Threaded through Chautauqua Institution’s 750 acres of land is an abundance of gardens — while diverse in size, flora and theme, they all contribute to the beauty of the grounds.
Chautauqua Institution’s Supervisor of Gardens and Landscapes Betsy Burgeson will lead Bird, Tree & Garden Club an hour-long bus tour of the gardens beginning at 3 p.m. today, which will depart from the Main Gate Welcome Center. Tickets for the tour can be purchased for $10 at the Welcome Center.
“We have always felt it’s imperative that the audience on the grounds gets an opportunity to take a look at what the Institution has done on the grounds,” said Mary Lou Parlato, vice president of BTG.
Burgeson has worked at the Institution for five years, and has played a large hand in the success of its gardens.
“She’s the one that reconstructed the Arboretum and constructed some of the rain gardens,” Parlato said. “Several of those are done for ecological reasons to capture the water and divert it from the lake, as well as add to the physical beauty of (Chautauqua). People step onto the grounds, and it’s like, ‘Wow, the place is so gorgeous.’ ”
The tour will stop at the butterfly garden across the street from the Oliver Archives Center, the Arboretum and shoreline buffers and rain gardens on North Lake Drive. Burgeson will also feature rain gardens at University Beach, Fletcher Music Hall and in the Ryan Kiblin Memorial Stormwater Park.
Part of BTG’s mission is to promote the beauty of the grounds, and to preserve its habitats and ecosystems. Each week, BTG guides lead Nature Walks around the grounds. One focuses on the eco-gardens near Fletcher Music Hall; another explains the history behind the Ellen Biddle Shipman-designed gardens at the Miller Edison Cottage.
“We’re happy to showcase those things by way of all these garden tours we have,” Parlato said. “We help people understand the reason for the placement of the gardens, the shoreline buffers that have been put into place and the rain gardens.”
The bus used for this tour is wheelchair-accessible, so people with mobility restrictions are able to enjoy the gardens of the grounds.