Arts & Culture Community

Friends of Christopher Columbus Park Displays Golden Trowel Award

What do the Bruins and the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park have in common? In 2011 when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara wheeled the Stanley Cup in a baby carriage through the North End for all to see. Taking a page from this iconic moment, the FOCCP Horticulture Committee, which won the 2020 Mayor’s Garden Contest and was awarded the Golden Trowel, created a carriage to display the award.

The cart has a dual purpose in that the horticulture group fills the cart with vibrant bouquets from the winning, abundant Garden of Hope and delivers them to deserving individuals and organizations in the neighborhood. So far dozens have been given away.

The inspiration for the Garden of Hope came last spring when most of the hybrid roses in the Park’s classic rose garden failed to make it through the winter. Horticulture Chairs, Robyn Reed and Terese O’Connell led the effort to create a lush garden of flowering annuals, perennials, and wildflowers with the intent that the flowers would be used in bouquets for those needing a ray of hope. Starting from a muddy garden patch in the spring, horticulture volunteers steadfastly nurtured the plantings. The result is a magical garden bursting with color and also with life as the bees, butterflies, and not so welcome bunnies, make themselves at home.   

When it came time to start delivering bouquets around the neighborhood, Terese O’Connell thought it would be fun to mimic what Chara did with the Stanley Cup. Meredith Piscitelli, a volunteer who spends many hours working in the garden and regularly greets the public there, is always open to whimsical ideas. She borrowed a carriage from a neighbor and created FOCCP’s Golden Trowel Cart.

According to Meredith, “On Fridays we make up small vases with nosegays and bouquets, tie a note with a message from FOCCP around them, put them in the carriage, and deliver them around the neighborhood. Those who have received them so far have been delighted.”

If you see FOCCP volunteers pushing a carriage around the neighborhood, be sure to stop to admire the Golden Trowel, the well-deserved award for a garden tended with love, care, and enthusiasm.

Photo credit: Meredith Piscitelli

The many FOCCP projects are only possible because of member support. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, this year we are seeing a sizable drop in new memberships and in renewals. We can’t do this without your support. Please consider becoming a member (  or a sponsor (

Together We Are Part of Something Bigger! Thank you and enjoy your Park!

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