The future site of a new iris garden in Bausch & Lomb Riverside Park will be announced Thursday, June 24—another botanical feature that connects Rochester with its sister city of Hamamatsu, Japan. An 11:30 a.m. ceremony will take place on the University of Rochester's River Campus near Wilson Boulevard and the pedestrian bridge. The event is free and open to the public.
It will be known as the Ayame Garden, literally "iris garden" in Japanese, and will be filled with plantings of Japanese and Louisiana irises. Earlier that morning, a new Iris Friendship Garden at Highland Park will be dedicated by dignitaries from Hamamatsu, the City of Rochester, and Monroe County. The Louisiana iris, a native American wildflower, has been planted by the thousands at the Friendship Garden.
Both events will recognize the Rochester-Hamamatsu relationship and the bond between these cities with remarkable parks, gardens, and appreciation for flowers.
In homage to the iris, the Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University of Rochester is exhibiting books and prints from the Ellwanger and Barry Nursery Library, and from its other collections. "Friendship in Bloom: Four Centuries of Floral Images to Celebrate the Iris Friendship Garden in Highland Park" is located on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit is free and open to the public through Sept. 15.
Images of the iris from early texts such as De Materia Medica by Dioscorides, printed in 1550, and The Genus Iris by W. R. Dykes (1913) will be displayed. The Dykes book includes a full-color illustration of the Iris fulva, one of the five recognized species of the Louisiana iris. Melissa Mead, the curator of the exhibition, also has gathered botanical images of other flowers, some of which have never before been on display.
Dozens of the images come from the library's holdings of the collection of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry, Rochester businessmen who ran the largest U.S. nursery in the mid- to late-1800s. For more information on the exhibit, contact (585) 275-4477.
The 18-acre Bausch & Lomb Riverside Park is a city park along the east bank of the Genesee River and was made possible through a major gift from Bausch & Lomb. The park is landscaped and dotted with old oak trees, and its biking/walking trail is part of a countywide trail system from Irondequoit Bay to the Erie Canal.