Nearly 200 years younger than its next-door neighbor the Common, the Public Garden traces it origin to the filling in of salty marshlands along the Charles River in the 1830s. Charles Street, which today separates the Garden from the less formal Common, once ran along the bank of the river. After the area where the Garden now sits was filled in, George F. Meacham’s design for an English-style garden was chosen by the city in 1869. The Garden’s central lagoon, where the famous swan boats offer visitors rides in the late spring, summer, and early fall, and whimsical suspension bridge provide the Garden with a focal point. Surrounding the lagoon, visitors will find immaculately landscaped flower gardens in the spring and summer and many unique trees selected by Meacham to complete the garden’s atmosphere.
While I love the Common across the street and nearby Esplanade on the Charles River, the Public Garden is my favorite park in the city. The lagoon, statues, and uniquely shaped trees all create a beautiful environment no matter the season. In the spring and summer, color flower gardens surround the lagoon. In fall, the color moves skyward as trees in the Garden display hues of red, yellow, and orange. Even in the dead of winter the Garden is alive, as a pristine layer of white snow covers the ground and icicles hang from the statues and fountains. A small section of the lagoon is kept clear of ice for the benefit of the resident bird population, which still begs visitors for morsels of bread and other treats in the winter just as they do in the summer. I could sit for hours on a bench next to the lagoon here and watch people and nature interact. The Public Garden really is an urban oasis, and a part of the city that should not be missed.