Commandants House Garden Redesign Project


This week’s project took place at the Commandants Garden in the Charlestown Navy Yard.  The commandant is historically-significant and he would come to his backyard and watch the ships and what went on in the yard.  This project helps the park by making more for the tourists and people to see, and look at the beauty of it.

Our work benefits the park by making the landscape more inviting for visitors.  Originally there were lots of weeds and shrubs.  It didn’t look very nice.  Now there is a new garden with trees and stone pathway to be added.  Now the garden is shaped up and looks amazing and more eye-popping.

Our highlights were watching the progress and transformation of the garden happen.  Another highlight was finishing the project and having all of the plants planted.  A challenge was making sure the measurements were always spot-on.  Other challenges of the project were the weather, and pushing through to get it done.

Guest speakers met with us throughout the week.  The guest speakers [Nicole Walsh and staff from Museum Services] informed us on what they would find in the yard and how the different color dirt meant different time periods.  When Melissa Eloshway [Olmsted Center Design-the-parks intern, and designer of this project plan] was here, we learned about what the backyard looked like back then and what it looks like now and how we could help.  There were several guest speakers that were involved with the plans: explaining the historical site, and the archeologists showing us what they do for their job.  I learned how they set up the plans and all.

We practiced new techniques and learned to identify plants within the garden.  I learned about the flat shovel, which is used to flatten the dirt around the plant to make it look good.  Also a technique that I used is always being a pair with someone that complements your skills. This will help me by just having that knowledge of doing it and being able to have that as a skill.  A new plant I learned about was catmint (which was used to add more color to the garden) and that any type of mint has a square stem.  Now I can identify mint!

Charlie Pepper was our technical expert.  His role was to oversee our work and make sure everything was done right.  He showed us how to take Melissa’s plan and put it to the field.  He has a background as a horticulturalist, works with the National Park Service with Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation.  Charlie taught us how to properly remove a plant from its container and plant it, and how to take a design plan from paper and actually execute the plan.  We also learned how to use the rake to fix up and make sure the dirt and grass is clean and looks nice.

-Emani Gonzalez and Jeremiah Archer, Boston Field Team Members 2017

2 responses to “Commandants House Garden Redesign Project

  1. It has been great to see this project develop through the stages of research and planning to implementation. So satisfying! Thanks for sharing it in the blog.


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