This is the best time to visit Boston, I think. When autumn's color is gone, the place often looks dull and dingy until winter ends. There's only so much that Christmas decorations — even amazing wreaths — can do to brighten things up until the flowers start to bloom again.
Here's the Public Garden, a green oasis on a gray day (my favorite kind), with the swan boats moored in the distance:
Here's a view of Marlborough Street. The magnolia petals came down and turned brown, but now we have dogwood, flowering crab, and other trees for color. You can peek through that redbud tree to the white dogwood further down the block.
While we Back Bay residents excel at postage-stamp gardening and flowering trees, we are often lacking in the window box department. For those, you need to wander over to Beacon Hill.
Here's a sampler of several I photographed on a recent stroll, mostly along West Cedar Street, which runs parallel to Charles Street, one block up the hill. Most of these boxes are large, filling the largest window on the first floor of a brick townhouse. Many of these are right next-door to each other, and they are at eye level, so the effect is wonderful as you walk along the street. I wish I were better at identifying plants, but I'll do my best. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...
Old-fashioned. White alyssum with violas (johnny-jump-ups) and vinca.
A stately arrangement in Kate Spade shades of green and pink.
A wild array of vines plus flowering branches for height,
and I think there are also tiny pink tulips.
An abundance of purple-and-white cineraria with variegated ivy.
Purple pansies peeking from greenery. I have no idea what any it is.
A sunny design in tangerine and yellow, including daisies, wallflowers(?) and juniper.
Orange begonias, ivy, and yellow-tinged juniper, I think.
This isn't West Cedar Street, but blue hydrangeas are my favorite.
But I'm not entirely positive that we can credit the residents themselves for their gardening artistry. I suspect the trophy belongs to the florists at Rouvalis, conveniently down the block from all of these beautiful boxes. They've clearly supplied the ingredients — and perhaps the green thumbs, too:
Of course, if you're lucky enough to have a wisteria vine, you've one-upped window boxes. This townhouse on Beacon Street turns up its nose at fussy little planters, preferring a magnificent lavender waterfall tumbling down its brick facade: