Volunteer Spotlight: Allium Display Project

18, Jun, 2015 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

One of the great parts of our Volunteer Program is the recurring opportunities for individuals to assist the Horticulture Department with gardening tasks along The Greenway. Projects happen all over the park and occur about every two weeks. We have a great group of volunteers that come almost every time, as well as people that sign up when they can, or come once to learn more about The Greenway!

Last year, we had one project that volunteers helped with throughout the year, focusing on a planting bed in our Urban Arboretum. The bed was originally planted with ground roses (Rosa wichurana), but as our trees grew bigger the roses were getting shaded out and began declining. Darrah Cole, Horticulturist extraordinaire, came up with a new plan to showcase Allium bulbs. We have alliums planted throughout The Greenway and with their globe-shaped purple flowers they are always a bit hit this time of year. Our regular volunteers (and a few of our groups!) helped at almost every stage. The pictures below show the transformation as well as a bunch of our amazing volunteers!

9.10.14 Regulars

Regular volunteer Judy poses with pride after we cleared the whole bed of the ground cover rose in September.

A volunteer group from Boston University's Kilachand Honors College plants the first round of perennials.

Later that month, a volunteer group from Boston University’s Kilachand Honors College planted the first round of perennials, including Hay Fern (Dennstaedtia punctiloba) and Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’).


In early October, regular volunteers plant another round of perennials!

11.05.14 Individuals and WORK Inc. 2

In November, the bulb planting begins! We laid out sweeps of about 15 types of allium bulbs.

11.05.14 Individuals and WORK Inc. 3

A few of our volunteers from Boston Cares help plant allium bulbs. On the left is Margaret, who is the Volunteer Leader for almost all of our Boston Cares groups!

5.13.15 Individuals and WORK Inc. 4

In May of 2015, we went back in to add another layer of perennials, primarily Canadian ginger (Asarum canadense). You can see the alliums starting to pop up!


The completed planting bed is chock full of alliums and perennials that should do well in the shade.


The thoughtful blend of alliums showcase a variety of structures, flower types, and bloom times.

Staff and volunteers alike are proud of the final result! The allium bed is still in bloom now so stop by and check it out for yourself! A few alliums are still slated to bloom later in the year. And after seeing the cool things our volunteers get to work on, learn more about our volunteer program and sign up for upcoming projects here!