Sonnenberg Gardens

ginny12June 9, 2005

I am looking for some recent information about Sonnenberg Gardens. I was there about 15 years ago and it was gorgeous. But I heard they had some problems and before I make a long trip, I'd like an update. Their website has no photos of the various garden areas. Are they still doing the huge Victorian bedding out designs? How is the old-fashioned garden and the Japanese garden? Anything else? Thanks!

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cbs_z5_ny(z5 NY)

I went to Sonnenberg about 15 years ago and thought it was wonderful. Then I returned last year (took my parents on Father's Day) and was disappointed. I wondered if it was because 15 years ago I wasn't much of a gardener and now I am. However, looking at the old photographs, we all agreed it had declined. HOWEVER, they have just recently been "taken over" by the NYS Parks Department, and have received a large grant for renovations. So, not sure about this year, but I am hoping for improvement in the future. Wish I lived close enough to volunteer some time.

-Caroline

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 9:24AM
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ginny12

Thanks for the reply, CBS. I am so disappointed to hear that. I had read about their financial woes and the state taking over and worried this might be the case. It was one of the best gardens in the country when I saw it. I have recommended it to many people but would hate to have people make a lengthy trip and be disappointed.

Any others out there who have been recently?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 9:40AM
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jlui(z6 UpstateNY)

I have visited a couple of times. The first was about 7 or 8 years ago -- before the embezzlement fiasco and before I was much of a gardener. I was impressed and thought it was a pretty cool place. I went again last summer and thought it was certainly a worthwhile visit -- but that neglect and inadequate maintenance were there for the discerning eye. I think that it's still a pretty good attraction. The house is gorgeous and the history is very interesting. The Japanese gardens are way cool, the rose gardens are awesome, but the Victorian beds are just not my thing. ;-) The staff is knowledgeable and they are trying so hard; it's good to show support in these trying times. I have to say that, as a gardener now, it gives me lots of ideas and inspiration to visit there.

Anyway, just some thoughts!

Jen

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 12:31AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I went last year. They have a rockery with ferns that is wonderful, quite unlike anything I've seen anywhere. They have many wonderful trees, but most of them are unlabeled. There is one large perennial garden that has some unusual flowers, and one "blue and white" garden that was beautiful when I was there.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 6:29AM
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ginny12

Thanks for the replies. I agree that those Victorian beds are not the taste of most of us but they are a fabulous historic garden and completely appropriate for the house. I don't know of another authentic Victorian garden on that scale in this whole country. So, how do they look in terms of maintenance? Are they kept up and well planted, even if you don't like them?

And how about the garden with the big white pergola? They call it the Colonial garden or the Old-Fashioned garden. How does it look in terms of being full of flowers and well maintained?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 8:51AM
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ALPSin_NY

Visited last week for thre first time in 8 or 10 years. The roses were beautiful. The huge white pergola is still standing (mostly) but not in real good shape over all. I beleive that is in the Old-Fashioned Garden. All the gardens are well maintained and full of flowers. Always a great place to visit.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 12:00AM
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