The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is Boston’s only organically maintained public park and one of a handful of organically maintained urban parks in the United States. Learn more about our extensive organics program.
Take a look at the horticultural highlights on the Greenway! Each Park has something different and beautiful to offer.
Magnolias of great interest to gardeners and botanists alike. Gardeners enjoy them because of their large ornamental flowers, botanists because these flowers were, evolutionarily, some of the earliest to arise. The Elizabeth Magnolia is the first truly yellow-colored magnolia introduced to the trade, with pure yellow flowers that bloom in the spring. It can be found scattered throughout the beds and lawns of the North End parks. Bloom Time: Late April-Early May.
Running parallel to Surface Road, a series of carefully shorn boxwood hedges encase garden beds home to a wide variety of popular flowering plants such as Echinacea, Daylilies, Irises, Lavender, and Catmint. From the early flowering Daffodils to the late season long lasting Anemone, there’s something flowering here all season long.
The American Elm, state tree of Massachusetts, was once the most widely planted street tree, but rapidly fell out of favor due to a susceptibility to Dutch Elm Disease. The cultivar ‘Washington’, is one of the earlier disease-resistant varieties developed, and as the largest tree on the Greenway, currently provides shade to the North End Parks.
These native New England trees grow along the harbor side of the Wharf District parks. Red maples are highly adaptable to various conditions, making them an ideal addition to the Greenway. In the fall, the bright red leaves add a feeling of warmth to the Greenway.
A tree native mainly to Southeastern United States, but also with a small indigenous population in Massachusetts, the magnolia is ideal for landscaping purposes because of its attractive, semi-evergreen foliage and fragrant, white flowers. Bloom Time: May-July.
Native to the eastern United States, the River Birch's distinctive bark and outstanding yellow fall color makes it an ideal addition to landscape use.
Native to New England, the Giant Hyssop is a nectar source for bees. It also attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies, such as the Tiger Swallowtail seen here. Bloom Time: July-September.
An orange flowering native milkweed littered throughout the Wharf District Parks. The scientific name for milkweed, Asclepias, is derived from Asklepios, the Greek god of healing. Bloom Time: Late June-August.
With its unique flower shape, the Marsh Blazing Star has become a fast favorite of Greenway visitors. Bloom Time: June-August.
These harbingers of spring produce a whitish-pink, slightly fragrant flower. Standing on a slight hill in the Northeastern corner, the Cherry trees provide an ideal place to sit and enjoy the park. Bloom Time: April-May.
A native plant that produces small, white flowers in the early spring, and a crop of edible dark purple berries in the summer, a favorite of birds. Bloom Time: May-June.
These are some of the most impressive flowering plants in the Fort Point Channel parks. Both species are grown for their flowers, which can be several different colors and grow up to 12" across. To distinguish between the two species- the Chinese Peonies are an herbaceous perennial which die back to the ground each year, the Tree Peonies have a woody stem, which survives over the winter. What is also exciting are the cross hybrids (cross between the herbaceous and tree peonies) that makes for a robust plant with unique blooms. Bloom Time: May-June.
With its burgundy-colored leaves, stems, and pink flowers, ‘Lady in Red’ is one of few Hydrangeas to provide four seasons worth of interest. Bloom Time: July
A perennial native to the Southeastern United States, Stokes’ Aster is named for Dr. Jonathan Stokes, an English physician and botanist. The cultivar ‘Color Wheel’ is known for having flowers varying from lavender to purple, with sometimes as many as five shades on a single plant. Stokes’ Aster can be seen flowering in the Fort Point Channel and Dewey Square Parks. Bloom Time: April-June.
One of the most popular plants in Dewey Square Park, the Fairy Rose is a welcome addition to the otherwise green Dewey Square. Bloom Time: June-September.
Standing at about a foot and a half covered in blueish-purple flowers, Rozanne Geranium is flowers from late spring and continues until the first frost starts to loom. The almost audaciously long flowering cycle results in many gardeners referring to this cultivar as one of the most exceptional geraniums.
Bamboo is a member of the grass family, and it is found throughout the world. Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant on earth, which helps to account for its rapid growth on the Greenway. There are three varieties of Bamboo planted in Chinatown Park: The tall Stone Bamboo, the mid-height Arrow Bamboo, and the low, ground cover-like Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo.
Unlike many of the annual Chrysanthemums that tend to be planted late in the year for a splash of fall color, there are some Hardy Chrysanthemums that can survive a New England Winter. Generally a pink or white color, these flowers open in late summer and continue until the first frost approaches.
Native to China, Japan, and Korea, the Goldenrain tree was first introduced to this country in 1763. It is one of only a few yellow-flowering trees hardy to this region. The Goldenrain tree can be seen flowering in Chinatown Park. Bloom Time: June-September.