Gardens galore at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion

Destination NY

People come from all over the world to Canandaigua to see Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park.

Here is a little history about the mansion. Mary Clark grew up in Canandaigua and in 1855, her father became governor. When the family moved to Albany, she met Frederick Ferris Thompson, a prominent New York City banker, and they got married in 1857 on Gibson Street in Canandaigua.

The couple lived in luxury on Madison Avenue, but Mary’s heart was in her hometown. In 1863, the Thompsons bought a farmstead near Canandaigua Lake called Sonnenberg. They would tear down the farmhouse and build a 40 room Queen Anne-style mansion.  

MORE: History of Sonnenberg

There are nine gardens, including the first residential Japanese Garden in the United States, complete with a teahouse and a 12th-century bronze Buddha.  

The Italian Garden has 11,000 plants.  The statues came from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Rose Garden features the red, white, and pink blooms of Mary Thompson’s original color scheme. And only blue and white blossoms are planted in another garden, said to have been Mary’s favorite.

MORE: About the gardens

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