garden members pitched in on the set-up, hospitality, and tear-down, making it a relaxing night for gardens guests and supporters.
Taste was the third in the Gardens first-ever Summer Dining Series. With so many of the products and services generously donated, the series has proven to be an important source of financial support to this 41 year old, all-volunteer, urban treasure. The series also succeeded and bringing together a wide range of folks--from our longtime Gardeners to our newest neighbors.
A Taste of Spain at the Corner of Main
TAPAS DINNER A SELL-OUT SUCCESS
The second in this year's Gardens Summer Series, Small Plates in the Gardens, found forty convivial diners gathered on tables on the patio and enjoying the beautiful summer evening. On Wednesday August 15, the menu theme was Spanish Tapas, and every dish--from savory Gazpacho to sweet Tarta de Santiago--was superb. A shout out is in order to Jesse Reid who labored tirelessly over a hot grill, Cindy Colpack who labored in our makeshift kitchen, and to the Garden members who volunteered before to do the set-up and after to do the clean-up. The event generated valuable financial support, of course, but more importantly generated the kind of conversation and community that makes Charlestown such a great place to live.
Lobsta 2018 A Success
This year's edition of our signature Lobsta in the Gardens, on Wednesday, July 16, was massively successful. Over 70 guests--a mix of members, neighbors, and new friends of the Gardens--brought their appetites and their awesome energy to the evening. No one wanted to leave, and the cleaning crew (thank you volunteers!!!) had to politely remind people it was time to go. A shout-out to Ann Hargraves (our fearless leader) and Courtney Green, who organized and led this year's lobster extravaganza.
Next up on the events calendar: A Spanish Tapas dinner on August 15. Don't miss this one.
First-ever Collaboration between Gardens, Gallery, and Theater Attracts 100+
Summer Solstice Stroll Included Art, Music, Herbs, Selfies, Live Performances, and More
It began with a discussion about how the three organizations--Gardens for Charlestown, Artists Group of Charlestown, and Charlestown Working Theater--could support each other and show people on the other side of Charlestown that the "The Neck" is worth a visit. It resulted in a fantastic free event on Thursday night, June 21. Starting with a exhibition of self-portraits at the StoveFactory Gallery (it was National Selfie Day after all!), attendees followed the Dirty Water Brass Band down Medford Street, across Main Street, and into the Gardens where there were herb-flavored beverages, plenty of snacks, and live, locally written performances by the group Shotz. The first day of summer and longest day of the year was a fitting kick off to the 2018 summer season. It might also be the first step in the process of having our little corner of Town recognized as a Cultural District. Stay tuned.