The North End’s own Michele Toper took first place in the Porch, Balcony or Container category of the 2019 Mayor’s Garden Contest. As a three-time winner in the citywide competition, she was also selected to be inducted in the 2020 Hall of Fame.

Porch, Balcony or Container Garden winners with Mayor Walsh and Christopher Cook, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space

“I am honored to win first prize and to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next year!” said Toper. “Gardening is my sanctuary and it connects me to memories and experiences. Nurturing and watching something grow is soothing, healing and shows the power of nature. Vegetables, fruits and herbs provide a feast for my table and the tropical flowers share beauty, color and comforting scents. I don’t think that I could survive in the city without my garden,” added the rooftop gardener.

Michele Toper’s flourishing rooftop porch garden on Charter Street in Boston’s North End.

In addition to her gardening passion, Michele Toper is longtime North End resident and founder of one of Boston’s first food tour companies.

Coming in second in the Porch, Balcony category were Joseph Falinski of Dorchester and of Kolea Zimmerman took third prize. In other categories, the first place winners included Miquel Rosales of Beacon Hill in the Shade garden category, Dominique Hurley of East Boston for Small Yard garden; Megan Fox of Jamaica Plain for Medium Yard garden; Daryl Johnson and Rick Smith of Dorchester for Large Yard garden; Balcony or Container garden; Kristen Mobilia of the Fenway for Vegetable or Herb garden; Cheryl Crawford of Roslindale for Senior Yard garden; Recreo Coffee & Roasterie of West Roxbury for Storefront, Organization or Main Street District garden; and John Ruiz of the Fenway for Community garden. In addition to Toper, the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are Carmen Musto; Johnson and Smith; Rick Kuethe and Mobia.

First Place winners received the coveted “Golden Trowel” award from Mayor Walsh and all winners received prize packages from Mahoney’s Garden Centers and the Boston Flower and Garden Show at the awards ceremony in August. First place winners were also entered into a drawing for a JetBlue Grand Prize consisting of round-trip flights for two to any nonstop destination from Boston.

Side view of Toper’s Charter street rooftop garden.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations Michelle,
    I remember entering this contest in 1998, 1999 and 2004. Won first place every time.
    I so much miss my rooftop deck at 350 North Street. Wish I could be back in the North End again.
    Now living in Watertown where there are no such unique and wonderful contests.
    I will forever cherish my plaques.
    Karolyn Kurkjian-Jones

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