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Flower City

Berea, Ohio
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1,439 posts
75 reviews
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Flower City

So glad we fit in some time during our visit to enjoy hilly Highland Park with its profusion of blooming flowers and bushes, especially lilacs galore from deepest purple to purest white. Even walking through the neighborhood near Dartmouth House B&B the fragrance of the lilacs was intoxicating. Is there something about the region that is particularly hospitable to lilacs...or do Rochester residents plant and care for personal lilac bushes as a matter of civic pride and in support of the Lilac Festival?

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Highland Park
Highland Park
444 Reviews
Rochester, NY
Dartmouth House
Dartmouth House
75 Reviews
Rochester, NY
Rochester
Rochester
Finger Lakes, NY
Upstate New York
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483 posts
12 reviews
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1. Re: Flower City

Horticulture has a long, wonderful history in Rochester. Although Olmsted designed Highland Park it just so happened that throughout time people who were really interested in hybridizing lilacs (and rhododendrons and azaleas) got involved - John Dunbar, Bernie Slavin, Dick Fenichia - they all worked for the county parks department back when the county parks dept had money for horticulture!

The lilacs were developed in a "secret park" that is along Irondequoit Bay in Webster - sadly, it is now an overgrown field with just a few lilacs left - and when they were good enough they were named and moved to Highland.

Highland has an interesting geological status - it is a glacial moraine and has exceptional soil. Most people might not notice, but there are numerous trees thriving there that are not generally hardy in this zone. The pinetum there has trees from all over the world that I'm sure can not be found anyplace else outside of a few arboretums in this country.

Anyway, I think "lilac awareness" just spread from Highland Park to the surrounding area. I actually think Rochester has truly wonderful flowering trees and shrubs.

Rochester has several other Olmsted Parks, one of which is threatened by, of all things, a zoo and parking lot expansion!

Unfortunately, our area is severely lacking funds to maintain parks these days, and many of the wonderful plantings in Highland Park and nearby Durand Eastman Park really could use some TLC. I'd put both parks on the endangered park list is there was one.

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Rochester
Rochester
Finger Lakes, NY
Highland Park
Highland Park
444 Reviews
Rochester, NY
Durand Eastman Park
Durand Eastman Park
83 Reviews
Rochester, NY
Berea, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,439 posts
75 reviews
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2. Re: Flower City

Thanks, Carmen, for such a learned response to my musings about the lilacs.

Rochester, New York
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3,312 posts
127 reviews
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3. Re: Flower City

I agree with Carmen, our parks are beautiful but need help. Highland is my favorite anytime of the year and we go see the Lilacs before the festival starts so we can truely enjoy the park for its beauty.

Olmsted is our favorite, my husband being from Brooklyn has aways admired his parks. Central Park is amazing and can't be seen in a few days, takes weeks!

Some nice Olmsted parks in Buffalo also, then there is Boston's Elmerald Necklace which we will tour this summer.

Glad you enjoyed Rochester!

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4. Re: Flower City

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