In Spring 2021 we welcomed the Mary Ellen Welch Memorial Garden at the Greenway entrance by Marginal Street. We are so happy to have this garden in the Greenway to remember and honor the legacy of Mary Ellen Welch.
We hope that old and new visitors will enjoy gathering in the area to remember and learn about Mary Ellen’s life while enjoying the different colors of the garden each season.
We believe that the memorial garden will continue the joyful and brave spirit of Mary Ellen into the community.
ABOUT THE GARDEN
We wanted the garden to be a cheerful and peaceful place to remember our friend and community member. Mary Ellen was so important for East Boston and for the creation of the Greenway and we want to celebrate her positive impact through this garden.
The memorial garden is located at the current beginning of the Greenway at Marginal Street and we expect it to become a landmark at the Greenway entrance for the Jeffries Point community.
The garden is a simple design composed of a resting/gathering/contemplating space surrounded by herbaceous plants and bushes. The memorial garden design utilizes the location of an existing planting bed. In that sense, it looks to renovate the space to provide an area of calm that allows the visitors to sit down and contemplate in the new garden. It also aims to be a space for people to enjoy themselves while either sitting surrounded by plants of different heights and colors or by walking in a path between the flowers.
The plant palette is composed of a balance of native and adapted species carefully selected to create a garden in constant change that includes different colors and textures. The project intends to remember Mary Ellen’s life with all the happy colors and diversity of experiences throughout the year. Below you can see a list of species appropriated for the Greenway and the list of species that we planted in the memorial garden. Additionally, we included a Rose of Sharon donated by Mary Ellen Welch’s niece to acknowledge her family lineage.
Finally, within the contemplation space, the garden includes two green Adirondack chairs, Mary Ellen’s favorite color, to acknowledge her Irish heritage.
CREATING THE MEMORIAL GARDEN
We started talking about the idea of a garden when we changed the name of the Greenway to Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. Its creation involved several Greenway Board and Council members and meetings with the City of Boston so now we can proudly enjoy our memorial garden.
The landscape design started with the support of our board member James Kros and it was finished by Luli (María de la Luz) Lobos Martínez. Both of them shared their design concepts and plant palettes at the Greenway Council meetings so the design could be adapted considering the community’s suggestions.
We had several meetings with Parks and Recreation Department staff to define the scope of the garden and get the design approved. We are grateful to the Parks and Recreation Department for funding the garden from its Fund for Parks and Recreation in Boston.
The design was implemented by community members and volunteers who spent the day together talking about Mary Ellen.
The week before planting day, we had Metro Management work with us to remove the weeds and amend the soil. We are so grateful for their support. Sal LaMattina also helped us by providing space to store the plants and moving them from the truck to the storage location.
On June 12, 2021, we had a full working day where we planted all the plants on-site following the previously traced areas. We had a lot of fun sharing with other community members and getting our hands in the dirt. We remembered anecdotes that we have lived with Mary Ellen Welch, got to know new neighbors, enjoyed gathering after so many months of covid related social distancing, and shared some pizza.
By the end of the planting day, the State representative Adrian Maddaro passed by and said “my aunt is smiling from the skies right now!” after looking at the garden. We certainly hope Mary Ellen is enjoying the garden and that you will get a chance to sit and take pleasure in the memorial garden.
We are especially grateful to Nat Taylor and Liz Mullard for watering the garden during its first months making sure that all the plant species settled down in their new home.
WHAT’S COMING NEXT?
Currently, we are in the process of creating signage for the garden so visitors can learn about Mary Ellen’s life. We are looking forward to putting the sign on the site.
Also, there is an ice cream shop coming to the area! The shop will be implemented inside of the blue caboose and will be owned by one of our neighbors. We are excited that we will have a place to enjoy some frozen goodies while enjoying a walk in the Greenway and the memorial garden views.
If you visit, send us your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media @eastiegreenway.
ABOUT THE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Luli (María de la Luz) Lobos Martínez has been our design and planning consultant since November 2019 and took over the project. She is an architect and landscape architect by profession having attended the Universidad de Chile in her hometown Santiago de Chile and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, MA.
Additionally, she is the Mobility and Environmental Systems Analyst at LivableStreets Alliance and the project lead at the Gender and Mobility Initiative. You can check more of her work at her IG @mllobosmdesign.