The Botanical Masterpiece

By Drew MacInnis

Throughout my life I have spent a lot of time in Boston, and this fall I was able to get an apartment in Cambridge. Although there are so many different places to go and things to do in the city, there is nothing more relaxing than going to the Boston Public Garden when the flowers are in bloom and the swan boats are in the water.

Boston Public Garden Timelapse - YouTube
Aerial view of the Boston Public Garden.

It is such an incredible sight and immediately calms me down and puts a smile on my face. Obviously the creation of the Public Garden did not happen overnight, so I did some research to see how it got to where it is now.

The Public Garden in the spring with the famous multicolor tulips in bloom.

Similar to many other aspects of Boston the Public Garden was way ahead of its time. It was created in 1839 and was the first botanical garden that was open to the public in the entire country. Between 1839 and 1856 the area was not owned by the city of Boston and was primarily worked on by a man named Horace Gray until he could no longer fund his plans. Once the city of Boston obtained the rights to the land, they held a design competition with the winner getting his vision created. A gentleman by the name of George Meacham won the competition at only twenty five years of age and in less than twenty years his plan was created, and is still primarily the layout of the Public Garden today.

Planting taking place in the early 1900’s.

The Public Garden is twenty four acres and with so much space to cover there is extensive planning that takes place. With Boston having very harsh winters, a lot of the raising and growing of the plants took place elsewhere. When the garden first started most of the plants were grown throughout Boston in various greenhouses. During that time there was also a lot of experimentation going on with what plants look the best and stay alive the longest. There would be new seeds shipped in from all over the world, with some making it to the garden and some not. The Public Garden is something that has evolved over time through the hard work of so many people and thanks to them I am able to escape the craziness of the city to a beautiful natural landscape filled with life.