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Front yard gardens in Dorchester’s Melville Park neighborhood are now a palette of bright colors with fragrant roses in bloom, delicate foxglove in clusters, and bold yellow and orange lilies. But on Sunday, June 19 contributors to the Dorchester Park Association’s Summer Solstice Garden Tour were invited into the hidden gems behind the homes which included not only flowers but exotic trees, terraces, a reflection pond, gazebos, fountains, arbors, statues, a waterfall and urns. Visitors were able to meet the gardens’ creators in each cool shady oasis to discuss plants, shrubs, trees and garden accoutrements.

The tour also featured the Shawmut Garden Tunnelcap Beds near the Shawmut T Station which borders the concrete “cover” that caps the subway train tracks. Inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London and designed by Maryellen Sullivan, Shawmut garden has a botanical, medicinal and educational theme with markers describing many of the plants.

Following the tour, gardeners, guests and volunteers gathered in the garden of one of the participants for refreshments.

More than 50 people toured the gardens raising $2,600 for Dorchester Park, noted organizer Lisa Ahern of the Dorchester Park Association (DPA). Designed by the firm of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Dorchester Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation’s historic properties worthy of preservation. Proceeds from DPA fundraisers are used to sponsor events at the park, park cleanups, park plantings and for the endowment fund established to preserve and improve the park far into the future.

“The big tent will go up in the park on September 9 for the Gala 125th Anniversary Celebration,” said DPA Chairman Richard O’Mara. The following Sunday, September 11, the popular Annual Classic Car Show and Family Fun Day will feature music, games, stories, food trucks and spectacular vehicles. More information is available at the DPA website: or on the Dorchester Park Association Facebook page.

DPA meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the summer months at Carney Hospital and a special meeting to plan the Gala will be held on Monday, June 27 at 6:30 at Cedar Grove Gardens on 911 Adams Street. All meetings are open to the public and volunteers are needed to help with the many events scheduled this year.

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