What’s Blooming in Boston: Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Oakleaf hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangea, Sitting Grove, Boston Mandarin Oriental Hotel

These oakleaf hydrangeas are blossoming in the Sitting Grove between Boston’s Mandarin Oriental hotel and the Shops at Prudential Center. The Sitting Grove isn’t as popular as the Pru’s South Garden, even though it’s open to the public. It’s smaller, and shadier, more intimate and out-of-the-way.

Tobias Wolf designed a cool oasis for this roof garden on top of a 1964 parking garage in the middle of a mall, and it is growing greener every year; the photos on Wolf’s site don’t do justice to the Grove today. It’s lush and airy, a lovely place to be alone in the middle of the city.

April is Not the Cruelest Month…

…because the hanging trailing nasturtiums have returned to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum courtyard.

They’re draped to celebrate Gardner’s April 14 birthday. Gardner hung the first courtyard nasturtiums herself; now, the Museum’s staff hang them every April (except last year, when renovations precluded such gaiety.) She specified that only orange nasturtiums be used, to complement the courtyard’s salmon-pink walls. She didn’t say how you’re supposed to eat them.

Nasturtium Summer Roll

Smooshed up nasturtiums at Cafe G

So if you’re unlucky in love,or your peas are refusing to sprout from your garden’s frigid soil, or you can’t stand one more Patriot’s Day parade, you can still be happy: Mrs. Gardner’s landscaping doesn’t clash with the paint, all is well with the world. Sometimes I wish she had specified U.S. budget priorities or perhaps a comprehensive Middle East policy, but one woman can only do so much.

(Photos by Cheryl Richards, courtesy of the Gardner Museum’s Nasturtium Awareness Bureau.)