Beacon Hill resident Miguel Rosales took home first prize for the Shade garden category in Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s 2019 Garden Contest last week, tallying the second consecutive year he has been recognized in this self-described “citywide celebration of urban gardening.”
“I’m very excited to represent Beacon Hill in the Garden Contest again this year,” Rosales told this reporter prior to accepting his award at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Suffolk Law School. “Shade gardens are common on Beacon Hill because many townhouses have backyards, but they can also be challenging because of the limited sun light available. I have tried to find plants that can adapt to this type of environment, and it is rewarding that the City of Boston and Mayor Walsh have recognized my efforts.”
Rosales, who received second place in the Shade garden category in last year’s contest, had the only award-winning garden in any category on Beacon Hill both this year and last, which are also the only times he has entered the competition.
Trailing Rosales in the Shade garden category were Liane Brandon of Brighton in second place and Dan Gazaille of the Fenway in third place.
Other first-place winners in their respective categories included 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; Michele Topor of the North End for Porch, 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.
2020 Hall of Fame inductees were Carmen Musto; Johnson and Smith; Rick Kuethe; Mobia; and Torpor.
While congratulating this year’s winners, Mayor Walsh described the Contest Awards Ceremony as “honestly, my favorite event of the year,” adding that it has inspired him to take up gardening at home.
“Many of you put your hearts and souls into your gardens, and that’s something I want to recognize,” he said.
Walsh pointed out that a public park is at most a 10-minute walk from anywhere in the city – a feat he credits to the hard work of the Boston Parks Department.
Moreover, Walsh described “green-spaces…as the key to our resiliency,” and in outlining Resilient Boston Harbor – the city’s ambitious plan for protecting its neighborhoods and shoreline from sea-level rise and flooding caused by climate change – he said vegetation could be used to cover preventative sea-walls (i.e. “green walls”.)
Walsh also paid tribute to Norbert Strissel, JetBlue’s erstwhile chief of operations who died last year.
“He attended this Awards Ceremony every year and donated round-trip tickets,” Walsh said. “This was kind of his marquee [event].”
Besides JetBlue, which provided the grand-prize pro bono, Mahoney’s Garden Centers, Boston Flower & Garden Show, Polar Beverages, ICA Boston and the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture also donated prize packages for this year’s competition.
Chris Cook, the city’s Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space, told contest winners: “We’re really impressed with how you’re making Boston beautiful, one garden at a time. These spaces you’ve created…provide a respite for nature because nature takes care of us.”
Cook also said the city would undertake a complete study to better understand its tree canopy later this summer.
Meanwhile, Ryan Woods, commissioner of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, presided over the ceremony’s award presentation.