Saturday, August 23, 2008

Magnificence and decay at Sonnenberg

Remnants, originally uploaded by EAL/GWI.

Located in beautiful Canadaigua, NY, this mansion and its garden are amazing, but much of it is in dire need of repair. Still, we loved wandering through. The Japanese and formal gardens are in pretty good shape, but the water/rock gardens had been emptied and are under renovation. Then there is the mansion itself, which is preserved as it was when used as a summer home.

The greenhouses were like stepping back in time. I found them charming in a strange way. You'd almost think the ghosts of Victorian gardeners were taking care of the plants. The statuary above was just before the succulent house. I love Victorian greenhouses and their formal gardens. I know they're not for everybody. I'll have more on this tomorrow--the iPhone posting is cumbersome.


mercysmama said...

Hi! I found your blog recently & Garden Rant too. I am looking for some help on composting in an area that has, um, rats (we are just outside of Buffalo). Do you compost in Allentown? Any issues w/ critters? Thanks so much.

Jason said...

My wife and I love anything Victorian. I can definitely understand your interest. Thanks for sharing this (and all of your other) pictures.

I've "tagged" you. Feel free to play along. (It's obviously totally optional.)

JAbel said...

I first went to Sonnenberg back in the mid 70's and since then it has had some rough times.The recent troubles stem from a high up who took a huge sum of money before he was caught.I know there has been talk of getting into the natl historical system but thank god it's still around.In the past the Xmass lights were my favorite part of year.I'll have to stop in this October when I'm home and pay a visit.I go by it every year but haven't been in in about 7 years.

EAL said...

Mercysmama, I have a tumbling composter that has a firmly closing top. That's what you need. An open pile or open container won't work. You must have a top. It's the same principal as the locking garbage totes.

Of course we always discourage open containers in Allentown--ha.

Margaret Cloud said...

I like your photo of the broken statues, I like to find things of another time they make you wonder what had happened to what you find, does this make sence!

Layanee said...

Off with her...feet? Hmmm she seems to have been knocked off her perch. Have you been to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boyleston, MA yet? You would love it!

Eve said...

I love touring places like that. I love Victorian gardens but not so sure about thier taste inside the house. Sparse gardens never appeal to me. So, their excess is great in a garden.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love those old broken up statues. Wouldn't it be fun to have one in the garden??

Sarah said...

Great post! If you go to and zoom in on the Google Map, you can see a satellite image of the garden. The location marker pinpoints the Italian Garden and you can also make out other features including the Rose Garden and the "Old Fashioned Garden". I work for and we are celebrating our 10th Birthday in October with free download of eBooks by our Editor - The Principles of Garden Design and 24 Historic Styles of Garden Design. You can find more information at

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