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This is the final weekend of the 2019 Linwood Gardens Tree Peony Festival

By Virginia Kropf
May 31, 2019, 3:47pm


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

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.

Tomorrow, tour some beautiful homes and gardens in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
Aug 1, 2014, 4:48pm



Tomorrow, take the opportunity to tour some of the finest gardens and homes in Batavia.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is once again hosting the annual House and Garden Tour, this time in cooperation with Vibrant Batavia.

The tour runs from noon to 4:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 per person. Proceeds will go to the Batavia Cemetery Association to assist with efforts to restore the Richmond Mausoleum.

Above, Jim and Kathy Owen of 2 Redfield Parkway in a portion of their garden. The first three photos below are from their garden.





David Gann outside his home on East Avenue. David said the credit for the garden's beauty goes entirely to his wife, Marcia. "I'm just the guy who cuts the lawn," he said. Unfortunately, Marcia wasn't home when The Batavian dropped in unannounced for a picture.


The home and yard of Judith Hale, 14 Jackson Ave.


These pictures are of Lou and Millie Moretto's yard, 65 Edgewood Drive. Millie said the yard is entirely Lou's handy work. Note the fairy garden below.



Lucine Kauffman added this reminder in comments:

Tickets will be available the day of the tour (Saturday) at the Batavia Cemetery starting at 11:30 a.m.

Full press release about the event after the jump:

The Landmark Society of Genesee County will hold its 4th Annual House and Garden Tour on Saturday, August 2, from 12 to 4:30 p.m. Each year the Landmark Society donates proceeds from the tour to support a local preservation effort. This year the proceeds will go to the Batavia Cemetery Association to assist with its efforts to restore the Richmond Mausoleum. Specifically, the stained glass window in the mausoleum is in need of extensive repairs. The Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue will be one of the stops on the tour, and stationed at the mausoleum, Connie Boyd will portray Mary Richmond.

The tour will showcase notable homes and gardens in the City of Batavia. Vibrant Batavia has collaborated with the Landmark Society to organize and plan the event. The Sun Catchers Garden Club has pitched in to help staff the cemetery tour stop and decorate the Richmond Mausoleum exterior with flower pots that its members design. The Youth Bureau Community Garden and the Peace Garden will also be open and staffed with volunteers to provide information and answer questions.

House and Garden Tour Chairperson Marcia Gann’s home will be one of the stops on the tour “The Landmark Society is so pleased to have partnered with Vibrant Batavia this year. Leanna Di Risio has worked with our committee and given us the benefit of her enthusiasm, event planning experience, and contacts in the city. She’s gone above and beyond by opening her beautiful home for one of the tour stops, too. We have an interesting mixture of old and new homes; public and private gardens; and both new and established gardens. We even have a Fairy Garden on the tour this year!”

The private homes on the tour are:

• RaeAnn Engler and Richard Beatty* (home also open for tour)
• 123 Summit St.

• C. 1870 National/Vernacular Style
• When RaeAnn and Richard moved into 123 Summit in 2000, they gutted the interior down to the old studs. Over the next few years virtually everything was replaced except for the framing and oak wood floors. Remarkably, RaeAnn and Richard are only the second family to live here. In 2005 they were named Homeowners of the Year by the City of Batavia. In the gardens they salvaged peonies, tulips, some raspberries, and perennial springtime star flowers. Over the years a variety of perennials and more raspberries have been added. This year the raised vegetable beds were revamped.

• Georgene and Rocco Della Penna
• 19 Richmond Ave.

• C. 1930 Colonial Revival Style
• “I started buying bulbs and progressed to perennial flowers. Two of my favorites are Chinese Tree Peony and Lime Light Hydrangea. I have been gardening for 25 years; it is my favorite pastime. The garden looks the best in June, but we enjoy it throughout the growing season.”

• Dave and Marcia Gann* (home open for tour)
• 268 East Ave.

• C. 1935 Cape Cod
• Dave and Marcia have resided in their Cape Cod home with Arts and Crafts influences for 25 years. The gardens encircling the house were designed and landscaped by Tim Richley and Holly Dougherty. The gardens feature several varieties of hydrangea.

• Paula Miller* (home open for tour)
• 15 Pearl St.

• C. 1927 Folk Victorian Style
• Paula has used Small Space Gardening techniques to create an outdoor living and entertaining room. Her newly planted garden features annuals, perennials, and vegetables arranged around a large backyard patio.

• Debbie and Mike Barone
• 3919 W. Main Street Road

• C. 1948 Ranch Style
• “I love to add unique things to my gardens such as antique pieces. We supplement the perennial selection with annuals to add further color and appeal. The arbor covered with climbing clematis serves as the gateway from our sunroom to our peaceful backyard.”

• Leanna and Dan Di Risio* (home open for tour)
• 60 Edgewood Drive

• C. 2012 Craftsman Style
• “Our simple landscape blooms from spring to fall, and during the summer months we display flower planters to add bursts of color throughout the front and back yard. We recently installed a back patio to give us additional entertaining space to be enjoyed by family and friends!”

• Lou and Millie Moretto
• 65 Edgewood Drive

• C. 2010 Ranch Style
• Several specimen plants make Lou’s yard unique. In only four years, a vacant field has been transformed into a beautiful landscape with the help of Tony and Michele Moretto Slominski (LANDVISION). Lou’s young garden is designed to have something in bloom throughout the season. Be sure to see the “Fairy Garden.”

• Rose Mary Christian
• 29 Williams St.

• C. 1958 Ranch Style
• “I have lived here for over 12 years and my flower bed garden just keeps on growing! My favorite two flowers are from Poland and I will tell you about them when you visit on the tour.”

• Tim and Lisa Stoddard
• 20 Ellicott Ave.

• C. 1880 Queen Anne Style
• Victorian gardens featuring period plants complement this fairy tale home with a large circular front porch and ornate decorative trim. The Stoddards are Landmark Society of Genesee County Preservation Award recipients for their historically appropriate, meticulous restoration of this Batavia gem.

• Jim and Kathy Owen
• 2 Redfield Parkway

• C. 1930 Colonial Revival Style
• A long-established garden hidden from the bustle of Main Street in a park-like setting. This yard features a variety of hosta plants, an informal perennial garden, and a small pond.

• Judith Hale
• 14 Jackson Ave.

• C. 1951 Cape Cod Style
• Showcasing a beautiful collection of hosta plant varieties, Judith’s gardens flow from the front to the back of the property. Each flower bed is painstakingly cared for.

Refreshments will be served at each tour stop.

Door prize drawings will be held at the Historic Batavia Cemetery at 4:30. Completed tour surveys will serve as the door prize entries. You must be present to win. Prizes were generously donated by: Delre’s Greenhouse and Garden Center; Floral Fantasies; Harvester 56 Theatre; Pudgie’s Lawn & Garden; The Landmark Society of Genesee County; and Vibrant Batavia.

Tickets are $20 per person and are available for presale at Harrington’s Produce (Batavia), GOART!, and Valle Jewelers. Tickets will also be available the day of the tour at the Batavia Cemetery starting at 11:30 a.m.

Photo: Yellow Rose of Texas in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
Jul 18, 2013, 6:51pm

It's not often you see cactus growing in somebody's front yard in Western New York, but Ellicott Street resident Frank Belluuci has two potted beaver-tail cactus plants that are in bloom with gorgeous yellow flowers. 

The variety, he said, is known as "Yellow Rose of Texas." 

While Frank's cactus are potted and can be stored indoors during the winter -- I have seen, and he's seen, the same variety of cactus growing outside in WNY.

The flowers should produce an edible fruit, but the growing season here isn't long enough.

The Molinos ready to show off garden on Landmark Society's annual garden tour

By Howard B. Owens
Jul 12, 2013, 4:54pm

Ten homes in Genesee County will be on this year's annual garden tour sponsored by the Landmark Society, among them for the first time, the home of Jason and Anna Molino on Vernon Street, Batavia.

The Molino's have been slowly improving on the yard since moving into the home a few years ago and Jason said after going on the tour last year, the he thought he and Anna should show off what they've been doing.

The city manager comes from a gardening background, he said. His mother was a gardener. Jason's father immigrated from Italy to Canada with his father, and Jason's grandfather had a landscaping business in Montreal.

The front of the house features one of Jason's favorite plants, hostas, and Anna adds pots and baskets.

"The perennials around the house are low maintenance and give some color," Jason said. "Anna does a lot of the flower baskets and flower pots with annuals so we have color in the front to add just a little bit of spunk to the house."

In the back yard is a garden plot with garlic, potatoes, peppers and cucumbers and dill for canning, as well as some perennial flowers being staged and matured in the plot for eventual transplanting to elsewhere in the yard.

The garden tour is Sunday and starts at noon. After it's over at 4 p.m., there will be a dessert reception at St. James Episcopal Church followed by a talk by landscape designer Tim Richley, of Darien, on “Underused Plants for Western New York.”

The cost is $20. If you don't have a ticket yet, you can get them starting at 11 a.m. at St. James. There will also be door prizes. All proceeds benefit the church's restoration project.

In the top photo are Jason and Anna and their children Sophia, a camera-shy Stella, and baby Charley (held by Jason).

Among the other nine homes on the tour, Jennifer and Richard Dunn's place on State Street, Batavia, above, and below, the garden of Georgia Childs and Paul Freeman on Vine Street, Batavia.

Picturesque home gardens showcased in 'House & Garden Tour'

By Daniel Crofts
Jul 12, 2011, 2:23pm

On Sunday, 12 homeowners -- nine from Batavia and three from Corfu -- opened their homes as part of the Landmark Society of Genesee County's "House & Garden Tour," the proceeds of which went toward the restoration of St. James Episcopal Church.

For $20, self-guided tourists travelled to all of these beautiful homegrown gardens and then enjoyed a reception and dessert at St. James in the evening.

Here are some pictures from a few of the gardens:




Planting for Fall Colors

By Elizabeth Krenzer
Mar 19, 2011, 5:35pm

Stafford Garden Club is presenting a program on “Planting for Fall Color” for its April meeting. 

Speaker is Pam Conklin.  

Anyone interested please come.

Attention:  Program starts at 6:30 pm. 

Date:  April 20, 2011

Place:  Stafford Town Hall, Rt 237, Stafford, NY

Time:  6:30 pm

If you have any questions about the program, call Sue at 344-0834.

Event Date and Time

Splendor in the Grass: Annual bloom of forget-me-nots brightens Batavia garden

By Howard B. Owens
Apr 28, 2010, 2:59pm

Drive west on Route 5 and just after you pass Wortendyke Road, glance right -- a carpet of blue will capture your eye.

Dennis Wood, a watercolor artist and retired GCC instructor, lets his large piece of property bloom every year in forget-me-nots, the delicate little flower that grows in fields no taller than six inches.

The Wood residence has become well known for its yards full of little blue flowers.

Dennis said the previous owner, Jerry Wallace, who used the property as a base for his landscaping business, let the forget-me-nots start to cover the ground, and then Dennis's late wife Jane continued the spring tradition.

"I wait until they go to seed and then I mow, which spreads them even more," said Wood, who has lived on the property for 19 years.

He still teaches drawing classes at the INS station, which makes this his 45th year of teaching.

Photographers from all over the area head to the Wood place each spring, he said -- most ask permission to come on the property and take pictures, which he prefers, but he said he welcomes anybody who wants to enjoy the splendor in the grass.

A pair of Pembroke musicians, he said, had their picture taken last year in his yard for the cover of their CD.

The landscape has also proven popular with the Batavia Art Society, of which he's a member. He said he's been meaning to invite the local photography club to his garden, as well.

He told me I was actually a little early -- the full glory of the bloom, he said, probably won't be until about mid-May.

Mums the word at the Harvest Gala

By Philip Anselmo
Sep 5, 2008, 11:04am

Head down to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Saturday, September 13, between 9:00am and 1:00pm for the Fall Harvest Gala.

There will be a traditional mum sale, as well as unusual Colorblends of spring flowering bulbs, perennials right from the master gardeners own gardens, house plants, a Chance auction, free soil testing, and refreshments.

Participants may also try “taste testing” heirloom vs. traditional varieties of vegetables.  Lunch will also be available for a nominal fee at the event.

Don’t miss your chance to pickup some great plants for your own garden.

Call Gail Culver at (585) 343-3040 ext. 132 or stop by the extension at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia for more information.

Garden Gala

By Philip Anselmo
May 14, 2008, 4:19pm

Green thumbs, get up and go! This Saturday is the Garden Gala at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia from 10:00am to 1:00pm. More than just a chance for greenies to get outside and schmooze, the gala will have:

"A plant sale featuring indoor and outdoor plants, a Chance-Basket auction, free soil testing, gardening advice by certified Master Gardeners, door prizes, displays, free coffee and informational materials."

Children's activities will be run by the Genesee Green Thumbs (the Junior Master Gardener 4-H Club). Door prizes begin at 1:00pm — the auction, too. And Extension Educator Gail Culver advises folks to get there early as the plants sell out quickly. For more information, call Gail Culver at (585) 343-3040 ext.132.


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