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Parks & Gardens > Gardens

The Flower City is filled with gardens-from small cottage plots to community cooperatives to grand Victorian gardens surrounding mansions. Some of the unique finds are an heirloom garden at a living-history museum, a sensory garden accessible to people with disabilities, and two arboretums. In the winter, check out conservatories, indoor gardens and flower shows. There is a charge for admission unless otherwise noted.

Ellwanger Garden
625 Mt. Hope Ave. Rochester, NY
Cultivated since 1867, this historic garden contains perennials, roses and trees in an English natural-garden style. George Ellwanger, one of Rochester’s leading nurserymen, lived in a home adjacent to the garden.
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Genesee Country Village & Museum
1410 Flint Hill Road Mumford, NY
This historic village has a dozen heirloom gardens full of flowers, vegetables and herbs. Not just for show, their bounty is used by the museum’s historical interpreters for meals, dyed fibers, decorations and crafts. Visitors will find medicinal, formal, cottage, children’s and classical gardens, among others. Some gardens contain crops bred back to original types, such as Danvers half-long carrots and China rose radishes.
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George Eastman House Gardens
900 East Ave. Rochester, NY
George Eastman, who founded Eastman Kodak Co., grew up in a family immersed in horticulture. The formal gardens of his 50-room Colonial Revival mansion feature Italian, French and English landscapes. An English walled garden, a cutting garden and a terrace garden designed by Alling DeForest are among the sights. During the winter, tours of the mansion feature a plant-filled conservatory and magnificent flower arrangements.
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Lamberton Conservatory
Highland Park, Reservoir Drive
Built in 1911 and open year-round, the conservatory shelters displays of tropical, desert and other exotic plantings, with clever educational markers to help visitors of all ages notice blooms and other plant activity. Be sure to see the Japanese fish in the center courtyard pond. Seasonal plant and flower displays are changed five times a year.
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1912 York Road (off Route 36) York, NY
Established at the turn of the 19th century by a Buffalo industrialist as his family’s country residence, this 325-acre property boasts eight acres of tree peony, water, Italian and sculpture gardens. A local secret, the garden is renowned around the country, particularly for its tree peonies, cultivated here for 40 years. The private gardens are open to the public only during two Tree Peony Weekends in late May and early June.
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Maplewood Rose Garden
Lake and Driving Park avenues
Part of an original Frederick Law Olmsted-designed city park, Maplewood Rose Garden boasts some 5,000 roses in hundreds of varieties. Maplewood Rose Weekend draws thousands of people in mid-June. Consult the Web site for this year’s plans. Free admission.
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Rochester Museum & Science Center
657 East Ave. Rochester, NY
The science museum’s 12-acre landscaped campus holds three gardens: The Garden of Fragrance is patterned after those planted by colonists. The Mary E. Slifer Memorial Garden honors a conservationist with native ferns, wildflowers and exotic species in a shady setting. The Kearns Family Garden features a bronze sculpture of young bears frolicking. Tulips in the spring and annuals in the summer encircle the garden. Free admission to gardens.
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Sharon's Sensory Garden
Nature Center, Mendon Ponds Park
Designed for full access by people with visual or physical disabilities, this informal garden emphasizes color, texture, fragrance and form. The layout lets visitors get close to the plants. Signs are in Braille and raised lettering. Graded paths and raised flowerbeds allow full access for visitors in wheelchairs. Free admission.
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Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park
151 Charlotte St. Canandaigua, NY
Weekdays 394-4922;
At the former summer home of Canandaigua benefactors, nine themed gardens and a reflecting pond were designed and built in the early years of the 20th century. Among the gardens are a Japanese landscape, a formal Italian garden and individual themed gardens. The conservatory complex, ranked among the finest residential greenhouse complexes in the country, has the domed Palm House and tropical plants.
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University of Rochester Arboretum
Elmwood Avenue at Wilson Boulevard
In its 150-year history, the university has used trees as a central landscape design element. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. served as designer and consultant to the architects during construction of the River Campus. In 1999, the university converted portions of the campus to an arboretum. Take a self-guided tour of more than 70 tree species and six gardens; the university’s department of horticulture and grounds provides a detailed map. Free admission.
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Warner Castle
Corner of Mt. Hope Avenue and Reservoir Street, 5 Castle Park Rochester, NY
The 22-room house, now home to the Rochester Civic Garden Center, was built for judge and publisher Horatio Gates Warner in 1854. The grounds in back include a sunken garden, a popular setting for wedding photographs. The garden was designed by landscape architect Alling DeForest. Free admission.
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Webster Sesquicentennial Arboretum
Irving Kent Park, 1700 Schlegel Road Webster, NY
The arboretum is a 32.5-acre display of flowers, herbs, shrubs and mature woodland cultivated by the town of Webster and local volunteers. You’ll find it in Irving Kent Park. Free admission.
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