South Garden Progress
After a summer that oscillated between drought and flood, hot and cold, crisp autumn days brought relief to runners and walkers on the Boulevard path. Those rounding the south end come upon the secluded garden that anchors the 1.6-mile park. If people see a woman weeding or planting and say, as some do, “Thanks for doing this,” they are rewarded with the warm smile of volunteer Peggy Edwards.
Peggy is one of the volunteers who work on Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) projects for no pay and little glory, but for fun. Don Cordner, Pam Lietar, and Cynthia Bertozzi have all pitched in in recent years to tend the Boulevard gardens, and Swan Point staff has come to the rescue at the Trolley Shelter garden several times. Peggy is the first gardener in some time who has been dedicated to the South Garden.
Since Peggy assumed the care of the South Garden in 2015, extensive weed cover has gradually disappeared and bushes and flowers have flourished as never before. A trained horticulturist focused on public gardens, Peggy was horticulturist of Cincinnati Parks and Recreation for several years and later assistant horticulturist at Blithewold for a time.
Now settled in Rhode Island since 2008, Peggy prefers being identified simply as “Gardener.” She fits the care of the South garden in with her private garden work. When clients and friends offer plants, she accepts the native species preferred by the Conservancy–Joe Pye and Ironweed, Echinacea and Bee Balm among others–and tucks them into the Boulevard garden. Next year she plans to install labels to help passersby identify what they are seeing.
The 30-foot yellow-taped section of the Boulevard Path at Upton that you may have noticed is test paving being tried out by the Conservancy and the Parks Department in the search for a more porous material. The hope is that, in addition to allowing some water to be absorbed, it will feel good beneath the feet of walkers and runners. By December, the stabilizer used to hold the stone dust will probably have set, and this section can be used again.