New Trees for Charlesgate

In 2022, after consulting with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), permission from the Boston Conservation Commission, and in conjunction with our partners the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, we planted 15 trees in The Grove section of the park.

Tree Dedication

We had a great Tree Dedication event on June 28th, 2022. About 92 people gathered in the Grove. Speakers included Karen Mauney-Brodek, Margaret Pokorny (who was given an award for her work on this project) and Parker James for Charlesgate Alliance, State Senator Will Brownsberger, State Representative Jay Livingstone, City Councilor Kenzie Bok, Patrice Kish from the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Mike Nichols from the Esplanade Association. The weather was beautiful. See below for background on this project. The following photos courtesy of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy by Chris McIntosh.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s DWIGHT Is Continuing to Take Care of the Trees

You can look for Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s water trucking DWIGHT (Drinking Water Encourages Growth in Healthy Trees) and Jack Schiefer, chief of Conservancy field operations, a few times a week to be filling up the “gators” which slowly release water into the ground around the trees. This is the second year for the young trees. We lost a few since the initial planting and will be doing replacements in the Spring of 2024.

New Trees Planted in Charlesgate Park

The Charlesgate Alliance planted 15 new trees over the course of June 1-3, 2022, in coordination with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. Special thanks to Cambridge Landscape, Dan and Marie Law Adams of Landing Studio, and our own Margaret Pokorny for making this dream come true. 14 of the 15 trees are in The Grove section of the park, which we know will not be disturbed by Massachusetts Department of Transportation construction in the coming years. The 15th tree is just on the other side of the Bowker Overpass from The Grove. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy will be watering the trees this summer with their new truck, DWIGHT (Drinking Water Encourages Growth for Healthy Trees).

Trees planted are 3 Red Maple (Acer Rubrium), 1 Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis), 6 Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis), 1 Redbud (Cercis Canadensis), 2 American Beech (Fagus Grandifolia), 1 Black Tupelo (Nyssa Sylvatica), and 1 Swamp White Oak (Quercus Bicolor).

The Charlesgate Alliance will take responsibility for the ongoing care and maintenance of the new trees.  The Alliance will work closely with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy to ensure they are adequately watered, and will rely on Norm Halle, our arborist, to monitor their health and prescribe any special treatments that might be warranted. This is not a Massachusetts DCR program.

The Sponsors and Their Trees

  1. James Geraghty and Joan Cannon Wood in Memory of Constance Cannon and Marion Geraghty, Red Maple (Acer Rubrium)
  2. The Children of The Learning Project, With Love and Care for Our Earth and Our Local Parks, Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis)
  3. The Children of The Learning Project, With Love and Care for Our Earth and Our Local Parks, Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis)
  4. The Children of The Learning Project, With Love and Care for Our Earth and Our Local Parks, Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis)
  5. Debby and Paul Kuenstner in Memory of Janet Painter (1928-2020), Swamp Oak (Quercus Bicolor)
  6. H. Parker James and Randall Albright in Honor of Mary Robinson, Black Tupelo (Nyssa Sylvatica)
  7. Katherine Bowdish and Dominic Tong in Memory of Chuck Bowdish (1959-2022), Artist, Son, Brother, A Good Heart and Soul, Red Maple (Acer Rubrium)
  8. H. Parker James and Randall Albright in Memory of Louise Parker James (1924-2006), Red Maple (Acer Rubrium)
  9. Karen Mauney-Brodek and Lorna Mauney-Brodek in Memory of Their Father, Theodor Victor Brodek, Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis)
  10. George Lewis in Memory of His Father (1931-2022), Patriarch, Father, Husband, Grandfather, Friend, Businessman and Sailor, American Beech (Fagus Grandifolia)
  11. The Dolnick/Meyer Family, Janice, Joe, Alex, and Daniel, Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis)
  12. Friends of Charlesgate Alliance in Honor of Margaret Pokorny, American Beech (Fagus Grandifolia)
  13. Friends of Charlesgate Alliance in Honor of Marie Law Adams and Daniel Adams, Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis)
  14. Friends of Charlesgate Alliance in Honor of State Representative Jay Livingstone and State Senator Will Brownsberger, Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis)
  15. Boston Red Sox through their Fenway Park Demonstration Project Grant Program, disbursed through the Boston Planning and Development Agency, Red Bud (Cercis Canadensis)

Also Supported By

Lexi Crivon, Carol Blair, Jane Timken, Jacqueline Royce and Friend, Ann Solberg, Marjorie Albright, and Michael Bojanowski

Friends of the Public Garden

Garden Club of the Back Bay

This is just the first phase of what we hope will be 150 trees in the core area of the park.

Here is a video of the tree planting process.

Earlier Tree Planting News

This process started with Dan and Marie Adams, our brilliant Landing Studio design team choosing 15 locations in Charlesgate that would not be disturbed when the final park design is installed. Then, along with landscape architects, Weston and Sampson, they identified a selection of native species that would be the right tree in the right place. For example, the locations closer to the river were more flood tolerant and those planted among the existing Grove trees were more shade tolerant.  Only native trees are allowed on our site. Once this plan was set, it needed approval by the DCR Green Docket Committee and then approval by the Boston Conservation Commission (BCC). The submission to the BCC was supported by the Muddy River Maintenance and Oversight Committee (MMOC), by Sen. Will Brownsberger and by Rep. Jay Livingstone, as well as the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB), The Friends of the Public Garden (FOPG), Esplanade Association, The Garden Club of the Back Bay and The Learning Project Elementary School (LP). The LP will be using this project as an outdoor classroom on proper tree planting and care with an emphasis on what trees mean to climate resiliency. The LP is also generously sponsoring three of the new trees.

The next step was to make sure that we got the perfect specimen trees to plant. This is now a bit of a challenge given the increased demand for excellent nursery stock to meet the many new tree planting projects around the region. The Friends of the Public Garden stepped up and loaned us their experts and their nursery contacts at the Elhannon Nursery in Hoosick Falls, New York. Their consulting arborist Norm Helie, proprietor of The Growing Tree, Eric DiTommaso, Parks Care Specialist for FOPG, and Bob Mulcahy, Director of Parks Care and Capital Projects for FOPG, were joined by Jim Kelley, owner of Cambridge Landscape to make this happen. Jim has been doing tree planting in the Friends’ three historic parks for 20 years and he will be doing our tree planting this Spring. This is definitely the dream team of tree planting!

Pictured below on their visit to Elhannon this week is our tag team of Norm, Eric, and Jim, along with supervising canine consultant at the nursery, Pepper.  We are grateful to the Friends for their support of this project from the beginning and also for the generous use of their experts. Once planted the new trees will be added to the Tree Inventory database of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and will be monitored and maintained by the Charlesgate Alliance.

So what is next?  We still need sponsors for 6 trees. You can sponsor a tree for $3,000. They are going fast!  We still need to get the trees delivered and planted.  Jim Kelley is working hard to resolve trucking and delivery issues that are inevitable this year, but we expect to have this planting done by the end of May.  Stay tuned! If you have any questions about the planting or want to be a sponsor, please contact: Margaret Pokorny.

For more information and to make a donation, please see our Donate page.

New Trees

Pepper; Norm Halle, proprietor of The Growing Tree; Jim Kelley, owner of Cambridge Landscape; Eric DiTomasso, park care specialist for Friends of the Public Garden.

Charlesgate Plan

Charlesgate Plan

Location of new trees