Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No time for tea in Boston

Its amazing how many  USA cities have counterparts in the USA, although given its heritage and the designation New England, maybe that's not surprising. Boston in the UK is a small town in Lincolnshire with a population of 64,000 whereas the USA version is the largest city in Massachusetts with a population of 655,000. Ten times bigger! Yes I know, most things in the USA are bigger! Anyway, whilst on my vacation with Jim, we spent two days in this beautiful city. Surprisingly, when I messaged Philip to say that we were staying in the Oasis Guesthouse, we found that coincidentally Philip had stayed at the very same place many years ago. 

Jim and I particularly wanted to do the art galleries and we were not disappointed. Whilst the Boston Museum of Fine Arts was lovely, it was the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum that really captivated us. This is housed in what was the family home of Isabella and John Gardner. Together they traveled widely, collecting Italian Renaissance art, furniture and architectural items. The house she built, that now houses the museum is somewhat whimsical, incorporating a vast collection of architectural salvage. The museum surrounds a beautiful courtyard, covered by a glass roof, the first of its kind in the USA. The museum was first opened to the public in 1903. As well as the central courtyard there is a beautiful modern garden, completed in 2013 called the Monk's Garden, styled in many shades of green with white flowers.

The Monk's Garden

Apologies poor quality pic taken through the glass

I last visited Boston probably 30 years ago and have a rosy memory of the public gardens. Sadly what we found this time, was a rather tired civic park with a lake, worn grass and many trees. The flower beds were mostly disappointing and the iconic swan boats had finished for the day.

Nice alliums - pity about the weeds!

The most prominent graft line I have ever seen - assuming that's what it is!
We did pass the Massachusetts Horticultural Society building, looking very formal and not unlike the Royal Horticultural Society premises in Vincent Square. Behind this stretched a vast pool with some extensive herbaceous planting. In another area I was amused by an ugly building that had been entirely clad in a vinyl skin, printed to look like leafy vines. Altogether a great two days in a lovely city. Sadly we didn't have time to visit the site of the 'Boston Tea Party' but I do recommend the Boston Cream Pie from Mike's Pastries!

Is it a plant or a painting?


  1. Much more to see than just the marathon. The courtyard garden is wonderful, reminds me of moorish courtyards in Spain with the benefit of enclosure, and good to see tree ferns planted there too.

  2. I think they were late replanting the beds in the Public Garden for the summer; just a week or two ago I thought they were rather sad-looking as well. As of a few days ago, though, they are freshly planted with and tropical plants for the summer and look much nicer.