This tree peony called Argonaut is one of the rare blooms developed by William Gratwick III at Linwood Gardens, where a Tree Peony Festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday.
LINWOOD -- Most everyone has heard of Rochester’s Lilac Festival in Highland Park, but how many know about a spectacular spring flower festival near Pavilion?
Every year around Memorial Day, the public is invited to visit Linwood Gardens, a private estate at 1912 York Road West, just northwest of Pavilion, and view the tree peonies. In 1997, Linwood Gardens was placed on the National and New York Registers of Historic Places.
The final weekend of this year's festival is Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2.
Admission to the Tree Peony Festival is a suggested donation of $10. A $15 donation includes a historical tour. The gardens are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The gardens are now owned by Lee Gratwick and include a distinguished collection of Japanese and American tree peonies.
Tree peonies have woody stems and grow taller than herbaceous peonies, reaching heights of four to five feet. Blooms can be 10 inches across.
The country estate of Linwood Gardens was created by William H. Gratwick Jr., a lumberman from Buffalo, who became enchanted with tree peonies and developed many unique gardens in the early 1900s.
The garden landscape features and Arts and Crafts style summer house, walled gardens with pools and fountains, ornamental trees and a view of the Genesee Valley beyond.
William Gratwick III established the extensive collection of tree peonies at Linwood Gardens starting in the 1940s. After his death, his daughter, Lee, moved back to the country estate and began restoring the gardens.
She developed the Tree Peony Festival to showcase the rare blooms developed by her father.
Special entertainment is planned for certain days of the festival, and tomorrow, there will be music by the Striking Strings on hammered dulcimers. Sunday’s entertainment will be parlor pipes by Ceiliah Connection.
A selection of homemade pastries, soup, quiche, desserts and coffee is made available by Sweet Arts.
A limited number of plants are available for sale each year.
Linwood Gardens is also available during summer months as a peaceful garden sanctuary for workshops, open garden days and wedding ceremonies.
For information on Linwood Gardens is available at www.linwoodgardens.org
Photos by Virginia Kropf.
Above, the estate home of William H. Gratwick Jr. sits on a hill in Linwood Gardens, where his granddaughter holds a tree peony festival each year.
Above, Holly Watson, granddaughter of Lee Gratwick, checks the blossoms on a tree in Linwood Gardens, overlooking the valley below. She and her mother, Clara Mulligan, are working with Lee Gratwick to restore the gardens.
Above, Clara Mulligan, daughter of Lee Gratwick, walks among the statuary and ponds on the estate founded by her grandfather in the early 1900s.
Above, Lee Gratwick, granddaughter of William H. Gratwick Jr., who founded Linwood Gardens near Pavilion, looks at one of the plants which was about to bloom earlier in the spring. She moved back to the gardens in the 1980s to preserve it.