If you’re local, maybe you’ve heard of the Ellwanger Garden on Mt. Hope Ave? It took me 34 years to discover this little hidden “museum” near downtown. The Landmark Society of Western New York maintains this 115 year old garden and opens it to the public only a few dates per year, during the Lilac Festival and Peony Festival. I went to it during both and saw different things in bloom. Gorgeous. They call it a living museum because of the historic plantings that have survived from the original garden. The Ellwanger family moved to America from Germany in 1835, settling in Rochester. Five years later, George Ellwanger and another immigrant formed the Mt. Hope Nursery starting out with 8 acres, but expanding to 650 acres very quickly. The success and generosity of these men is the reason why Rochester is known as the “flower city”. They donated much of the land that makes up Highland Park today, plus they donated two of each variety of plant they ever grew. (Their own version of Noah’s two of a kind?) More info at The Landmark Society’s website.
The first time I took the girls was hard. (But I can do hard things.) The garden is totally hidden from the road, so we parked a distance and finally found the entrance on foot. Eight minutes later, Kaylee announced that she needed to find a bathroom. No public restrooms in walking distance, OF COURSE! so back to the car we walked. I had eight minutes in the most beautiful place I’ve ever discovered. We found a place to pee, amongst intense driving stress from the Lilac Festival traffic, then drove back because I wanted to see more flowers. One of my girlfriends was meeting us there, so we took another short walk around the garden with Eileen before she needed to leave for work. We saw artists, like with art pallets and everything, painting away among the flowers. Can you imagine? What an amazing backdrop….the colors, the textures, shapes and forms.
Fields of violets. We love Violet and violets too!
The second trip was a month later and Grace an I took Grammy to the secret garden. No one loves a garden more than my mom, so I knew she would enjoy it. She lived in Rochester for maybe thirty years and never knew about this place either. Grace was proud to lead us around the pathways. She considered it her third visit to the garden. Sure.
I’m not sure the name of these flowers…..anyone know? mom? I really, really like them. Similar to daisies in shape and color, but a little bit daintier and fancier.
Grace loves wearing dresses, just like her big sister. This happened to be the dress she picked out on this beautiful spring day, which turned into a beautiful child photo opp. Theses photos were all taken on my Lumina 940 Windows 8 phone, unedited. By me.