Tucked away in NW New York is a small town named Chautauqua. This is the home of  a cultural community called the Chautauqua Institution.

The community has been around for over 100 years. It’s a gated community with beautiful architecture, a rich history and astounding gardens. With winding streets, porch boxes and gardens; garden art is in every nook and cranny. It’s a gardeners haven.

Its not unusual to see statues, fountains, sculptures and hand crafted garden art in every imaginable style and form. Unusual plants also grow in many gardens. Most of the gardens are annual flowers and perennials but you will see a few vegetables tucked in garden plots and containers sitting on porches.

Gardens of whimsy peek out at you from the winding streets and you must look carefully at every garden to see what is hidden behind a tree or in the shadows.

One of my favorite gardens from a few year ago was the fence and wall that was covered with old vintage hats. These hats had been made into birdhouses. They were covered with a varnish to firm them and then the proper size bird hole diameter was cut into the hat. The multi colored hats hanging on the fence and garden wall just gave a feeling of fun and surprise to this hidden garden.

To add to this garden paradise the Institution has a Bird, Tree and Garden  Club that offers talks and lectures on birds, bats, gardens and conservation techniques.

Roger Tory Peterson, famous bird historian and wildlife artist grew up in a  town nearby called Jamestown, NY.  Peterson his most well known for his bird identification books and butterfly books.

Peterson grew up in these hills and by the lake. He gave several talks at the instituiton grounds and was honored on his 80th birthday for his contributions to birding and nature.

For information on the Chautauqua Institution Bird Tree and Garden Club visit Bird Tree and Garden

You can also visit About Chautauqua for more in formation on Chautauqua County and Chautauqua, New York.