What We Do

Through fundraising, projects, programs, education and hands on labor we work to enhance the garden and to educate our community about this beautiful historic resource.

Together we work to identify which garden trees and plants need to be pruned, removed and/or replaced. We sponsor research into the garden’s original design by the Olmsted Brothers’ firm. We conduct improvement and planting projects designed to incrementally restore the garden: its pathways, sculptures and fountains, and we offer educational programs that inform people about the garden’s rich history, varied plants and beautiful sculpture.

Initial Goals

– Assess condition of trees and shrubs
– Replace dead or diseased trees and shrubs
– Repair and restore pathways, stone and metalwork
– Repair water features
– Restore Cyrus Dallin sculpture (Menotomy Indian Hunter)
– Restore plantings


– Encouraged town to provide and regularly empty trash cans
– Encouraged town to repair the Maple St Gate http://arlington.wickedlocal.com/news/20170706/maple-street-gate-and-friends
– Obtained CPA grant to restore the water features
– Encouraged town to repair Menotomy Indian

Projects and Programs

2017-18 Restore the water feature

In April 2017, The Friends of the Robbins Town Gardens and the Town of Arlington Historic Commission received a Community Preservation Grant to restore the fountain at the center of the garden. Meetings of the project team: Jim Feeney , Assistant Town Manager, JoAnn Robinson representing the Arlington Historic Commission, Christine Harris, President of the Friends of Robbins Town Gardens, with representatives from Weston and Sampson and Kyle Zick Associates began September 11. Weston and Sampson is an engineering firm that was involved in the restoration of the George Robert White fountain in the Boston Common as well as several Arlington projects. They will evaluate the condition of the fountain and its systems and recommend steps to finalize its’ restoration. Kyle Zick Landscape Architects –will research the original garden drawings at the Olmsted archives at Fairsted and recommend replacement plantings for the area of the garden around the fountain.

On November 30, the committee and their consultants will present their work on this project to the community at a reception in the Robbins Library Community Room.

Following that meeting the two firms will prepare construction documents and then bid documents which will be sent out for bids to local contractors. Bids will be received and reviewed in March and awarded in April. Construction is slated to begin early summer 2018.

Throughout the project we will be posting photographs and videos so that you can stay involved and follow the process.

Restore the Plantings – Phase 1: 2017-18

The process of restoring the plantings in the garden will occur in stages. Our first three projects are:

  1. restoring the plantings outside the side door of Town Hall,
  2. restoring  some of the plants in the grotto behind the Menotomy Indian Hunter and
  3. restoring the plantings around the fountain.

Prune and re-plant the area outside Town Hall

This project was funded by the Friends of the Robbins Town. We met to compare the existing plantings with historic drawings, and  identified which plants would be removed, or replaced, and which trees needed pruning and feeding.

In the Fall of 2017, a crew removed the identified overgrowth and undesirable plants, and pruned the rhododendrons and the yews near the side door.

Soil tests determined what amendments needed to be added to the soil to create an optimal growth medium for new plants in the spring. Once the leaves dropped, a licensed arborist will removed deadwood, and low hanging branches.

In Spring 2018, an identified contractor installed new plantings following the garden’s original Olmsted Borthers’ design.  As with the fountain project, Photos and updates keept you informed of our progress.