Sonnenberg Gardens

We visited Sonnenberg Gardens & Manion State Historical Park in Canandaigua today, as we have done for the last 20+ years. Recently the State of New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation purchased the mansion and gardens. After having seen Sonnenberg decline over the years, it is good to see things are improving by being cleaned and repaired. I only wish they would work on preserving the very old trees, some of which are in decline there. However, we look forward to future improvements!

I have taken many photos of the place over the years, and I won’t show the typical photos now (of the mansion, gardens), but I will show some of the things I look forward to seeing when I go there. I love watching the ducks, especially when they dunk for food putting their butts straight up in the air and paddling with their feet:


I love watching ducks take baths (didn’t see one doing that today) and preening themselves:


I love the shape of the conservatory:


I love all of the old trees there, I picked this Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘atropurpurea’) to show you:


And here’s its huge trunk – I love the roots:


We saw two frogs in the Japanese Garden. One on a rock:


And one in an evergreen on the bank of the pond:


When I walked by this Hosta I smelled the most wonderful smell, so I had to capture a photo its beautiful flowers:


I finally captured a butterfly fully open in the Colonial Garden:


And I love ferns tucked into little places, and love all of the moss and lichens on the rocks in the rock garden:


We usually see at least one turtle, but today we didn’t see any around. Today was Arts in the Gardens, so we saw some phenomenal arts and crafts, too. All around, it was a great day!

Help for my Old Photographs

I went to work for OHA yesterday with website / Photoshop guru Karen (we’re launching a new website for OHA Sept. 1), and she gave me some great tips on how to restore old photos in Photoshop. The photo we worked on is the farm in Vermont where my Great Grandfather Henry C. Stebbins was born. This is how the photo looked after I scanned it in at 300 dpi:

Stebbins Farm Johnson VT Henry Stebbins birthplace

Yucky, huh? This is the way the photo looks after Karen showed me some of her PhotoShop tips – and she showed me what I still need to do with it, but I was so excited I had to show you the way it looks now:
Stebbins Farm Johnson VT Henry Stebbins birthplace-2

I have a ton of old photos that need this type of help. This is definitely a winter-time project. For now, I’m off to visit another one of my favorite gardens with my Mom.