Today, I visited an amazing hidden treasure near Pavilion, NY – a little less than an hour from my home. It is the second time I have attended the annual Tree Peony Festival at Linwood Gardens – an event that opens the gardens to the public for three weekends about this time every spring. I learned to love peonies from my Mom – she loved them and I have always thought they are one of the most romantic flowers – so delicate and lacy! I have eight peony bushes in my yard and this year I added a red peony tree in Mom’s honor – actually, a friend gave me one just after she passed last April, but it didn’t make it, so my landscaping friend found a more mature one to replace it…..hoping for beautiful red blossoms on it next year about this time!
This is an excerpt from the festival brochure about the history of peonies:
The tree peony is a royal plant from Asia, well-known from the ancient past as the “King of Flowers”. It was held sacred in the gardens of monasteries and temple courts and grown as an exclusive treasure of the Imperial Palaces. To the great artists, it has always been a favorite subject in painting, poetry, and ceramics, and it was traditionally embroidered on the trousseaux of princesses.
Tree peonies differ from the common herbaceous peony in two conspicious ways: 1) they develop rough-barked, woody stems that, instead of dying back to the ground each winter, continue to grow year after year, so that a bush (not a tree) is formed four to six feet tall and as many feet wide; 2) they bloom about two weeks earlier. Tree peony flowers are also much larger than the herbaceous kinds.
Linwood Gardens was created as a summer house for William Henry Gratwick II from Buffalo in 1901-1910 and it has remained in the Gratwick family. William H. Gratwick III was responsible for the addition of the Rare Plants Nursery and making the tree peonies a focus of the gardens. He was also an artist and landscape architech – contributing many of the sculptures and new garden areas to the property. Gratwick III’s daughter, Lee Gratwick, currently lives at Linwood and preserves the Tree Peony Collection, the Gardens, and the Summer House. The property played a major role in art and musical culture for the community throughout the years and continues to host various cultural events.
I adore this place…..it is beautiful, peaceful, and a lovely way to spend a warm spring day! It truly is a treasure!
The grounds consists of the Summer House, a swimming pool, an Italian Garden, a Labyrinth, Saunder’s Hill, Dwarf Village, a Vegetable Garden, the Tree Peony Nursery, a Walled Garden, a Lily Pool, and a Chapel.
Each day during the festival, a different musical performance is presented. Today, I enjoyed listening to the American Recorder Society – just lovely!
While I sat to listen to the music, I enjoyed a delicious bowl of tomato basil soup, some pastries, and a glass of lemonade!
The pool is one of the first in NY state and is a cement box in the ground…..no drain, no circulation….it has to be pumped out to be cleaned and refilled.
People love walking around this labyrinth!
One of the entrances into the Italian Garden
One of many, many bull frogs in the Lily Pool and the Italian Garden…..there were also thousands of tadpoles!
Exterior of the Walled Garden
The Tree Peony Nursery
What is left of an old water tower
Lily of the Valley always reminds me of my Grandmother!
I look forward to the opportunity to spend time in these beautiful gardens again year after year!
There is one more weekend of the festival – if you’d like to go see for yourself, the last weekend for this year is June 3-4, 2017. For more information, click here to visit their website!
And, now……some sights I saw on my drive along the way:
This funny guy in Elba caught my eye!
Armor Building Supply in Batavia
I have GOT to find out if this is open to the public…..I would LOVE to spend some time with fainting goats!!!
This truck, sitting near the side of the road, has seen better days…..but, it is still quite the handsome dude!!!
That’s all for now!!! 🙂