Rochester became a global center for flower and tree nurseries in the mid-1800s, fostering our identity as
The Flower City. George Ellwanger from Germany and Patrick Barry from Ireland lead the way.
Their nursery catalog was issued in 1843, selling fruit trees, ornamentals and flowers, roses and green house plants across the globe. In 1888, they donated some of their land and trees to the City of Rochester to establish Highland Park (our first park), designed by
Frederick Law Olmsted.
Here are a few places you can enjoy their contribution, and the continued work of other unique flower gardens and arboretums around Rochester.
In and Around Highland Park the flower city
Highland Park in Rochester
Highland Park was designed to be enjoyed year-round. Every pathway, every tree, every vista & every relationship between the land & water is intentional.
The Lamberton Conservatory Spring Show opens around the first weekend of spring and runs through the Lilac Festival in mid-May.
Rochester’s Olmsted Designed Parks
Rochester is fortunate to be one of a handful of American cities that have a park system comprised of Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks.
Sunken Garden at Warner Castle
Take a stroll behind Warner Castle & down the grassy lawn. There you will find the Sunken Garden—a peaceful retreat anytime of the year.
While the Ellwanger Estate is private, the garden is maintained by the Landmark Society and is periodically open to the public for special events.
Mount Hope Cemetery
It may seem odd to think of a cemetery as a family-friendly destination, but Mount Hope Cemetery is as much park-like as it nearby neighbor Highland Park.
Also, take look at the arboretum on the
University of Rochester campus! Around Rochester the flower city
Webster Arboretum at Kent Park
Follow the pathways that meander around Webster Arboretum–40 acres of open spaces, flower & herb gardens, water elements, and a wide variety of trees.
Durand Eastman Park
Durand Eastman Park’s landscape design was inspired by the work that Olmsted had done 20 years earlier in Highland, Seneca, and Genesee Valley Parks.
Powder Mills Park
Powder Mills Park favorites include the fish hatchery, Daffodil Meadow Trail in early May, The Mushroom House, and fishing Irondequoit Creek.
George Eastman Museum
The George Eastman Museum is a beautiful tribute to his life & legacy, and is the world’s oldest photography museum with one of the oldest film archives.
Genesee Country Village & Museum
Genesee Country Village & Museum is the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State–and the third-largest in the United States.
Read more Around the Finger Lakes
Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion
Sonnenberg Gardens, in the City of Canandaigua, is an exceptional example of the lavish wealth and philanthropy of the Gilded Age.
Cornell Botanic Gardens
The 4,000-acres that make up Cornell Botanic Gardens are free to explore and are full of opportunities to learn about plants and environmental conservation.
Read more Flower City Guides
40 Public Gardens Around Rochester
Enjoy a peaceful afternoon at one of these arboretums, labyrinths, estate gardens, or botanical gardens, all within a 2-hour drive of Rochester.
27 House & Garden Tours Around Rochester
Every year there are dozens of opportunities around Rochester to walk through grand and historic homes, and meticulously manicured garden spaces.
Sunflowers are Summer’s Last Stand
August is officially the month of Sunflowers, and we are incredibly lucky to have some spectacular places around Rochester to celebrate!
Fall Foliage: 6 Breathtaking Views Near Rochester
These destinations offer colorful fall foliage and varied landscapes so you can appreciate them each in their own unique way.
Read more Flower City Shows & Events Dutch Connection
Buffalo Botanical Gardens Lumagination
Dutch Connection at Eastman Museum
Annual Spring Orchid Show
Orchid Show at Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Rochester Home & Garden Show
Central New York Home & Garden Show
Spring Wildflower & Orchid Show at Sonnenberg Gardens
Spring Flower Exhibit Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Lamberton Conservatory Holiday and Spring Shows
Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival
Tulip Festival of Holland, NY
Daffodil Trail in Powder Mills Park
Williamson Apple Blossom Festival
Flower City Days at the Market
Maplewood Rose Celebration
Lavender Festival at Ol’Factory Lavender Farm
Sunflowers Sara’s Garden Nurseries
There are dozens of incredible nurseries in the Rochester area to begin your own garden or arboretum. These are a few places you can visit for inspiration:
Van Putte Gardens Garden Factory Sara’s Garden & Nursery Wayside Garden Center Frear’s Garden Center Fun Finds Rochester’s 1st Christmas Tree
When doing research on a subject, I often stumble across fascinating information that warrants sharing!
From : The Flower City: George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry
George Ellwanger celebrated the establishment of the nursery by a fitting ceremony a week later when Vice-Chancellor Frederick Whittlesey affixed his seal to Ellwanger’s final citizenship papers, welcoming him officially as a new American.
A little over a year later
Ellwanger joined with other Rochester associates from the Old Country in erecting the first Christmas tree in Rochester. Hundreds of older Americans gathered to watch the strange ceremony, in front of the little German Lutheran Church on Grove Street, at which the tree was lighted up with candles.
So pleased were Rochesterians with the ceremony that it became a feature of the Christmas period and helped to transform a purely religious day into a social and family holiday.
See also, . Rochester’s First Christmas Tree Where are your favorite spots around our Flower City?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!