Last year, South End library supporters managed to get the city's Parks Department to trim the dangerously neglected dead and dangling branches of Library Park's oak trees which, as it turned out, was only a prelude to further improvements in the park. Thanks to a recommendation by the South End Garden Tour Committee, James Hohmann of Mahoney's Garden Center of Brighto, brought in a landscaping crew last Friday and created three entry-point gardens in the park. Hohmann had expressed interest in doing something for the South End Garden Tour and the neighborhood, where the nursery has a large and beloved customer base. A former Concord Square resident, Hohmann immediately liked the Tour committee's suggestion to spruce up Library Park. "It still has the beautiful bones of the original design," he said. "I walked through that space every day many moons ago."
Based on the park's 'old bones,' Hohmann created three gardens with shade-tolerant perennials at the South End branch and Rutland Square gates. In the next few days, Mahoney's will add flowering plants to bring in more color. Hohmann said he aimed for "the greatest visual impact while protecting the park from the daily wear and tear of how the park is used." It is the first phase in what he hopes will be a multi-step process over the next few seasons to develop a relationship between South End neighborhood and library associations around the park to maintain the plantings Mahoney's installs. "If all goes well, we could start phase two in the fall," Hohmann said in an email to local park supporters. He referred to the park's grassy areas as "meadows" where weeds are welcome" and which could, with good care, become "a very appropriate and good-looking asset."
But this is not all the good news: according to testimony by BPL president Amy Ryan before the City Council on May 12, the proposed FY 15 library budget has an appropriation to fix the broken pavement between the South End branch and Library Park. State Rep. Byron Rushing (who also is a BPL trustee) had brought the matter to the BPL's attention. Ryan testified she's in talks with the Parks Department to repair the deteriorated bluestone surface inside the park, as well. The testimony was in response to a question by at-large City Councilor --and South End resident-- Michelle Wu about renovating and repairing the South End branch.