Thursday, July 25, 2013


Sonnenberg Mansion and Italian Garden
That day at Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens at the Finger Lakes in New York State was a day of fascinating contrasts.

Starting our tour with an exploration of Sonnenberg's rabbit-warren greenhouse, we must have explored 8 or so different interlinked glass rooms. As we wandered, sunlight filtered through glass panes dappled with moss.

At times the greenhouse appeared to be in an advanced stage of delapidation, but then as we made our way further in the lush splendour of moss-covered terra cotta pots overflowing with rampant geraniums, deep pink coleus and brilliantly coloured bromelliads captured my imagination.

There was something magical about the place. Surrounded by dense vegetation an ancient stone statue of a child standing in a shell shaped fountain overlooking a pool with golden carp performing a sinuous dance in cool waters, transported me back in time.

The greenhouse, young in the 1800s but now showing signs of rusted pipes and peeling paint on metal frames provided an unusual backdrop for orchids that would have looked at home in a Thai jungle.

With romantic appelations; Wedding Gown, Summer Lace, You-Me Emotion and Let's Dance Starlight, I discovered a random scattering of rare and beautiful hydrangeas.

In other rooms a recorded story of the life and times of the original owners followed us as we captured photographic images of cacti covered in Spanish Moss.

For 'bug phographers', models in the garden were abundant. Nicola, my daughter, whose passion is photographing bugs, discovered a snail with a recently hatched baby no bigger than a button on a new born infant's jacket. From then on 'mother and child' were transported around the garden in a coffee cup as she searched for props on which to photograph them. At the end of the modelling session they were tenderly placed on a wild plant to continue their foraging.

In this flowery haven bees, phosphorescent green bugs, spiders and Two-tailed Swallow-tail butterflies live in glorious contentment. Dragonflies and damselflies dart in a flurry of wings from flower to flower.
Photographs copyright Anne Gordon
Posted on Thursday 25th July, 2013


At August 22, 2013 at 5:35 AM , Blogger Nicola Gordon said...

Lovely story about Sonnenberg mum, and beautiful pictures. Those two snails were photogenic models!


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