By Ali Kane
THBG Grants Manager

My first memories of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill are running through the woods – before there was an Inner Park – on walk with my family after church. I would always pretend I was Pocahontas or the Lion King. My grandmother, Janette Hedenburg, had become a member in 1990, just four years after New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill opened. Today I’m the grants manager in the Advancement Department. But I’ve been connected to New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill almost all my life.

When my grandmother Janette died in 1994, my grandfather, “Grampie” Ken Hedenburg, asked founding director John Trexler what he could donate in her memory. John, legend has it, drew out a sketch of the Belvedere on a napkinBelvedere is an Italian word for “fair view” or “beautiful sight that has become an architectural term for the airy, columned walkways on Mediterranean villas. 

Progress photos from Belvedere construction, 1995.

At the dedication ceremony, Grampie described this philosophy: “We all have certain places and times in our lives when things seem to come into focus. Maybe you were struggling with something, and suddenly you see the solution. You might be in your own backyard just looking at a sunset, and you are suddenly able to focus and make important decisions. Janette and I always called them magic moments.” 

Once the Belvedere was built, our family would visit on Mother’s Day and other special occasions with a full spread of cheese and crackers, sitting on the bench that my grandfather built.