Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Linwood Gardens

This week I visited Linwood Gardens to photograph and enjoy their famous tree peony collection. Linwood Gardens is SW of Rochester, NY in the farmlands of the Genesee Valley.

Designed in the early 1900's the walled gardens have pools and fountains, ornamental trees and a view of the valley below with an Arts and Crafts style summerhouse. The story of Linwood Gardens is a fascinating one. Lee Gratwick who lives on the estate, is the current steward of Linwood Gardens. Her grandfather William Henry
Gratwick II created Linwood as a country home.

Her father, William H. Gratwick III was a landscape architect, artist, sculptor, and sheep farmer among other things. He imported tree peonies from Japan and over the years created many new hybrids in partnership with NY artist, Nassos Daphnis. William's wife, Harriet directed a community music school on the property. It seemed to be a time out of the Great Gatsby, where all manner of creative endeavors happened such as Sunday evening music concerts with a full orchestra and famous artists came to visit including Ansel Adams, Minor White, and William Carlos Williams.

Lee Gratwick has added her own creativity to the gardens which she has rebuilt and manages on her own. The Gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lee opens the Gardens for three weekends each year in the spring for the Tree Peony Festival for the public to enjoy this famous collection of tree peonies.

I was able to photograph for nearly three days before it started to rain and I had to leave. I photographed there two years ago and put together a small hardcover book of Linwood Gardens, the proceeds of which go toward maintaining the gardens. Because it's a self-published book, I will continue to update it with current photos of the gardens.

"It is at the edge of a petal that love waits."
-William Carlos Williams

1 comment:

  1. Hello Janice, I visited Linwood for the first time June 25th. Though the Peonies were esentially past blooming- I enjoyed plein air painting on the estate and photographing the magical garden rooms. I was on "artist retrea" for the week, with Rochester area painter & master printmaker, Carol Acquilano. She introduced me to her friend, Lee Gratwick, with whom we had a wonderful conversation. This took place in her home, when a sudden thunderstorm drove us indoors. Her home , like a museum, gave hints of the life and history of the Linwood era.
    I've enjoyed reading your blog. I'd love a copy of your book.

    Karen Arp-Sandel