Posted by: David Giacalone | May 11, 2010

more than lilacs blooming in Flower City

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– Rochester’s Highland Park is site of an annual Lilac Festival (May 14 – 23 this year) –

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– as always, click on a photo for a larger version and scroll over it for a description –

My original hometown, Rochester, NY, calls itself the Flower City, and is especially famous for the world’s largest lilac collection — over 500 varieties and 1200 bushes – in Highland Park.  Rochester’s Lilac Festival is held annually in May at the Park.  Back in town last week for Mother’s Day and other family matters, I was told the 10-day Festival did not start until next Friday, May 14, but many of  the lilacs were already in full bloom at Highland Park.

However, when I went yesterday (Monday, May 10) to enjoy the lilac array without mingling with the 500,000 folks expected for the Festival, I discovered that a couple days of high winds and rain, plus night-time frost alerts and a little snow, apparently ruined a lot of the blossoms.    There still were plenty of lovely lilacs, but — at least in the portions of the Park that I strolled — not the impressive displays of bushes and trees fully abloom that I remember from prior visits to the Festival.   (If you were planning on attending, don’t despair, because late-bloomers will surely fill out many of the stands of lilacs before or during the Festival.)

Nevertheless, my visit to Highland Park was far from a bust — because lilacs are not the only attraction at Highland Park.  Before I ever saw my first lilac, I drove past the stairway shown in the photo above and immediately stopped to take a closer look at the beautiful scene.  Azaleas and rhododendrons more than made up for the minor lilac disappointment as I rode and walked through Highland Park on a day with bright blue skies and postcard clouds.  Here are a few photos to show you why:

– bright morning sun set white and pink azaleas aflame throughout the Park –

. . . . . .

. . beyond the azaleas and among the lilacs, I found rhododendrons and more:

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– a large flowering almond caught my attention . . .

. . . so did a climbing tree and flaming bush:

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