Boston Public Garden
The Public Garden was created in 1837 while the Boston Common in 1634. What a difference two centuries made.
From its inception, the Public Garden was decorative and flowery, while the Common was pastoral and practical. The Common's walkways were for crosstown travel, the Public Garden's paths for meandering. The Common was America's first park, the Public Garden its first public botanical garden.
This style of park, featuring the gardener's art, was ushered in by Victorians who had new techniques readily available to collect, hybridize and propagate plants. They had access to showy annuals. Greenhouse-grown plants could assure that displays would be seen at their peak. With such abilities, they bedded-out the Garden in intricate floral patterns of blazing color and planted exotic imported trees. These features are clear in the design by George Meacham, who won the public design competition for the Garden. The prize was $100.
We maintain the Victorian traditions for the most part, and we feature the Garden as one of Boston's great attractions, but it was not always without its critics. In the early days, some complained that the unnatural combinations of colorful plants were garish beyond the bounds of good taste.
Come see for yourself. Admire the rich and unusual plants, the Lagoon, monuments and fountains, and the Swan Boats created and operated for over 100 years by the Paget family.