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DAY 46 - Elizabeth Park

On Wednesday, June 16, I was pleasantly surprised when I uncovered New England’s Elizabeth Park while visiting Hartford, Connecticut. From 1986 to 1991, I lived in Windsor, Connecticut, within the greater Hartford area but had never visited this little gem, to my dismay.

I can’t remember even ever hearing about Elizabeth Park. It would have quickly become a favorite place for me and my daughter, Blair, to visit if I had when she was a little one.

Opened to the public in 1897, Elizabeth Park was born of the American Park Movement and is the home of America’s oldest public rose garden.

The centerpiece of Elizabeth Park, the Helen S. Kaman Rose Garden, a formal rose garden, is 2.5 acres in size with 475 beds and more than 15,000 rose bushes. The timing of my visit was impeccable. The roses began blooming about ten days earlier, so the garden burst with color. The Rose Garden featured a variety of Heritage Roses - Albas, Bourbons, Centifolias, Damasks, Chinas, Gallicas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Moss, Noisettes, Portland’s, and Teas - all extremely fragrant, and the rose arches were spectacular.

The park also features a Perennial Garden, a Shade Garden, a Specialty Garden that features herbs, dahlias, and irises. Woodlands, a pond, walking trails, and plenty of space for picnicking made the Garden all the more charming.

I returned to Elizabeth Park a few days later with my dear friend April and her mom Gert. My second visit was equally relaxing as the first. I will savor the charm and beauty of this little garden for months to come.

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