Take Time to Smell the Roses

Boston’s Famous Rose Garden

The Kelleher Rose Garden, situated in Boston’s Back Bay Fens, was transformed from a wetland into a picturesque oasis by architect Arthur Shurcliff in 1931. In honor of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent of Horticulture, the garden was officially named the James P. Kelleher Rose Garden in 1975. After facing a great deal of decline, in 2001 the Emerald Necklace Conservancy began implementing a plan to rejuvenate the garden and technify the necessary procedures to preserve this beautiful sanctuary.

To this day, the Kelleher Rose Garden contains over 200 varieties of roses and almost 1,500 plants in total. The garden is open to the public from mid-April through October. Its unparalleled beauty attracts artists from all over the world as well as being a favored site for marriage proposals, weddings, and other outings. Weddings, in particular, are permitted between April 1 and December 1 and the venue can hold up to 50 guests – ideal for an enchanting, private wedding.

Once a year, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department presents an event known as the Rose Garden Party. This year, the elegant evening social event, chaired by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Ms. Lorrie Higgins, took place on Wednesday, June 13th at which 3,000 rose bushes were at peak bloom. Attendees ranged from top business men/women to philanthropic leaders. All proceeds from the ticketed event goes to funding free programs in neighborhood parks. This year, the event featured live entertainment, live and silent auction, delicious food, en plein air painting demonstration, as well as the famous creative hat contest. 

The hat contest has always been a popular highlight from the evening event. Under the glorious sky from this year’s event, women dressed with ecstatic hats that had relevance to a garden party setting. Majority of these exceptional pieces of art comes from Boston’s South End very own Marie Galvin of Marie Galvin Fine Millinery. Marie Galvin, located just around the corner from 88 Wareham, began teaching herself the Art of Millinery 17 years ago. Now, 17 years later, she offers magnificent pieces of true fashionized art ranging from Kentucky Derby hats to Fascinators and everything in between.

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Catherine Craig