April is Not the Cruelest Month in Boston

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Courtyard, courtesy of Clement and Howcroft

…because the hanging trailing nasturtiums have returned to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum courtyard.

They commemorate Gardner’s April 14 birthday. Gardner hung the first courtyard nasturtiums herself; now, the Museum’s staff hang them every April (except last year, when renovations precluded such gaiety.) She specified that only orange nasturtiums be used, to complement the courtyard’s salmon-pink walls.

So if you’re unlucky in love,or your peas are refusing to sprout from your garden’s frigid soil, or you can’t stand one more Patriot’s Day parade, you can still be happy: Mrs. Gardner’s landscaping doesn’t clash with the paint, all is well with the world. Sometimes I wish she had specified U.S. budget priorities or perhaps a comprehensive Middle East policy, but one woman can only do so much.


Meg Muckenhoupt is the author of Boston’s Gardens & Green Spaces.  She is a freelance environmental and travel writer. Her articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBoston Magazine, the Time Out Boston guide, and many other publications. She holds a certificate in Field Botany from the New England Wild Flower Society.

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