The Kelleher Rose Garden, a fantastical floral gem in the heart of the Back Bay Fens, is once again open for the season, and the roses are just about to start blooming!
The Rose Garden is part of the Emerald Necklace park system. The area was originally wetlands, but in the late 1880s, Frederick Law Olmsted transformed what was a foul tidal marsh into a clean, scenic estuary. Then, in 1910, the damming of the Charles River blocked the tidal flow and changed the ecology of the area. Landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff redesigned the park as a public rose garden, a popular trend in the early 1900s.
In 1931, Shurcliff designed a circular formal rose garden opposite the Museum of Fine Arts where the general public as well as rose enthusiasts could learn about rose culture and enjoy the flowers— and it was an instant success. The garden was expanded in 1932 when the rectangular section was built. In 1975, the garden was named the James P. Kelleher Rose Garden to honor the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Superintendent of Horticulture.
The Kelleher Rose Garden contains more than ten classes and 200 varieties of roses. In total, the garden has almost 1,500 plants!
Whether you’re stopping to admire the blossoms or looking for a picnic spot, the Kelleher Rose Garden is a delightfully dreamy spot to visit this summer. It’s completely free to visit and it’s open to the public from 7am to 5pm daily, now through October.
Find the Kelleher Rose Garden at 73 Park Drive in the Back Bay Fens.